CLEARWATER, Fla. -- It's been 10 years since the Phillies became the first team in baseball history to overcome a seven-game deficit with 17 left to play, edging the Mets for the National League East title on the final day of the season.Everybody remembers that. What's often overlooked is that
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- It's been 10 years since the Phillies became the first team in baseball history to overcome a seven-game deficit with 17 left to play, edging the Mets for the National League East title on the final day of the season.
Everybody remembers that. What's often overlooked is that they did it with three different third basemen splitting the playing time almost equally. Greg Dobbs had 57 starts, Wes Helms had 53 and Abraham Nunez had 51.
That turned out to be the only season Helms played with the Phillies. But after a 13-year career that also included stops with the Braves, Marlins and Brewers, it remains one of his most memorable. He recently reported to camp as a special guest Spring Training instructor.
"[Former manager] Charlie Manuel [now a special adviser to the general manager] and I were just talking about it this morning," Helms said before the Phillies played the Blue Jays on Friday at Spectrum Field. "The comeback. No one would have ever thought we would have come back from that many games out with so few games left. To just be a part of that, even though we got beat in the first round by Colorado, that's the biggest thing from that year.
"It just took everybody that year. That was awesome. That was special. That was one of my most memorable times in baseball."
Helms, 40, is now an assistant baseball coach at Briarwood Christian, just outside Birmingham Ala. He also coaches Wes Jr., his older son, in travel ball.
That's been his connection to baseball since he retired after the 2011 season, but coming back to Spring Training has him thinking he might like to come back to pro ball.
"My wheels are starting to turn a little bit now," he said. "Coming down here this week really got them spinning. To be back around the game.
"I'm around the game in high school and all. But it's different. Different level, different style of coaching. This is what I did for a long time. This is in my blood. I'm sure this could lead to conversations. Maybe with the Phillies, maybe with other teams. Whoever wants to talk. But I definitely am starting to think about it."
Paul Hagan is a reporter for MLB.com.