Colorado Rockies veteran first baseman Todd Helton officially confirmed today that he is retiring at the end of the 2013 baseball season.
Said Helton this afternoon, “When I first got to the big leagues 17 years ago, I had and energy and a passion that was great.I’m excited to have that same passion as I start a new phase of my life… It’s been an honor to be your first baseman for the last 17 years.”
Unlike many baseball vagabonds, Helton — as he alluded to today — has spent his entire 17-year MLB career with the Rockies. According to Helton, “I talked to my wife and thought about my body and mentally how I felt going out there for every game. I’m 40. It’s time to go. It’s a young man’s game.” He also noted that the heavy MLB travel schedule and being away from his family so much entered into his decisionmaking.
Helton, the greatest player in the Rockies franchise history, indicated that he thought he could play a few more years, but is not enthusiastic about a part-time role. He added that if the National League had the DH, it might be a different story. Helton has suffered from back problems in the last few years as well. He is currently hitting.244, well below his.317 career average.
In his stellar career in professional baseball, Todd Helton holds numerous Rockies club records for hits, home runs, RBI, and several other categories. Overall, he has 2,505 hits, 367 home runs, and about 1,400 RBI for his career. He is a five-time All Star and was the 2000 National League batting champion (batting.372) and RBI leader (147). At first base, he has a career fielding percentage of.996.
ESPN reports that “According to the Rockies, he joins Hall of Famer Stan Musial as the only players in major league history with at least 2,500 hits, 550 doubles, 350 home runs and a.310 or higher career batting average.” He led his team to the 2007 World Series, batting.320 with 17 home runs and 91 RBI as the Rockies steamrolled to the playoffs by winning 14 of the final 15 regular season games and seven consecutive playoff games before being swept by the Boston Red Sox in the Fall Classic.
In February, Helton was detained by police for alleged drunken and careless driving. Under a plea deal, prosecutors dropped the charges and he was sentenced to probation and community service. Helton subsequently publicly apologized to the Rockies organization and the fans for the incident.
[top image credit: Keith Allison]