UPDATE: We’ve posted a photo gallery with images of Sunday night’s festivities, and we’ve added videos that you’ll get to at the end of the post …
Pardon us in advance if we go a little overboard with our coverage of the 2010 Reds Hall of Fame induction gala, but you’d be pretty fired up too if you had just been in the same (big) room with the entire current Reds roster (minus the ill Scott Rolen) in addition to the likes of Johnny Bench, Eric Davis, Barry Larkin, Lee May, George Foster, Jack Billingham, Hal Morris, Tom Browning and all three Nasty Boys. Oh, AND Chris Sabo and Pedro Borbon.VERY cool event, thanks to a very impressive effort by the Reds Hall of Fame. Everything about it was well executed and exactly what piques your interest, gets your adrenaline pumping and tugs at your heartstrings (thanks, Sparky) if you’re a Reds fan. Michael Anderson from the Reds mentioned that Hilton, Head, SC-based producer Philip Myers – a professional entertainer who specializes in corporate and commercial entertainment who the Reds have worked with for past induction galas as well as the Civil Rights Game – was involved with the production, particularly with the music, which at times throughout the evening made me feel like I was in ‘Far and Away’ (obscure reference 1 of 1). All of the current players and a bunch of former Reds who were on hand were introduced at the beginning of the event. It was fun to see how the players reacted as each guy walked up to the stage and acknowledged the crowd in his own way. Couldn’t really get good shots with the camera, but I do know Eric Davis’ walk/acknowledgement had Arthur Rhodes and Coco Cordero just about ROFL, and Volquez was cracking up at just about everyone.
Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty emceed and at one point exclaimed something like, “How about those first-place Reds!” Slyde from redreporter.com and a couple of others I chatted with pointed out that “first-place Reds” wasn’t entirely accurate given that the Dodgers stink and gave up a 4-0 lead to lose AGAIN Sunday to the Pujols-less, Molina-less and Rasmus-less Cardinals, who took a 1/2 game lead in the division. Later in the program, Marty corrected himself as only Marty can:
I don’t give a damn that the Cardinals won today!
There was a really memorable segment where Bench, Foster, Billingham, Cesar Geronimo and Gary Nolan shared their favorite memories from the 1975 World Series. Bench made it clear he’s a fan of the 2010 Reds:
We’ve seen it on the field so far this year. When guys have been hurt, somebody’s picked them up. And that’s the way it was in our year (1975). Never forget that there’s 25 players and they’re all gonna contribute. … Our great success came because of all of the great support players, the role players that came out and did their job. They knew what their job was, and when they had to do it, they did it. And I’m just as happy for them; that’s why all 25 players were World Champions, and that’s why we all got rings. So thanks to all of those people.
Wow. Quite a contrast to how Bench is portrayed in Joe Posnanski’s ‘The Machine,’ huh?! :)
In another segment of the event, it was very cool the way the 25th anniversary of 4,192 was acknowledged. (Sabo later said he thought Pete was going to come out during this segment.)And the 20th anniversary of the 1990 title featured what Marty said is believed to be (still awaiting confirmation or denial from Charlton, Dibble or Myers, none of whom acknowledged it) the first reunion of the Nasty Boys in 20 years. (Dibble, who is part of the Nationals’ broadcast team, is in town for the upcoming Reds-Nats series, but apparently it was a pleasant surprise that he was able to make it in time for the reunion.)
A family member, Cairil Mills, had some very well-prepared and well-articulated remarks about Tony Mullane, who was apparently quite a fascinating individual. You just don’t get pitchers who throw a complete game during just about every outing anymore!
During his induction speech, Borbon explained that he considers Cincinnati the best baseball city in the country. (St. Louis can put that in its pipe and smoke it.)And Marty declared, “The two people I’ve known who are totally without ego … are Joe Nuxhall … and Chris Sabo.”
Three memorable quotes from Sabo’s speech (which actually referred to Pete Rose for a good two minutes or so):
I’d like to thank all of my former teammates, especially with the ’90 team for coming here … it was a fun team. I might not have shown it when I played, but I loved playing with all of you guys. Great teammates. We might not hang out off the field, but we had a good time on the field.
He’s not here, but I actually owe a lot to Pete Rose. He’s one of the few guys who believed in me when I was in the minor leagues, when people thought I was crap. He actually gave me a chance. And thankfully, Buddy Bell got hurt and I got a chance.
I’m just glad you guys all came out. I’m also glad this weekend’s ending and I can go home and have a couple of beers.
I’ve cut down a couple of the better video clips we got, including a pair of emotional recorded messages from Sparky Anderson. OK, I’m warning you, it’s not some dude in a Mike Leake shersey having an impromptu dance-off with Hammer or Norm MacDonald hosting the ESPYs, but it’s really pretty cool stuff if you’re a fan. Also, the audio quality is good but the video quality isn’t great.