Helton to start 15th straight Opening Day

Helton to start 15th straight Opening Day

HOUSTON -- It doesn't feel like it to Todd Helton, but Friday night will be his 15th straight Opening Day start at first base.

That's a longer streak than Lou Gehrig (1926-39). It's also one behind former Astros great Jeff Bagwell (1991-2006).

Helton's is the longest active Opening Day streak among Major League players. Chipper Jones had started in 16 straight openers for the Braves, but that run ended Thursday.

"Fifteen years is a long time," Helton said Thursday before working out with his club at Minute Maid Park. "I never thought I'd play that long. Going through it, being in the moment, you don't really think about it that much. It seems like it's where you're supposed to be and what you're supposed to be doing."

Helton, who hit .302 in 124 games and demonstrated he has production in his bat as long as his back is healthy, has experienced some high Opening Day moments, but he had an easy time coming up with his favorite.

"It was my first one, in Arizona, opening up that ballpark," Helton said. "That's kind of hard to beat -- the first game in a ballpark and your first Opening Day."