Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

1976 Topps #583 - Tommy Helms

  • Tommy Helms was a major league infielder from 1964-1977. Helms was signed by the Cincinnati Reds in 1959. Tommy played in the minors from 1959-1964. He got a late season call-up in 1964 and went 0 for 1 in two games.
  • Tommy was in the minors for most of the 1965 season. He went 16 for 42 (.381) in 21 games with the Reds in 1965.
  • Helms became the regular third baseman for the Reds in 1966. Tommy won the NL Rookie of the Year award in 1966 and batted .284 in 138 games. In 1967 the Reds put Tony Perez in the regular third base position,  moved Pete Rose to left field, and made Helms the starting second baseman. Tommy made the NL All Star team in 1967 (0 for 1 as a pinch hitter) and batted .274 in 137 games. Helms didn't walk much, but he also didn't strike out much. He was a good guy to have at the plate if you needed the ball put in play.
  • Helms was an NL All Star again in 1968. He started the game at second base and went 1 for 3 with a double. Tommy batted .288 in 127 games in 1968 and batted .269 in 126 games in 1969.
  • The Reds won the NL West and made it to the World Series in 1970. Helms had his lowest batting average (.237) as a regular player in 1970. Tommy went 3 for 11 (.273) in the NLCS and 4 for 18 (.222) in the World Series. Helms also won the Gold Glove in 1970.
  • Tommy's last year with the Reds was 1971. He batted .258 in 150 games. After the 1971 season Helms was part of the big trade with the Houston Astros that sent Joe Morgan and Cesar Geronimo to the Reds.
  • Tommy was the regular 2B for the Astros for three seasons. He batted .259 in 1972, .287 in 1973, and .279 in 1974. 
  • Tommy's offense fell off sharply in 1975. His season didn't start well when he was hit by an Andy Messersmith pitch in spring training. Helms fractured a finger and missed the first three weeks of the season. Helms batted .207 in 64 games in 1975. After the 1975 season Helms was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Art Howe.
  • Helms was a utility infielder and pinch hitter for the Pirates in 1976, batting .276 in 87 at bats. Tommy was purchased by the Oakland A's after the 1976 season but was traded back to the Pirates during spring training in 1977 as part of the big trade that brought Phil Garner to the Pirates and Tony Armas to the A's.
  • Helms was used as a pinch hitter for the Pirates in 1977 and didn't play the field at all for the Pirates during the season. Tommy was hitless in 15 at bats and was released on June 14. Tommy was signed by the Boston Red Sox a week later and batted .271 in 59 at bats. Helms was released during spring training in 1978 and retired.
  • Helms coached for the Texas Rangers in 1981 and 1982. Tommy joined the coaching staff of the Reds in 1983 and filled in for Pete Rose as manager when Rose was suspended for a  month in 1988 and when Rose was banned from baseball in August 1989. Helms later did some managing in the Chicago Cubs' system and for some independent baseball teams.
  • Here is a link to a video of Helms talking about the 2010 Reds team.
  • Liked to face: Don Carrithers (.500 in 20 AB); Carl Morton (.457 in 35 AB); Jon Matlack (.400 in 30 AB)
  • Hated to face: Ron Willis (.000 in 17 AB); Dave Roberts (.050 in 20 AB); Bob Miller (.083 in 24 AB)



  1. This is a fantastic blog. I amassed the whole 76 set, one pack at a time. (With the help of a few key trades.) This Helms card was one of my favorites. He's 35 in this photo. He looks 70. And he's got that big black 40 patch, honoring Don Wilson.

  2. thanks for the kind words. yeah helms looks quite old in this picture.