DENVER — Todd Helton brought the crowd at Coors Field to its feet again Sunday when the Rockies retired the No. 17 jersey of their longtime first baseman.
Helton, a career .316 hitter, retired after last season following a stellar 17-year career, all with the Rockies. He is the first player in the team's 22-year history to have his number retired.
With his wife and two daughters looking on and in front of a full house that included many in the crowd wearing vintage Helton jerseys, the five-time All-Star thanked the city, fans, former teammates and his family for their support, and Rockies ownership for giving him his chance.
"Thank you all so much. What a great turnout," Helton said during a ceremony before Sunday's doubleheader against the Reds. "I'm proud to say I'm a Colorado Rockie for life. There's no greater honor for me than having my number retired from the team that I put my heart and soul into."
As part of the tribute, the Rockies unveiled a plaque bearing Helton's No. 17 on the facade of the second-deck railing next to one bearing the initials of Keli S. McGregor, the Rockies' late president, and Jackie Robinson's No. 42, which has been retired by all of major-league baseball.
During an earlier news conference, Helton said looking back, his steady approach to his job paid off in a tribute he never could have envisioned.
"I just came to work every day," he said. "That's all I did really. I showed up every day and played as hard as I could. Some days, that was enough. Some days it wasn't, but that's all right. To be honored for that, it's truly special."
CARDINALS: RHP Carlos Martinez was recalled after a short stay at Triple-A Memphis, and struggling LHP Kevin Siegrist was demoted.
PADRES: 1B Yonder Alonso is expected to miss the rest of the season with a right forearm strain. Surgery is a possibility.
PHILLIES: RHP Kyle Kendrick apologized to manager Ryne Sandberg for storming off the mound when he was removed from Saturday's game against the Giants. He said he was upset about coming out and not at 2B Chase Utley and 1B Ryan Howard for allowing a pop fly to land safely.
PIRATES: RHP Gerrit Cole, on the disabled list since July 9 with right lat soreness, is expected to be activated to start Wednesday. … RHP Charlie Morton went on the 15-day disabled list with right hip inflammation.