When it comes to retirement gifts, it doesn’t get much better — and odder — than this.
The Colorado Rockies honored Todd Helton on Wednesday, which marked the franchise icon’s final home game with the team. Helton, 40, recently announced that he would be retiring after a 17-season career.
The Rockies had a “Thanks Todd” hashtag going on social media, put his No. 17 into the center field grass, added a tribute to him on the bases … and of course gave him a horse. They chose to give him a horse because he recently bought one for his daughter to ride on the family’s ranch, so they figured he could use another one.
More details on the horse via the Rockies’ website:
The gift to the Helton family was a majestic, three-time championship Tobiano Gelding Paint Horse, a 6-year-old named A Tru Bustamove, who is from one of the leading performance sires of the American Paint Association. According to the Rockies’ press release, the horse is comfortable with anything “from world-class competition to recreational riding, ranching and roping.”
The saddle was tooled in Greeley, Colo., by Mark Fellini, who engraved the saddle. In addition, Tom Palmer of Pueblo, Colo., engraved a custom silver cap with the Rockies’ logo, which rests atop the saddle.
Many players found it difficult to play because they were busy being fans. Past Rockies Brad Hawpe and Aaron Cook attended the game, as did Helton’s former Tennessee Vols teammate Peyton Manning, who is now with the Broncos. And there were video messages from former teammates and coaches that played on the scoreboard.
Helton clubbed a solo home run in the second, hit a sac fly in the third, and added an RBI double in the fifth. Jake Peavy gave up the home run to Helton but still got the win in the game. He shared his respect for Helton via Twitter afterwards:
It was an honor to compete so many years against 1 of the games most talented & fiercest competitors in Todd Helton! A true pro & class act!
— Jake Peavy (@JakePeavy_44) September 26, 2013
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) September 26, 2013