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Happy Reds birthday, Tommy Helms!

helms

May 5, 1941

1966 Rookie of the Year. Two-time All-Star. Two-time Gold Glove. 1979 Reds Hall of Famer. Receiver of a vote for the Hall of Fame in 1983. Interim manager during Pete Rose suspensions in 1988 and 1989. Tommy Helms remains a popular figure in Cincinnati, years after his career came to a close.

Reds Hall of Fame Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday

The best team-specific museum in the world is hosting Fan Appreciation Day this coming Saturday, featuring discounts on admission, door prizes, and free autographs. There are also activities for kids who attend. The autograph schedule is below; visit the Reds Hall of Fame for more information on all activities.

OToole autograph

Autograph schedule:

Redsfest 2011: Tommy Helms

Here is one that I really wanted to get this year: former player, coach, and manager Tommy Helms.

I first met Helms in 2010 during the Reds Hall of Fame weekend. Several former players were on hand for a meet-and-greet with fans, including Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan. No autographs were allowed, but it was great to shake hands with some of the all-time great Reds.

Ever since acquiring a 1969 Topps All-Star card of Helms, I’ve wanted to get his signature on it.

Finally, this weekend, I accomplished that goal, and the kids got some custom cards signed.

An Opening Day present (to myself)…

This 1969 Topps Tommy Helms All-Star card only set me back 60 cents…after shipping! If you subtract the 44 cents it cost to ship, that’s only 16 cents! (Did I do that right?) I love eBay!

Two in a row for the Redlegs!

July 17, 2010, was Hall of Fame induction night for the Reds Hall of Fame. Chris Sabo, Pedro Borbon, and the late Tony Mullane are the newest members of the club, and several Reds Hall of Famers were on-hand to welcome them. They all hung out at the Museum before the game for photos with the fans…

Here is Joshua (my son) with the 1966 NL Rookie of the Year, Tommy Helms…

Here we are with Big Red Machine centerfielder Cesar Geronimo…

We’ve met Leo Cardenas on at least three other occasions. He is always super nice and has a great smile for everyone.

Big Red Machine second baseman and National Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Morgan!

The greatest catcher to ever play in the majors! I’ve been racking my brain, trying to think of another time that I’ve met a National Baseball Hall of Famer, and I can’t come up with one. I think this is a first for me, and I got to do it twice in less than a minute! They really are larger than life.

One of the 2010 Reds Hall of Fame inductees, Pedro Borbon…

One of the reasons I am still a baseball fan today, Chris Sabo…

After the photo festivities, the skies decided to open up and pour for a while. Luckily, the rain stopped and the on-field ceremony took place, honoring Sabo, Borbon, and Tony Mullane, whose descendants were in attendance.

Most of the Hall of Famers who were present for the photo sessions stayed for the ceremony, and a few others showed up as well.

First row, l-r: Jim O’Toole, Jim Maloney, Tommy Helms, Leo Cardenas, Wayne Granger, Gary Nolan.

Second row, l-r: George Foster, Mario Soto, Jerry Lynch, Johnny Bench, Jack Billingham.

Third row, l-r: Eric Davis, Tom Browning, Cesar Geronimo, Barry Larkin.

Borbon threw out two ceremonial first pitches; this is the second one….

Spuds also threw out a ceremonial first pitch…

And then the game was underway, featuring the return of Edinson Volquez.

Joey Votto(matic), my other son’s favorite player…

Drew Stubbs went deep twice tonight…

The Reds only had five hits in the game, four of them home runs, winning the game 8-1. A great start to the second half of the season, a great return for Volquez.

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