The Colorado Rockies — suffering through another season of below .500 baseball — were dealt a blow that was coming, and some would possibly say was overdue: Todd Helton will end his 17-year career at the end of the season.
Not wanting to go through much fanfare and a standard retirement tour across the country, Helton made the decision official Friday evening to the Denver Post.
“Yes, this is it. It just seems like it’s time. It’s a young man’s game. I am 40 years old. I am looking forward to doing something else besides baseball. Whatever that may be. I am not sure yet,” Helton said, adding that he plans on hunting, golfing and spending time with his family.
Many expect him to return to baseball in a coaching role, most likely with the Rockies, continuing his unwavering dedication to his only major-league home. He won’t rule it out, but remained non-committal as well. “Eventually, I’d like to, but not in the near future. I need a break,” Helton said. “I have other things I want to do.”
So, what lead to his decision? Helton cited travel and health, saying that he wanted to leave while feeling physically better than he has in recent years, but the travel has taken a toll on him and joked that he would love to return if he only had to play home games that were at the same time. Too bad he can’t because he does his best work at home.
While the decision to hang up his glove comes as no shocker to those familiar with him, it will be bittersweet to see it all end so quickly with only a nine-game homestand remaining for the Rockies. His career could’ve been greater elsewhere, but he remained with the same team that drafted him for his entire career. The memories he created and was a part of will not be forgotten by fans. The photo of him clinching the final out to send the Rockies to the World Series in 2007 is iconic, at least in Denver. His records will stand for quite some time, only Troy Tulowitzki is a foreseeable threat. Helton’s retirement is also the official torch-passing to Tulo, who now will stand as the only (vocal) leader of the Rockies.
Todd Helton is the Colorado Rockies, and he will be missed when he is truly gone from the show. There will be a bit of emptiness felt next season when first base isn’t occupied by number 17 or our TV screens are missing a regular goateed, teeth-clinching batter stepping into the box.
We knew it was going to happen, and we knew it needed to happen. Now, it has happened.
We’ll miss you, Todd. Take ‘er easy, Mr. Rockie.