Used mostly as a pinch-hitter or utility player throughout his career, Wes Helms was a good guy to have in the clubhouse and on the bench. After making his Major League Baseball debut for the Atlanta Braves, Helms enjoyed stints with the Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies and two with the Florida Marlins.
Helms was a player always willing to do whatever was asked of him. On this day 10 years ago, the Marlins needed Helms to come up with a big hit and he did just that.
After dropping the first two games of a four-game set, Florida had let a big lead evaporate against the Atlanta Braves at Land Shark Stadium on Sept. 2, 2009. The Marlins had scored five runs in the sixth inning and took a 7-3 lead into the seventh, but Atlanta pushed three runs across in the seventh via a Chipper Jones bases-clearing double. Yunel Escobar tied the game with a solo home run off the Marlins closer once known as Leo Nuñez in the ninth.
The contest headed to the bottom of the ninth 7-7. After Atlanta reliever Mike Gonzalez got Jorge Cantú to pop out to lead off the inning, Helms was called upon to pinch-hit. He the count full before blasting the sixth pitch from Gonzalez into the left field stands for a walk-off solo home run as the Marlins prevailed 8-7.
The blast would serve as the second walk-off home run of Helms’ career and the first with Florida.
Helms would hit just three more home runs over the remainder of his career, but the 2009 blast served as the only walk-off during his tenure with the Marlins. It came on this day a decade ago.