Thursday, May 27, 2010

#281 Bill Stafford

#281 Bill Stafford
Has there ever been an uglier color combination on a card than the hot pink/yellow abomination that Topps saddled the Yankees and Pirates with in 1965? Well, yes. After all, the 1990s happened. But man, are these cards hard on the eyes.

Fun facts about Bill Stafford:

-A native of Catskill, NY, Bill signed with the Yankees in 1957 as a teenager. His wife later claimed that he chose them over the Dodgers because they offered him a pair of spikes!

-Fashioned a 2.06 ERA at AAA Richmond in 1960, earning himself a callup to the majors just after his 21st birthday.

-Shut out Kansas City in his fourth career start, four-hitting the A's and striking out seven to earn a 1-0 victory.

-Posted identical 14-9 records in his first two full seasons (1961 and 1962), though the former was really a much better year; his 2.68 ERA ranked second in the league behind Dick Donovan.

-Pitched in the World Series in each of his first three years in New York, posting a 2.08 ERA in a pair of starts and a pair of relief appearances. Took a two-hit shutout into the ninth inning against the Giants in Game Three of the 1962 Fall Classic, but settled for a four-hit, 3-2 complete game win.

-Pitching in 45-degree weather in April of 1963, Bill injured his arm. He slumped to a 6.02 ERA, and his career was likely shortened.

-He rebounded to post a 5-0 record, four saves, and a 2.67 ERA in relief the following year.

-After another abbreviated season in 1965, the Yankees dealt Bill to the Athletics. He appeared in only 23 games for K.C. over two seasons, ending his major league career in 1967. He stuck around in AAA for two more years before walking away from the game. In parts of eight seasons he was 43-40 with a 3.52 ERA and nine saves.

-In his career, he held Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew to ten hits in 47 at-bats (.213) with three home runs. A couple of other Cooperstown enshrinees, Luis Aparicio and Nellie Fox, hit .227 and .219 off of Stafford.

-Bill died in 2001 at age 63 due to a heart attack.

#281 Bill Stafford (back)

Friday, May 21, 2010

#280 Dick Stuart

#280 Dick Stuart
When it comes to baseball nicknames, there have been few as brilliant as Dick Stuart's "Dr. Strangeglove". It was a topical play on both his questionable fielding abilities and Stanley Kubrick's 1964 classic dark comedy Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

Fun facts about Dick Stuart:

-Born in San Francisco, Dick was signed by the Pirates in 1951 at age 18.

-Despite an excellent power bat (he hit 221 homers in the minors, including an eye-popping 66 at Single-A Lincoln in 1956), he did not debut with Pittsburgh until 1958. This was due in part to two years of military service, but an inability to draw walks and his aforementioned poor glove did not help his cause either.

-Stuart made up for lost time by swatting 16 home runs in just 67 games as a rookie.

-About that defense: in each of his first seven seasons in the majors, Dick led the league in errors at first base; this includes his abbreviated rookie season! In 1963, he misplayed 29 balls. Making no pretense, the slugger had a vanity license plate on his car that read "E3". Some of his other nicknames included "Stonefingers" (a takeoff on the James Bond film Goldfinger) and "The Man With the Iron Glove".

-His breakout year was 1961, when he was an All-Star for the only time in his career on the strength of a career-high .301 average as well as a team-leading 35 home runs and 117 RBI.

-After a poor follow-up season, Dick was traded to the Red Sox. He responded by leading the American League with 118 RBI in 1963, to go along with a career-high 42 homers.

-The next year, Stuart once again led Boston in home runs and RBI (33 and 114, respectively), but was dealt again, this time to the Phillies. He was second on the club with 28 homers and 95 driven in, but batted only .234.

-He scuffled for the last four seasons of his career, which were spent with the Mets, Dodgers, the Taiyo Whales of Japan, and the Angels.

-Stuart's career ended in 1969. In parts of ten big league seasons he batted .264 with 228 homers and 743 RBI.

-He passed away in 2002 at age 70. His family reported that cancer was the cause of death.
#280 Dick Stuart (back)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

#277 Johnny Lewis

#277 Johnny Lewis
Ohhhh, Johnny. You know the drill. No hat = Mets logo, Cardinals uniform. I think I'm going to start creating shoddy MS Paint hats for these guys.

Fun facts about Johnny Lewis:

-Hailing from Greenville, AL, Johnny signed with the Tigers in 1959 at age 19. He was acquired by St. Louis shortly thereafter.

-He was a slugger in the minors, topping 20 home runs in three straight seasons (1960-1962).

-Played in 40 games for the Cardinals as a rookie in 1964, hitting .234, but did not make the postseason roster.

-Was dealt to the Mets that offseason, and his 15 home runs were only four off the team lead in 1965. He led the club with 59 walks, boosting his low .245 batting average to a healthier .331 on-base percentage. This allowed him to pace the team in OPS+ as well (105).

-On June 14, 1965 he famously broke up a no-hitter by Cincinnati's Jim Maloney with an eleventh-inning home run. The Mets would win 1-0.

-His career may have lasted longer if he could've faced Maloney more often. In 34 plate appearances against the Reds pitcher, Lewis slugged .643 with three homers and two doubles among his seven hits!

-He played only 65 games the following year, as his average dipped below .200.

-A miserable 13-game stint (4-for-34, 0 HR) in 1967 ended Johnny's big league career. In parts of four seasons he hit .227 with 22 home runs and 74 RBI.

-After continuing to play in the minors through the 1968 season, Lewis rejoined the Cardinals organization in 1970 and stayed on for almost three decades as a scout, coach, and manager. He even coached at the major league level from 1973-1976 and 1985-1989.

-Since 1999, Lewis has instructed minor league hitters for the Houston Astros.
#277 Johnny Lewis (back)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

#275 Dick Groat

#275 Dick Groat
"Dick Groat" may sound like a term you'd find on Urban Dictionary, but I'm afraid to check.

Fun facts about Dick Groat:

-A native of Wilkinsburg, PA, Dick attended Duke University, where he excelled in both baseball and basketball. He was a two-time hoops All-American for the Blue Devils, as well as 1952's National Player of the Year. His number 10 was retired by the team.

-He was signed by his hometown Pirates in 1952 and hit .284 in 95 games for them as a 21-year-old rookie that year.

-Dick was drafted third overall by the NBA's Fort Wayne Pistons and played one season for them, scoring 11.9 points per game in the 1952-1953 campaign.

-He returned to the diamond in 1955 after a brief hiatus for basketball and military service. That year, he led the National League in putouts for the first time; he would ultimately do it three more times.

-Despite hitting .300 or better with 30-plus doubles in each of the two seasons prior, Groat was not named to his first All-Star team until 1959. He would be tabbed for eight of them by the end of his career (two each in three different seasons).

-1960 brought an MVP award for Dick, as he led the league with a .325 batting average for the eventual World Champion Pirates. He was the last shortstop to pace the N.L. in batting before Hanley Ramirez did it last year.

-He was deeply hurt when Pittsburgh traded him to the Cardinals in 1963, but let his bat do the talking with career highs in doubles (an N.L.-best 43), triples (11), and RBI (73) while batting .319 to lead the club. He finished behind only Sandy Koufax in MVP balloting.

-Groat played in his final All-Star Game in 1964, when he batted .292 for the soon-to-be World Champions from St. Louis.

-His performance began to diminish in 1965, and he spent the final three seasons of his career in St. Louis, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. He retired with a .286 batting average in 14 seasons, along with 39 home runs and 707 RBI.

-Dick has been a part of the University of Pittsburgh's radio broadcast team for college basketball games since 1979.
#275 Dick Groat (back)

Monday, May 17, 2010

#274 Lum Harris

#274 Lum Harris
It's not often that you see a hatless manager card. Blame it on the Colt .45s-Astros changeover. If you're curious, "Lum" is short for "Luman", which I believe is pronounced "Lou-mon". His birth name is actually Chalmer Luman Harris, which probably caused some teasing in his school days.

Fun facts about Lum Harris:

-Born in New Castle, AL, Lum began pitching professionally in 1937 in independent ball.

-While with the Atlanta Crackers, he formed a battery with catcher Paul Richards. The two would be closely aligned for decades afterward.

-He was traded to the Athletics and made his major league debut in 1941. Lum pitched for the team for five seasons, during which time they were perennial cellar-dwellers. He led the American League with 21 losses (and only seven wins) in 1943.

-Following his best big league effort (10-9, 3.30 ERA, and an A.L.-best 1.3 BB/9 IP in 1944), he missed a season while serving in the Navy.

-Lum finished his career in 1947 with a brief stint in Washington. In five-plus seasons, he was 35-63 with a 4.16 ERA.

-When Paul Richards became manager of the White Sox in 1951, he hired Harris as one of his coaches. They stayed in those respective positions through 1954, then both jumped to Baltimore and stayed there until 1961.

-Near the end of the 1961 season, Richards resigned as manager of the Orioles to take the general manager position in Houston. Lum managed the O's throughout September, winning 17 games and losing 10.

-Baltimore chose Billy Hitchcock as their next manager, and Harris unsurprisingly followed his old boss to Houston. He coached for the Colts for three seasons, and again took the managerial reins when Harry Craft was fired in September 1964. He piloted the team for all of 1965, but was cashiered after a ninth-place finish in the National League.

-With Paul Richards moving to the Braves front office in 1966, Lum was not far behind. He managed Atlanta's AAA Richmond club before getting promoted to the helm in the big leagues in 1968. The Braves had at least a .500 record in three of his four full seasons with them, including a 93-win campaign in 1969 that took them to the playoffs. But they were eliminated by the Amazin' Mets, and Harris was ousted in the summer of 1972 with a 47-57 mark. His final tally as a major league manager was 466 wins and 488 losses (a .488 win percentage).

-Lum also worked in scouting for a while. He passed away due to complications from diabetes in 1996, at age 81.
#274 Lum Harris (back)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

#272 Chuck Schilling

#272 Chuck Schilling
I bet you didn't know that there was a Schilling on the Red Sox before Curt. Something tells me that this one kept more of his opinions to himself, though.

Fun facts about Chuck Schilling:

-Born in Brooklyn, NY, Chuck signed with the Red Sox in 1958 after playing at Manhattan College.

-He hit .314 at AAA Minneapolis in his second pro season, prompting Boston to name him their starting second baseman in 1961.

-In his rookie season, Chuck hit .259 with a .340 on-base percentage. He also scored 87 runs and drove in 62 while doubling 25 times. The local media selected him as the Red Sox Player of the Year.

-Schilling had a reputation as a great defensive player. He led all American League second basemen with a .991 fielding percentage and 449 assists in 1961.

-A wrist injury cost him over 40 games and hampered his production in his sophomore season; he would never reach the offensive marks of his first big league season again.

-After posting a second straight sub-.300 on-base percentage in 1963, Chuck lost his starting job in 1964. He played only 118 games over the following two years.

-He hit only three home runs in 1965, but two of them came in pinch hit appearances in consecutive games!

-Boston traded him to the Twins on the eve of the 1966 season, but he retired before appearing in any games.

-In five seasons, he hit .239 with 23 home runs and 146 RBI.

-Chuck stayed busy after baseball, playing competitive softball until age 69 and teaching high school math back in Long Island.
#272 Chuck Schilling (back)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

#271 Don Wert

#271 Don Wert
Don Wert could perhaps use a better-fitting hat...or a differently-shaped head.

Fun facts about Don Wert:

-A native of Strasburg, in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Don played collegiately at nearby Franklin & Marshall College and then signed with the Tigers in 1958.

-He was the first F & M alumnus to play in the majors. To date, the only other Diplomat in MLB history is cup-of-coffee Orioles pitcher Jeff Rineer (1979).

-He debuted for Detroit in May of 1963 and hit .259 in 78 games.

-Had a reputation as one of the smoother defensive third basemen in the league. In 1965, he became the only non-Brooks Robinson to lead the A.L. in fielding percentage that decade.

-Was selected as the first-ever Tiger of the Year in 1965, when he hit .261 and added a career-high 73 walks. He also had 12 homers and 54 RBI and finished tenth in MVP balloting.

-His manager Mayo Smith selected him to the All-Star Team in 1968 despite a career-low .200 batting average. His effectiveness was seemingly hampered by a beaning in June that caused him to be stretchered off the field.

-The biggest hit of Don's career came on September 17 of that year, as he clinched the pennant for Detroit with a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth.

-He had only two hits in the Tigers' World Series win over the Cardinals, but did draw six walks to rack up a .375 on-base percentage.

-Wert hit a career-high 14 home runs in 1969, but it was a last hurrah. After a third straight season batting .225 or lower, he was traded to the Senators in the Denny McLain deal.

-Don played in only 20 games in Washington in 1971 before the Sens released him to end his career at age 32. In parts of nine seasons he hit .242 with 77 homers and 366 RBI.
#271 Don Wert (back)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

#265 Jim Pagliaroni

#265 Jim Pagliaroni
Jim looks solemn in this photo. Maybe he's trapped in the batting cage and is resigned to a life as a caged animal.

Fun facts about Jim Pagliaroni:

-Born in Dearborn, MI, Jim signed with the Red Sox as a bonus baby in 1955.

-He made his debut at age 17, but appeared in only one game before going to the minors for seasoning.

-Jim returned to Boston in 1960, hitting .306 in 28 games.

-He took over the starting duties behind the plate in 1961, and hit a game-tying grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning on June 18. The Sox had given up five runs in the top of the frame to fall behind 12-5, and rallied back for eight runs and a thrilling walkoff win. For an encore, he caught all 13 innings of the second game of that day's doubleheader and hit the game-winning homer!

-Caught Bill Monbouquette's no-hitter in 1962 and Catfish Hunter's perfect game in 1968.

-Was traded to Pittsburgh and spent four seasons as their primary catcher (1963-1966).

-Set a Pirates record for home runs by a catcher with 17 in 1965, also driving in a career-high 65 runs.

-Finished his career with a year-plus in Oakland and a forty-game swing with the Seattle Pilots, playing his last game in 1969.

-In parts of 11 seasons he hit .252 with 90 home runs and 326 RBI.

-After retiring, Jim went on to live in Grass Valley, CA, where he was executive director of a food and agricultural company servicing the Pacific Rim. He passed away just last month, having suffered from cancer and heart ailments. He was 72.
#265 Jim Pagliaroni (back)

Friday, May 07, 2010

#264 Bob Buhl

#264 Bob Buhl
Bob Buhl (rhymes with "mule") does not look like a man to be trifled with.

Fun facts about Bob Buhl:

-Born in Saginaw, MI, Bob signed with the White Sox as a teenager in 1947.

-Chicago let him go after his first pro season and he signed with the Braves.

-After serving in the military for two years (1951-1952), during which time he was a paratrooper in the Korean War, he finally debuted in Milwaukee in 1953 and went 13-8 with a 2.97 ERA that was third in the National League. He would go on to six top-ten finishes in ERA in his career.

-In 1956, Bob set a major league record by beating the eventual pennant-winning Dodgers eight times in one season. In nine games (eight starts) vs. dem Bums, he was 8-1 with a 2.42 ERA. He completed four of his starts, including a six-hit shutout on July 12.

-He posted double-digit wins in nine of the ten seasons in which he was healthy and starting full-time. His career year was 1957, when he went 18-7 (a league-leading .720 win percentage) with a 2.74 ERA and 14 complete games for the World Champion Braves. He was hit hard in two abbreviated World Series starts, but his teammates picked him up and downed the Yankees in seven games.

-His lone All-Star appearance was in 1959, when he was 15-9 with a 2.86 ERA and a league-best four shutouts.

-Bob was traded to the Cubs in 1962 and set a record for offensive futility by going 0-for-70 on the season. His 0-for-87 skid that spanned two seasons is another record. For his career, he had the most at-bats of any player with a sub-.100 average (76-for-857, .089).

-In 1966, Chicago dealt the 37-year-old pitcher to the Phillies along with Larry Jackson for three players, including a 23-year-old rookie named Fergie Jenkins. Buhl had a 4.93 ERA in 35 games for the Phils. Jackson had a 2.95 ERA and won 41 games over three seasons, but Jenkins won 282 more games en route to the Hall of Fame.

-Philadelphia released Buhl in 1967, capping his 15-year career. Overall he was 166-132 with a 3.55 ERA and 111 complete games.

-Bob passed away in Titusville, FL, in February 2001. He was 72 at the time. Former Braves roommate Eddie Mathews died just two days later.
#264 Bob Buhl (back)

Thursday, May 06, 2010

#255 Camilo Pascual

#255 Camilo Pascual
It's the little things in life that matter. Like the blurry be-stirruped Twin that is loitering in the background near the dugout. Who could it be? All I can say for sure is that it ain't Earl Battey.

Fun facts about Camilo Pascual:

-Camilo (aka "Little Potato") was originally from Havana, Cuba. He signed with the Senators in 1952 as an 18-year-old.

-His older brother Carlos pitched in two games for Washington in 1950.

-Camilo made his major league debut in 1954, but struggled with control for his first four seasons and went 20-54 with a 5.10 ERA in that span.

-He showed signs of what was to come with his 1958 performance, leading the Sens in ERA (3.15) and strikeouts (146), and posting the best strikeout-per-nine-innings mark in the American League (7.4).

-Pascual made his first All-Star team in 1959, and would go on to receive the honor in five seasons during a six-year period. That year he posted his first winning record (17-10) and led the league with 17 complete games and six shutouts, leading to a tidy 2.64 ERA. He would have two more complete game crowns and two more shutout crowns by the middle of the 1960s.

-On July 19, 1961, he tied a career high by striking out 15 Angels in a five-hit shutout, as the Twins won 6-0. It was one of five games that year in which he whiffed ten or more hitters.

-He performed a hat trick as the A.L.'s leading strikeout pitcher each year from 1961-1963. The 1963 season was his best: 21-9, 2.46 ERA, 18 CG, 202 K, 1.15 WHIP.

-After spending 13 years pitching for the Washington/Minnesota franchise, he was traded to...the second Senators franchise, where he spent his last two years as a full-time starter before rounding out his career with pit stops in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and Cleveland.

-He retired in 1971, having won 174 games (fourth all-time among Cubans) and lost 170 in his 18-year career. He boasted a 3.63 ERA and completed 132 games. He struck out 2,167 batters, still 55th all time.

-Camilo coached for the Twins (1978-1980).
#255 Camilo Pascual (back)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

#253 Danny Cater

#253 Danny Cater
I see the name Danny Cater and I think of cartoon critter Wally Gator. "See you later, Danny Cater!"'s a good thing John Sterling wasn't around to deliver home run calls for him.

Fun facts about Danny Cater:

-Hailing from Austin, TX, Danny signed with the Phillies in 1958 fresh out of high school.

-He was named the Appalachian League MVP in his first pro season, as he hit .345 and slugged .586 with Johnson City.

-Hit for average and power at each minor league stop, and made the big league club in 1964. He made only 160 trips to the plate in 60 games, but did hit .296 with 45 runs scored.

-Traded to the White Sox, Danny was a starter in his sophomore season and hit .270 with a career-best 14 home runs.

-He was dealt again the following year, going to the Athletics in a midseason deal. He spent three-plus seasons with that club, including a memorable 1968 campaign in which he finished second in the American League with a .290 average. It was a notoriously poor year for hitters, as the entire A.L. hit .230 overall and only batting champ Carl Yastrzemski (.301) topped .300.

-Speaking of batting average, pitcher and author Jim Bouton claimed in Ball Four that Cater had the ability to figure out his "on his way down to first base".

-Danny followed his stint in Oakland with two years in the Bronx, hitting a career-best .301 with 76 RBI for the 1970 Yankee squad that finished runner-up to the A.L. East champion Orioles.

-Traded to Boston for pitcher Sparky Lyle in a deal that had major benefits for the Yankees, Cater was just a part-time player for the Red Sox for three seasons before winding down his career with a 22-game swing through St. Louis in 1975.

-In addition to a pair of five-hit games, he totaled four hits in a game eighteen times. On August 12, 1973, the 33-year-old infielder went 4-5 with a double, a homer, four runs scored, and four RBI in a 14-8 victory over the Angels.

-For his 12-year career, he hit .276 with minimal power (.377 slugging percentage), totaling 66 home runs and 519 RBI.
#253 Danny Cater (back)

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

#251 Billy Herman

#251 Billy Herman
Look, it's Billy Herman! If we were playing Jeopardy and there was a "Before and After" category, you could combine him with another manager in this set: Billy Herman Franks.

Fun facts about Billy Herman:

-Born William Jennings Bryan Herman (yes, really) in New Albany, IN, he was purchased by the Cubs from Louisville of the American Association in 1931.

-After hitting .327 in 25 games as a 21-year-old rookie, Billy played in all 154 games in 1932 and hit .314 with 42 doubles, 102 runs scored, and 206 hits for the National League champs. He finished ninth in MVP voting, the the first of five top-ten finishes for him.

-He appeared in four World Series (three with the Cubs and one with the Dodgers), and his team lost all of them. He did stand out in the 1935 Fall Classic, hitting .333 (8-for-24) and slugging .625 with a home run and six RBI against the Tigers.

-Was an All-Star for ten straight seasons, 1934-1943.

-Led the National League with 227 hits and 57 doubles in 1935, batting a career-best .341. He topped .300 seven times in all.

-Served in the Navy for two years during World War II before finishing his career with two abbreviated seasons as a Dodger, Brave, and Pirate.

-Batted .304 with a .367 on-base percentage, 486 doubles, 47 home runs, and 839 RBI in parts of 15 seasons. He struck out only 428 times in 8641 plate appearances!

-Coached for the Dodgers, Braves, Red Sox, Angels, and Padres in the decades following his retirement.

-Also had two stints as a manager. Went 61-92 as player-manager of the Pirates in 1947, then spent parts of three seasons (1964-1966) as Red Sox skipper, losing 100 games in his only full year at the helm.

-Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veteran's Committee in 1975, and enshrined in the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame four years later. He passed away in 1992, about a week after his 83rd birthday.
#251 Billy Herman (back)

Monday, May 03, 2010

#243 Reds Rookie Stars: Ted Davidson and Tommy Helms

#243 Reds Rookie Stars: Ted Davidson and Tommy Helms
Here's a little math problem as I post my first card in a week: work conference + home renovations = less time for blogging. Fortunately you gentle readers are a kind lot and have not been sending me irate emails and comments demanding more frequent updates. As a token of my gratitude, here's a two-for-one Reds rookie card! In case you've lost track, this was part of a ginormous lot of set needs that were sent to me by Jamie Whyte. Thanks again, Jamie!

Fun facts about Ted Davidson:

-Ted was born in Las Vegas, NV, and signed with the Reds at age 20 in 1960.

-It took him five and a half seasons to climb from Class D ball to the major leagues; he went 50-32 in that span.

-He joined the Reds in July of 1965 and got his first major league win in his third appearance. Cincy starter Joey Jay was knocked out of the box after facing seven batters in the first inning, and Davidson entered with his team trailing 3-0. He went the distance, allowing a single run, and the offense rallied to a 6-4 victory.

-Ted was a valuable member of the bullpen as a rookie, posting a 2.23 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 24 games.

-As one of three pitchers on the 1966 Reds to appear in fifty games, he put up a 3.90 ERA, won five games, and saved four.

-The southpaw's career was likely shortened by a bizarre and frightening incident in March 1967. He and his estranged wife Mary Ruth got into a heated argument at a bar in Tampa and she shot him three times (twice in the right chest and once in the left abdomen) with a .22 caliber pistol. He was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery and was lucky to have survived.

-It was remarkable that Ted pitched again at all, much less in the same year. He appeared in nine games for Cincinnati in 1967, and then split 1968 between the Reds and Braves. His best days were apparently behind him, as he allowed 20 runs in 28.1 innings with the two clubs.

-Davidson spent the 1969 season bouncing around AAA for the Cubs, White Sox, and Indians before calling it a career. In parts of four major league seasons he was 11-7 with five saves and a 3.69 ERA.

-He likely hated to face Dick Allen. The mercurial slugger touched him up for four home runs and eight RBI in just 14 plate appearances for a 1.571 OPS!

-He was 66 years old when he passed away in 2006 in Bullhead City, AZ.

Fun facts about Tommy Helms:

-A native of Charlotte, NC, Tommy signed with the Reds in 1959 at age 18.

-He debuted with Cincy in 1964 and hit .381 in 21 games the following year.

-Cracking the Reds starting lineup at third base in 1966, Helms was named N.L. Rookie of the Year. He batted .284 with nine homers and 49 RBI. His home runs and runs scored (72) were both career highs.

-After being switched to second base, he had back-to-back All-Star appearances in 1967 and 1968, starting the latter game.

-Won a pair of Gold Gloves in 1970 and 1971, setting a team record with 130 double plays turned in 1971.

-Hit the Reds' first homer following their move to Riverfront Stadium on July 1, 1970.

-Was traded to the Astros in a late 1971 blockbuster eight-player deal that is most notable for bringing Joe Morgan to Cincinnati.

-Hit .269 in four seasons in Houston before finishing his career with short stints in Pittsburgh (1976-1977) and Boston (1977). In 14 seasons, Tommy hit .269 with 34 home runs and 477 RBI.

-Was notoriously difficult to strike out, fanning only 301 times in 5,333 career trips to the plate.

-He co-owned a vending machine company with fellow ex-Red Pete Whisenant. Tommy also coached for the Rangers in 1981 and 1982, and rejoined the Reds as a coach from 1983-1989. He served two terms as the team's interim manager, taking over during Pete Rose's suspension in 1988 and following Rose's banishment from baseball the following year. His teams won 28 games and lost 36. Later, Helms managed in the minor leagues for the Cubs' AA Charlotte affiliate (1990) and for the independent Atlantic City Surf (2000-2001).
#243 Reds Rookie Stars: Ted Davidson and Tommy Helms (back)