The NL Rookie of the Year Award in 1966 as a third baseman, Helms became one of the best second basemen of the 1960s. The excellent fielder led the NL in fielding percentage and double plays three times. Noted more as a hit-and-run man than a power hitter, he hit the first HR by a Red at Riverfront Stadium. Helms went to Houston with Lee May in the blockbuster November 1971 trade that brought Joe Morgan, Jack Billingham, and Cesar Geronimo to Cincinnati.
A longtime Reds coach, Helms filled in for manager Pete Rose during Rose’s 30-day suspension in 1988 and replaced him after Rose was banned in 1989.