August 9 & 10, 2014, was a weekend I shall never forget. The Reds Hall of Fame Museum held a meet and greet for fans to snap selfies and say hello to some of the members of the Reds Hall of Fame. When I heard that Johnny Bench was going to be one of the players at the meet and greet, I knew that it might be my best and only chance to met my first baseball “hero”. After winding our way into the museum theater,my family and I were content to wait our turn in line. There were 3 or 4 wheelchair users in line. Johnny took charge and had the guys get off their stool and go to us.It was so awesome to meet Ken Griffey Sr., Jim Maloney, Gary Nolan, Mario Sotto, Leo Cardenas, and of course Johnny. It gave the fa crowd a big chuckle when the guys kept making comments about Johnny’s bossyness that has had since he was a 19-year-old kid
We still had some time to kill before the induction so toured this years main exhibits Hometown Reds,featuring all the players who grew up in Reds Country and wore the Reds uniform, also “King of the Queen City” , featuring some of the awards won by Reds players over the years. I would post pics of these but I would rather encourage fans to go to the Reds Hall of Fame Museum to check it out for themselves. For Reds Hall of Fame info go to http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/cin/hof/index.jsp Then it was time for the pregame ceremony. A lot of Reds Hall Fame came back to welcome the new inductees to the Red Jacket Club. The greats who came were
Then it was time to add 3 living hometown legends and a player from pro baseball’s early decades . The hometown inductees had major challenges in their Reds careers : Ron Oseter The steady second baseman from 1978-1990 .He had the tough task of replacing Joe Morgan in 1980. He did it the best way he knew how by not trying to be Joe Morgan. Ron showed the fans that while he may not have been as talented as Joe Morgan or his idol Pete Rose, Ron would use every ounce of his talent and baseball smarts to help the Reds win a ballgame. I think Ron may have even been tougher than Pete. On an early summer day in 1987 Ron was trying to turn a double play on a late feed from Barry Larkn. Ron was unable to clear the sliding Mookie Wilson The collision tore Ron’s ACL costing him the rest of the ’87 season. Many fans feared that Ron would never play in a Reds uniform.These fears were anything but calmed when the Reds would release Ron but gave him a minor league deal offer. Now ,he could have called it a career or signed with another team,but he went to Reds Triple A team in Nashville and worked his butt off to make it back to the Reds the tail end of the ’88 season. He was a guiding force for the wire to wire World Champion Reds in 1990. After he retired he served as a coach for the Reds. He made a point to thank his family, his teammates, and the fans.. On behalf of the fans i would just like to say thank you for playing hard every game and giving parents a cool example to teach kids about not giving up. I think all Reds fans and most baseball agree with you that your hero and former manager Pete Rose should be in both the Reds’ and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Dave Parker came to the Reds in 1984 under a cloud of cocaine suspension in his past. Coming home to Cincy gave him a fresh start to his baseball career and a new lease on life. Because of a strict drug testing requirement and Mrs.Schot’s promise that he would be released for any drug offence, He kept clean and showed he could still be a feared power bat and cannon armed OF as he had been in Pittsburgh. He showed a bunch of young Reds how be big leaguers, He gave his gratitude by a video because of his recently diagnosed Parkinson’s . The fan reaction lead him to grab his cane and move his still Herculean frame to the podium and again thank the fans. I keep going back and forth on whether Dave’s drug past should keep him out of Cooperstown. All I can say is this he played clean and great in the Reds uniform,and i pray for his health.
Ken Griffey Jr had the most natural talent of any player in Reds history but also had the most challenges of any player.Trying to live up to his Reds Hall of Famer dad and help lead his team to world titles, injuries, and god like hopes from the hometown fans and media.There were still enough awesome moments to make a Hall of Fame career. The 500th and 600th home runs are etched in Reds lore.As well as many of diving leaping catches.Junior said he just wanted to be like his dad,He thanked his Dad and his dad’s Big Red Machine teammates for showing him how to be a ballplayer.Thanked his mom for making sure he made baseball practice and playing catch with him. It was hard to do that with dad with Ken SR.on the road playing.He apologized for being hurt so much and not leading Cincy to a world title. In hindsight complaining about what he did not do is kind of like complaining about the wrong color sprinkles on your birthday cake.
The games were a mixed bag. a close loss to the Miami Marlins on Saturday with Reds hurlers failing to get 11 strikeouts to give the fans free La Rosa’s pizza. On Sunday Devin Mesaroco did his best Johnny Bench immation by Hitting 2 homers, one of which was a grand slam, to power the Reds offense. Cueto and Chapman made sure fans got pizza.
Months later I still can’t belive I Met Johnny Bench!!!