On last Wednesday night, Todd Helton stepped out of the Coors Field dugouts for the final time. Two weeks ago #17 announced that his 17th season would be his last. It was a spectacular occasion to watch and I really wish I’d been able to score some last minute tickets to the game. Watching it on TV wasn’t all bad as we got to see interviews with friends and former teammates of Helton’s such as Peyton Manning (they played together at Tennessee), Brad Hawpe, and Jason Giambi. He even received a horse from the organization for his ranch here in Colorado. All in all it was a productive night for Helton who went 2-3 with a sac-fly, double, and, of course, a homerun (see video below). Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said about the team, as they were routed by the Red Sox 15-5. At the end of the game, Helton led the team as they paraded around the edges of the field high-fiving and shaking hands with all the fans (the Rockies do this at the end of the last home game each year).
Helton has been the face of the Rockies for as long as I can remember. He is the Derek Jeter to the Rockies. He will also be the first Rockies player to have his number retired by the organization (only number retired at Coors Field is 42) and I have no doubt that he will be in the Hall of Fame. Just to quickly compare numbers, let’s look at Cubbie Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg. In 16 years in the majors, Sandberg had a career batting average of 0.285 with 2386 hits, 403 doubles, 76 triples, 282 homeruns, and batted in 1061 runs. Helton on the other hand, finished his 17 years with a career batting average of 0.316 (so close to another 17) with 2519 hits, 592 doubles, 37 triples, 396 homeruns, and 1406 RBIs. While Helton didn’t win as many MVP titles, Gold Gloves, or Silver Sluggers, as Sandberg, I think his stats speak for themselves. He probably won’t get in on the first ballot (does anyone anymore??) but he’ll be in Cooperstown. It was a great 17 years and I’m glad I got to be in Denver for 3 of them. Don’t expect Helton to disappear from baseball. Rumor is that he’s had a position somewhere in the organization waiting for him for whenever he did retire.
We’ve seen some baseball greats hang it up this year and I’d like to wish them all the best in their future endeavors. It’s players like Mo and Todd that make this game the greatest game played and I’d like to welcome them to the legend part of baseball. The part of this sport that traces all the way back to the early years of the game, further back than 1908 (I just wept a little).
On that note, it’s time for me to call it quits. I’d like to finish by congratulating Brian on his first win (over me) of our fantasy football league. It was a battle of the winless this week and he just edged me on a 50 yard pass by Matt Ryan. This is also why I continue to hate Tom Brady…all he had to do was not fumble the stinking football…hate, hate, and more hate. Alright, enough rambling, have a great week and hopefully I’ll find time to escape the speeding train to get another post up on Friday. Thanks for reading.
Oh, and in honor of the Cardinals winning the division, here’s a video of Helton getting the best of them (mainly because I’m mad that Cards and Cubs are on opposite ends of the division standings)