August 17th, 2014 was one of the most memorable days in Colorado Rockies history. Not because the Rockies took both games in a day-night double header verses the Cincinnati Reds, but because prior to the 2:10 game, the organization recognized one of the greatest players to ever suit up in purple and black.
Todd Helton was honored with something that no other Rockies has ever been able to lay claim to; having his number retired. The number 17 was worn for 17 years by a young man who grew into the face of the franchise. Helton walked away from baseball and the Rockies, the only team he played for in the big leagues, as a 5 time all-star. He also collected 3 gold gloves and 4 silver slugger awards, demonstrating a balance of both offensive and defensive skills. Helton left the club as career leader in major categories such as hits, doubles, home runs, RBI’s and games played.
The ceremony was an emotional one. Speakers included one of his daughters and a few old teammates. Each and everyone of them echoed a similar sentiment; that Todd was a hard worker who was always there for his family and team. Tears fell from Todd’s eye’s as he addressed the crowd inside of Coors Field that day. Fans alike shared in the emotional farewell as a plaque with the number 17 was unveiled just above the bullpen in right field.
What an amazing experience to see how hard work and loyalty pays off in the end!