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Tommy Helms
Second baseman
Born: May 5, 1941 (1941-05-05) (age 68)
Charlotte, North Carolina
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
September 23, 1964 for the Cincinnati Reds
Last MLB appearance
October 1, 1977 for the Boston Red Sox
Career statistics
Batting average     .269
Hits     1,342
Runs batted in     477

As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards

Tommy Vann Helms (born May 5, 1941 in Charlotte, North Carolina) is a former Major League Baseball player and manager. Over a fourteen year career (1964 - 1977), Helms played for four different teams, including eight seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, four with the Houston Astros, and one apiece with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox. He also managed the Cincinnati Reds for part of two seasons (1988 - 1989).


MLB career

Though he appeared briefly with the Reds in 1964 and in 1965 on September 1st during a double header Helms goes 4-4 with two triples. Helms' first full season in the majors was 1966. A natural shortstop, Helms was moved to third base by the Reds his rookie season with Leo Cardenas firmly entrenched at short. Helms clubbed nine home runs, batted .284, and provided sparkling defense at his new position to earn the 1966 National League Rookie of the Year.

In 1967, the Reds shuffled their line-up—moving budding superstar Tony Pérez to third, Helms to second, and shifting Pete Rose from second base to left field. As a second baseman, Helms was a member of the National League All Star Team in 1967 and 1968, and won the National League Gold Glove award in 1970 and 1971. The Reds moved to Riverfront Stadium in June, 1970, and Helms hit the first Cincinnati Reds home run on July 1st. During his Gold Glove season of 1971, Helms set a Cincinnati Reds record with turning 130 double plays, which still stood at the close of the 2009 baseball season.

On November 29, 1971, Helms was part of a blockbuster trade that brought Joe Morgan, Cesar Geronimo, Ed Armbrister and Jack Billingham from the Houston Astros for Helms, Lee May and Jimmy Stewart. After four seasons in Houston, Helms was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates prior to the start of the 1976 season. He was purchased by the Oakland A's following the season, and actually traded back to the Pirates, along with Chris Batton and Phil Garner for Tony Armas, Doug Bair, Dave Giusti, Rick Langford, Doc Medich and Mitchell Page during Spring training the following season.

Shortly after reacquiring him, the Pirates released Helms. He signed with the Boston Red Sox for the remainder of the 1977 season, serving primarily as a designated hitter before calling it a career. During his fourteen years in a major league uniform, Helms struck only 301 times in a almost 5,000 at bats. Former Cincinnati Reds closer Clay Carroll was once asked, "Who would you want at second base when the game was on line?" He promptly responded, "Two words, Tommy Helms."

Managerial career

Helms served on Pete Rose's coaching staff when he was named manager of the Reds in 1984. On April 30, 1988, during a home game against the New York Mets, and following a call by umpire Dave Pallone which allowed the Mets' eventual winning run to score in the 6-5 game, Rose argued vehemently and made physical contact with the umpire, noticeably pushing him. Rose claimed that Pallone had scratched him in the face during the argument, which provoked the push. Regardless, National League president A. Bartlett Giamatti suspended Rose for 30 days. Helms served as manager of the Reds during Rose's suspension and led the team to a 12-15 record.

On August 24, 1989, following accusations that he had gambled on baseball, Rose voluntarily accepted a permanent place on baseball’s ineligible list,[1] and Helms again replaced Rose as Reds manager. The Reds went 16-21 under Helms. He was replaced at the end of the season by Lou Piniella.


External links

Preceded by
Jim Lefebvre
National League Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Tom Seaver
Preceded by
Paul Schaal
Topps Rookie All-Star Third Baseman
Succeeded by
Bobby Etheridge
Preceded by
Pete Rose
Cincinnati Reds Manager
Succeeded by
Lou Piniella

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