Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Wild Thing replaces Helms as manager in minors

The Associated Press

        ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Make that Manager Wild Thing. Mitch Williams, who struggled with his control as a Philadelphia Phillies reliever almost a decade ago, became manager of the minor-league Atlantic City Surf on Monday.

        He replaced former Reds infielder Tommy Helms, who resigned after 2 1/2 seasons under what Surf general manager Mario Perrucci called a mutual agreement.

        Williams, who earned the nickname “Wild Thing” in his 11-year major league career, is best known for surrendering a World Series-winning home run to Toronto's Joe Carter in 1993, when he pitched for the Phillies.

        Williams joined the Surf, of the independent Atlantic League, last spring as pitching coach and has pitched occasionally for the team.

        In 11 appearances last year, Williams was 4-3 with a 3.85 ERA. On June 19, he picked up a win, allowing five hits and walking three in a five-inning appearance against the Newark Bears. He probably won't pitch anymore now that he's manager, Surf team spokesman Chuck Betson said.

        “Mitch is excited,” Betson said. “This is something he's always wanted to do. Now he gets the opportunity.”

        The Surf is in last place in the league's Southern Division, with a 23-31 record.

        During his 2 1/2 years, Helms had a .465 winning percentage. He took a six-game leave of absence for personal problems in May, and was suspended for three games after an argument with Nashua (N.H.) Pride coach Butch Hobson.

        Helms, 61, a former National League rookie of the year with the Reds, will take a front-office job, advising the team on baseball operations and evaluating talent, Perrucci said.


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- Wild Thing replaces Helms as manager in minors
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