The 17-year veteran received a gelding paint horse named A Tru Bustamove from the team prior to his final home game at Coors Field in Denver last night. The franchise leader in virtually every offensive category, Helton spent his entire career with the Rockies, a rarity in modern sports. The sellout crowd of 48,775 showed their appreciation all night for the franchise keystone, who responded by giving them two final moments to celebrate.
In his first at-bat of the game during the second inning, Helton smacked a home run off of Boston Red Sox pitcher Jake Peavy, the 369th of his illustrious career, tying him with Ralph Kiner for 74th all-time.
"It was kind of surreal," Helton said after the game. "I hit it and I'm like, 'That's a homer.' But I really wasn't sure, I thought, 'That couldn't really happen.'"
It happened all right, and it sent Rockies fans into a frenzy that subsided only after Helton accepted a curtain call.
Even more fittingly, Helton got his last hit at Coors Field on a fifth inning double, the 592nd of his career, and good for the 16th most in baseball history.
Helton has the opportunity to reach several other notable marks over his final three games against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He needs just two more extra base hits to join the 1,000 club and after passing Hall of Famer Joe Morgan last night with his 2,518th hit, Helton has an outside chance to move into 93rd place on the all-time hits list.
But for the hardworking and lowkey Helton, breaking records has never been as important as simply going out there night after night and doing your job.
"It goes by really quick," Helton reflected after the game, when asked about his career. "You blink and here you are. It was fun, a lot of hard work went into it, but it was work I love to do. I'm honored to have all these people here wishing me on to the next chapter of my life."