Recently retired Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton wrote a column for Sports Illustrated Wednesday, giving his personal take on what he plans to do after 17 seasons of playing professional baseball. We’ll let Helton take it from here:
As I ride off into the sunset on my retirement gift from the Colorado Rockies – a horse named A Tru Bustamove — I am forced to reflect on more than I’d like to at this point in my life. At a spry 40 years young I have been repeatedly asked several questions, like: What’s next? Are you sure this was the right decision? Any regrets about retiring?
Here is a funny but true story of how I came to grips with the realization it was time to hang up my spikes after 17 seasons playing first base for the Rockies. In 2012, my then 3-year-old daughter, Gentry, and I sat side by side putting on our shoes. Gentry kept grunting as she was putting them on and pretending to tie her shoes. Naively, I asked “Babe, what are you doing?”
“I’m putting on my shoes like you daddy”, she said with a sweet but devilish smile.
That’s when I knew. Playing out my contract and ending in the season I turned 40 seemed a pretty appropriate finale to my baseball career.
Since I haven’t decided what I want to be when I grow up, I think I will take a minute to tell you exactly what I won’t be doing over this next year, my first of retirement.
I will not make a comeback. I think if you tip your hat and manage to exit stage left on your own terms you need to mean it. That is just my opinion. But don’t misunderstand: I’m not saying I won’t miss it. I will.
What I won’t do is worry about, pray for, work toward or obsess and stress over trying to get just one more hit. Although I know I will dream about mechanics — and most likely wake up some nights in a sweat — I am giving it over to all those younger guys chasing their baseball dreams. I did what I could with what God gave me and I’m at peace with that.
There will be some perks to retirement. I do not plan to ask for anything delicious, creamy or decadent “on the side” for awhile. Bring on those calorie-loaded bundles of culinary awesomeness. Yes, I am well aware that this choice — combined with a lack of winter workouts, spring training and those 162 games — will likely lead to a growing waistline. Luckily, I’m not so vain I won’t indulge a little celebratory retirement slide. (My wife, Christy, hopes this is short-lived.)
I am looking forward to quality time with my family, which also includes my other daughter, Tierney, as well as rodeo, golf, hunting and traveling for pleasure. Staying in one time zone for weeks at a time is an enticing prospect and one I seldom indulged during my playing career.
To baseball: I love all that you challenged me with, all that you called me to, taught me, rewarded me with, tested me to push through, and even the fact that you brought my weaknesses to the surface. I tip my hat to you. It was an amazing ride. I’ve always given you the best of me. I’m off to find the rest of me. It’s not you, it’s me. Father Time and I had a falling out. He’s an a–.
I’ll be in touch.
Helton played his entire career with the Rockies, finishing with 2,519 hits, 369 home runs, 1,406 runs batted in and a .316 batting average.