Rockies’ Helton retires, Cooperstown bound?

 

 Todd Helton went down swinging, on his own terms, and that’s exactly how he wanted it to end.

Sunday, Sept. 29 will be remembered as Helton’s last game of his 17-year career against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. The 40-year-old went 1-4 in his final game setting up a Troy Tulowitzki RBI single as Helton would cross the plate for the last time in his Major League Baseball career in a 2-1 victory. Most athletes don’t walk away at the right time, Helton wanted to go out on top of his game. If a player is battling to stay on the field due to injury it is time to quit, Helton knew it was time.

I have watched the Colorado Rockies growing up and Helton was always my favorite player. I had no idea then, I was too young to realize it, but there aren’t too many first basemen like number 17. I can’t think of anyone more respected than Helton in the Colorado Rockies organization. He is the best player the Rockies history. No one showed more class and worked as hard as Helton did, he never gave away an at-bat. He loved the Rockies and the Rockies loved Todd. He will have his jersey retired; I don’t doubt it for one second. One of my favorite quotes as seen in Troy Renck’s article in the Denver Post, “Todd Helton was a big hit long before he became a Rockies sensation.”

“I would rather have gone to a World Series with the Rockies than won a ring with the Red Sox,” Helton said.

According to an article on MLB.com by Thomas Harding, “It’s better to be out there hacking and striking out than sitting on the bench,” Helton said. “I’d rather go down swinging, if that’s the way I’m going to go down. So it doesn’t bother me at all that I struck out in my last at-bat.”

It’s rare for a player to spend his entire career playing for one team these days in any sport. Although the Colorado Rockies finished last in the National League West, watching Helton play his last game at Coors Field was emotional for any fan that knew what he brought to the plate every time he stepped into the batters box.

Helton preferred to be a regular starter than sit on the bench most of the 2014 season. Spending time with his wife Christy and two daughters Gentry Grace and Tierney Faith is what the five-time all-star ultimately decided almost three weeks ago. Helton owns a ranch in Brighton, Colo. where he and his family reside. 

Todd Helton’s full page advertisement in the Denver Post printed Sept. 30 read,

“Dear fans, 

I want to thank you. For every ticket you bought, every cheer you led, every rain delay you weathered, every sign you held, every rally cap you sported.”

Helton was the rock at first base for 17 years of the Rockies 20 year existence, being drafted eighth overall in the 1995 draft by the Colorado Rockies. 

“You inspired me to try harder, play through pain and weather the dry spells. Today I give you the curtain call. I offer my sincerest gratitude for your support over these 17 years,” Helton said.

Here are some stats to help persuade you he belongs in the Hall of Fame if you forgot how good he really was. Helton holds the Colorado Rockies club records for hits (2,519), home runs (369), doubles (592), walks (1335)), runs scored (1,401) RBIs (1,406), games played (2,247), total bases (4,292). Helton hit his 2,000th career hit against the Atlanta Braves on May 19, 2009, and his 2,500th against the Cincinnati Reds on Sept. 1, 2013.