Feb. 11, 2014
2014 Schedule | UTTIX.com
The start of the 2014 Tennessee baseball season is just three days away!
In January and February, UTSports.com will count down the days remaining until the start of the Vols' 2014 campaign (Feb. 14) with looks back at the many players who donned jersey numbers 30-1.
The baseball season in Knoxville kicks off on the diamond on Feb. 14 when the Vols host the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks at Lindsey Nelson Stadium at 4 p.m. With one of the youngest teams in the country in 2013, head coach Dave Serrano and company have the foundation in place on Rocky Top.
The 2014 slate is highlighted by 33 games in Knoxville, including early nonconference matchups against Purdue (Feb. 15-16) and UNLV (Feb. 21-23). The Vols open with a 13-game homestand, starting things off with three straight days of doubleheader action.
Practice continues this week on Rocky Top as the Diamond Vols are in action Tuesday through Sunday, with scrimmages set for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All outdoor practices at Lindsey Nelson Stadium are free and open to the public. For more information and to view this week's pitching schedule, visit UTSports.com.
Only 20 Vols have worn the No. 3 for the Orange and White and that is where the tally will stand forever. The number is retired in honor of arguably Tennessee's greatest baseball player, Todd Helton. The Knoxville native starred at UT from 1993-95 and recently retired after a 17-year Major League career with the Colorado Rockies.
#3 Todd Helton
1993-95 | 1B/LHP | 6-2 | 205 lbs. | Knoxville, Tenn. (Central)
Todd Helton, the 1995 National Collegiate Player of the Year, was the eighth player chosen in the 1995 free-agent amateur draft by the Colorado Rockies.
Helton received the Dick Howser Award from USA Today/Baseball Weekly, Baseball America's National Player of the Year Award, Collegiate Baseball's Co-National Player of the Year and the Southeastern Conference's Male Athlete of the Year Award. He became only the second baseball player to receive the SEC award. The two-time first-team All-American was also a finalist for the coveted Golden Spikes Award in 1995.
That season, he batted .407 while leading the league in home runs (20), RBIs (92), runs (86), doubles (27), hits (105), walks (61), slugging percentage (.775) and on-base percentage (.522). He also led the conference with a 1.66 ERA while compiling an 8-2 record with 12 saves.
Helton was a consensus Freshman All-American in 1993, first-team All-SEC and third-team All-American. The honors continued to roll in 1994 as he earned first-team All-America honors by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, second team by Baseball America and third team by Collegiate Baseball. He was second-team All-SEC that year as well.
He helped guide the Vols to three straight NCAA Regional appearances, including a third-place finish at the 1995 College World Series. He was twice named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team and earned a complete game pitching victory over Clemson in the first round of the College World Series. Helton holds numerous school hitting records while also holding the SEC's mark for consecutive scoreless innings pitched with 47.2 in 1994.
He also played with Team USA in 1993. As one of two true freshmen on the squad, he hit .352 in 33 games while leading the team to a 30-16 record and the silver medal at the Intercontinental Cup.
In addition to a fine baseball career, he played football during the 1992, 1993 and 1994 seasons for the Vols. He appeared in 13 games, making three career starts. All three starts came in the 1994 season against Georgia (W), Florida (L) and Mississippi State (L). He had his top passing game versus UCLA in 1994 when he came off the bench to complete 14-of-28 passes for 165 yards and one touchdown. For his career, he completed 41-of-75 passes (54.7 percent) for 484 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. He also rushed 36 times for 87 yards.
Helton played for the Rockies for an incredible 17 years and retired following the 2013 season. A five-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger Award winner, Helton closed his career with a .316 batting average, 2,519 hits, 592 doubles and 369 home runs. He holds Rockies' records for games played (2,247), runs scored (1,401), hits, doubles, home runs, RBI (1,406) and walks (1,335).
NOTES ON HELTON
- Graduated from Central High School in Knoxville
- First Tennessee athlete to be named Gatorade Circle of Champions Player of the Year for the state in both football and baseball in the same year
- Was the starting quarterback ahead of freshman Peyton Manning in 1994