KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - After announcing his retirement from Major League Baseball and the Colorado Rockies at the end of last season, VFL Todd Helton was honored for his 17-year career in a pregame jersey retirement ceremony at Coors Field on Sunday, Aug. 17.
Marking the end of a three-day weekend celebration for Helton, including bobblehead giveaways and special baseballs donning the veteran's No. 17, longtime teammates Matt Belisle and Brad Hawpe spoke about Helton before thousands in attendance and introduced the most important speaker of the day, Helton's daughter, Tierney Faith Helton.
"Do you want him back?" she asked the crowd before Helton took the podium to address his fans.
"I'm proud to say that I am a Colorado Rockie for life," Helton said.
Over the course of his 17 seasons with Colorado, Helton played in 2,247 games and now stands as the Rockies' all-time leader with 369 homers, 1,406 RBIs, 2,519 hits, 1,401 runs, 1,521 singles, 592 doubles and 1,335 walks.
Helton, 40, spent his entire career with the Rockies from 1997-2013. During that span, he earned three Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, four Silver Slugger Awards and was named to the National League All-Star Team five consecutive times (2000-04).
In 2000, Helton established career-best numbers when he tied Nomar Garciaparra for a MLB-high .372 batting average. He also recorded 59 doubles, 147 RBIs and a .698 slugging percentage, all of which led the Major Leagues that season.
Originally selected by the Rockies in the first round (eighth overall) of the MLB Draft out of the University of Tennessee, Helton holds all-time career records with the Vols for home runs (38), RBIs (238), walks (147) and even established a school-record 23 saves from 1993-95.
In 2014, the Knoxville native was inducted into the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame as well as the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.