Rockies Say Goodbye To Todd Helton With On-Field Ceremonies, Tributes
Rockies fans yesterday for the final home game before the retirement of 1B Todd Helton "lined up [at] about 2 p.m. for Rockpile tickets, and 35,000 in the sellout crowd received Helton bobbleheads," according to Troy Renck of the DENVER POST. Helton before the game was presented a framed picture "provided by the Rockies ticket office." By the fifth inning, he had "been given a paint horse, high-fived Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning in the dugout, hit a home run and a sacrifice fly, belted his 592nd double, knocked in three runs, and received four standing ovations and one curtain call." Helton's No. 17 was "painted in purple outside the first- and third-base lines and mowed into the center-field grass." The bases had "decals honoring Helton -- a purple square with 17 in black." Rockies Owner, Chair & CEO Dick Monfort said, "We will absolutely retire his number. We just have to decide when" (DENVER POST, 9/26). In Denver, Mark Kiszla writes Helton is not only "the face of the franchise," he is the "face of baseball in Colorado" (DENVER POST, 9/26). Renck notes Helton "blurted 'Wow!'" when the team presented him with a horse -- named A Tru Bustamove -- as a gift. The "idea for the gift" was Monfort's. Helton, during recent floods on his property, had "a few hours when he thought his daughter's horse had perished." It was "the only one on the ranch, so Monfort decided another horse would make a good going-away present." Only eight people in the Rockies organization "knew of the gift and were sworn to secrecy" (DENVERPOST.com, 9/26).