DENVER — Todd Helton walked toward the batting cage at Coors Field wearing his old No. 17 and exchanged a bear hug with Nolan Arenado.
Mentor and pupil, together again. But while Arenado’s focus is on the team’s current quest for an NL wild card, Helton was on hand for a bit of nostalgia, celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Colorado’s 2007 NL Championship team.
“When they called me I couldn’t believe it had been 10 years,” Helton said. “It was a great time in all of our lives. We were such a tight-knit group.”
The Rockies brought back 18 players and three coaches to celebrate the franchise’s run to the World Series. Helton, whose No. 17 is the only number retired by the team, headlined the group that won 21 of 22 games in September and October to cap the franchise’s lone NL crown. He was among those in attendance for Colorado’s game against San Diego on Friday.
The former players were introduced in a ceremony before the game and a highlight video was shown. Clint Hurdle, the manager of the ’07 team, and five former players still on active rosters around the majors offered well wishes. Hurdle now manages the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Rockies won 13 of 14 to force a play-in game with San Diego on Oct. 1, 2007. Colorado rallied for three runs in the bottom of the 12th against closer Trevor Hoffman and won it when Matt Holliday sprinted from third base on Jamey Carroll’s fly out to right. Current Rockies manager Bud Black managed the Padres in that game.
The Rockies won seven straight against Philadelphia and Arizona to reach the World Series, where they were swept by Boston.
“It’s a career highlight,” said Jeff Francis, who started Game 1 of each postseason series. “It means a lot to all these guys here. That’s why they came back. I don’t think any of us had more meaningful moments in our career than what we had here.”
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