Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton will head into his final season in the Major Leagues on a sour note, having been arrested and charged with drunken driving and careless driving. The 39 year old was stopped around 2:30 AM Wednesday in Thornton, a suburb of Denver. Helton’s blood alcohol levels were not made public.
Long considered the face of the Rockies franchise and the team leader in nearly every offensive category, Helton wasted little time in releasing a statement through the team:
Last evening I exercised poor judgment and was charged with drinking and driving after driving to a gas station near my house. I am very sorry and embarrassed for my actions. I hold myself to a high standard and take my responsibility as a public figure very seriously. My entire career I have worked to set a positive example for my family and in our community and I feel short of this standard.
I sincerely ask my family, the Colorado Rockies organization, Major League Baseball, and the community to accept my apology. I make no excuses and accept full responsibility for my actions. I humbly ask for your forgiveness.
Helton has spent his entire 16 year career in Colorado, appearing in five All Star Games and over 2,100 games for the Rockies. He’s a .320/.419/.545 career hitter in over 9,000 PA. He’s the Rockies franchise leader in hits, home runs, RBIs, and more. This past season was a struggle, however, as he was limited to just 69 games before having his season cut short due to hip surgery. Helton hit just .238/.343/.400 before being shut down. There was some speculation over the winter that Helton could call it a career, but with a year remaining on his contract he has elected to come back for one final season.
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and Helton have long been friends. Helton backed Manning up at quarterback at the University of Tennessee and the two have remained close since.