Rockies’ Todd Helton to retire after season

Todd Helton made it official Saturday, confirming he will retire at the end of this season.

Helton, who has played his entire 17-year career with the Colorado Rockies, is one of only two players in Major League history to have at least 2,500 hits, 550 doubles, 350 home runs and at least a .310 career batting average. The other is Stan Musial.

“During the season I definitely wavered. It usually wasn’t from having a great game. I just enjoyed the competition, and I felt like I had bat speed,” Helton told The Denver Post on Saturday.

“That’s what I will miss: the competition. I don’t know how I will replace that yet. There were days, I thought, ‘Maybe I can do this one year.’ Then ultimately, it’s the travel, being away from the family. It is just time.”

The first baseman from Knoxville, Tenn., collected his 2,500th hit, an opposite-field double, on Sept. 1 at home against Cincinnati.

It has been speculated all season that this would be Helton’s final season. He turned 40 and was coming off hip surgery last year, and he spent two days in Grand Junction on a rehab assignment. He has a career .317 batting average with 586 doubles, 37 triples, 367 home runs and 1,397 RBI. He’s scored 1,394 runs and has a .415 on-base percentage in 2,235 Major League games.

The Rockies released Helton’s announcement on its website Saturday night. Not one for fanfare, Helton told the Post he delayed the announcement to not only be sure about his decision but to avoid a farewell tour. The Rockies return home Monday for their final homestand, and Helton will have a press conference Monday afternoon.

“For 17 years number ‘17’ has been the icon of Colorado Rockies baseball,” Rockies owner Dick Monfort said in the release. “Todd will be missed and our hope is he will be a part of our Colorado baseball family for many more years to come.”

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