OMGreds had the privilege of attending the first Reds Hall of Fame Brunch Series with Rawly Eastwick on Sunday at Great American Ball Park’s Riverfront Club. A bright, sunny mid-morning at the ballpark was a great setting to hear tales of the Big Red Machine from the soft-spoken, but entertaining Eastwick.
Before the talk, the Riverfront Club put on a fine brunch with more choices than anyone could really handle on one plate. Pork chops and delicious potatoes accompanied ham, chicken & waffles and a fantastic nacho breakfast casserole. Fruit, muffins and other typical brunch items were done with flair and were delicious, of course.
As brunch wrapped up, Reds HOF Director Rick Walls introduced Eastwick to the room of approximately 50 guests. Eastwick touched on many topics from his playing days including when he was drafted by the Reds (3rd pick by the Reds in the ’69 draft), his friendships with Reds teammates (was close with Griffey, Darcy, Zachary and others) and some general, and positive, views on today’s game. A Q&A session was included and great questions were asked, including what it was like having Johnny Bench as your catcher, to which he replied, with a grin, “I don’t think I every shook Johnny off.” Of course, with any speaking event involving a baseball player in Cincinnati, Pete Rose came up. Eastwick said he feels Rose should be in the Hall of Fame for what he accomplished on the field but it was too bad things worked out the way they did.
One aspect of Eastwick that sets him apart from other ballplayers was his artistic ability. During the off-seasons, he worked with a painting instructor. Eastwick’s mother was a watercolorist, artistic talent ran in the family, but he chose to work mostly with oils. One of his favorite memories from his days with the Big Red Machine was doing a painting for Johnny Bench and giving it to Bench as a wedding gift in 1975. Bench was very touched by the gesture, Eastwick said.
As the talk wrapped up, the recent events in Boston came up, as Eastick lives in the area. Paul Daughtery was at the brunch and wrote about that very topic.
After the talk, Rawly graciously met with fans and posed for photos. Each fan in attendance received a nicely matted autographed 8×10 of Eastwick pitching during his days with the Reds.