1996 Durham Bulls
Wes Helms is a North Carolina native, from Gastonia which is near Charlotte, and ended up on the Durham Bulls two years after being drafted out of high school by the Atlanta Braves. Helms had a pretty good year in 1995 while playing for the Macon Braves in the South Atlantic League, but his real breakout year in the Minors took place in Durham during 1996. He started the year with the Bulls in the Carolina League and only stayed for a total of 67 games. He posted a .322/.367/.562 slash line with 13 home runs, 19 doubles, and 54 RBIs. Pretty impressive line over basically half of a season. Helms reached the Majors for the first time in 1998, but only stayed for 7 games. He returned again for 6 games in 2000 before he stuck with Atlanta for good in 2001. Helms ended up playing a total of 13 seasons in the Majors with most of his time coming with the Braves and Marlins. He also had stops with the Brewers and Phillies.
This is the second Best autograph that I have posted in my Project Durham Bulls posts. The first being a Randall Simon autograph a few weeks ago. While there are a bunch of these 1990s Minor League sets with a lot of no frills autographs, that are kind of dumpster dives at this point, they are great if you are trying to find cards of a particular team. I am spreading out my Durham Bulls posts a bit, I am not going to do one everyday and miss out on talking about other cards, but in trying to assemble cards for my collection, these have been really helpful sets. While you can find these cards in the fifty-cent bin at card shows, there are actually a surprising number of players who are in these sets who actually made it the Majors and were there for awhile. Wes Helms was never an All-Star or anything, but he stuck around for 13 years and played in more than 1200 games.