February 26, 1980
Gary Majewski pitched in 88 games for the Reds from 2006 to 2008. His ERA was 7.38. Tell me again that expansion doesn’t dilute the talent pool. I dare you.
February 25, 1951
Cesar Cedeno was an absolute beast for the Houston Astros in the 1970s. Four All-Star selections, five Gold Glove Awards, 163 home runs in twelve seasons with the ‘Stros. He cooled off quite a bit starting around 1977, and by the time he came to Cincinnati, he was a shadow of his former self. In four years, he hit 30 home runs and drove in 173 for the Reds while batting .265. The Reds traded him to the Cardinals in 1985, and he finished up his career with the Dodgers in 1986.
February 25, 1963
Paul O’Neill won a World Championship and appeared in an All-Star game as a member of the Cincinnati Reds. He then won five more World Series and received four more All-Star honors as a member of the Yankees. Twelve voters named him on their Hall of Fame ballots in 2007, only 397 votes shy of induction.
February 24, 1960
Nick Esasky is the topic of many Reds fans conversations when the topic turns to the teams of the 1980s. From 1985 to 1988, the Reds finished 2nd each year. But what if, instead of chasing Ty Cobb’s record, Pete Rose had played Esasky more at first base than himself? Could he have been the boost the team needed to win the West Division, especially in 1985 when he slugged 21 home runs in 125 games? Most of those games were at third base (split with Buddy Bell) and left field (split with Gary Redus and Cesar Cedeno). No doubt, Rose wanted the record, and Reds fans wanted the record, but wouldn’t it have been nice to have seen the team get over that hump and win the division?
February 24, 1977
I can’t tell you how good it is to see Bronson Arroyo back in a Cincinnati uniform. In eight years for the Reds, Arroyo won 105 games with a 4.05 ERA. He started his career with the Pirates in 2000, and also pitched for the Red Sox and Diamondbacks through 2014, and was a part of the Braves, Dodgers, and Nationals organizations in 2015 and 2016, but only pitched 2 games for the Nationals’ Gulf Coast League team in 2016. I’m rooting for him to make the Reds out of Spring Training.
February 24, 1993
Robert Stephenson was the Reds’ first round pick in 2011 and made his debut in The Show in 2016, pitching to a 2-3 record and 6.08 ERA in 8 starts.
February 23, 1961
Two players named Mike Smith pitched in the late 1980s. This Mike Smith made his debut with the Reds in 1984, and pitched 12 games for Cincinnati from 1984 through 1986, but he never appeared on a card for the big league team. He also appeared in games for the Expos in 1988 and the Pirates in 1990, and as far as I can ascertain, his only major league issue came in the 1990 Topps/O-Pee-Chee set (#552) as a member of the Pirates; this is not to be confused with the Orioles’ Mike Smith who appears on card #249.
But wait, there’s more. The second Mike Smith—who never played for the big league Reds—was drafted by the Reds in 1984 and spent a few years in Cincinnati’s farm system before Baltimore took him in the Rule 5 draft in 1988. Though both pitchers were in the Reds’ system, they never played for the same team at the same time.
But wait, there’s more. In 1989, Mike Smith and Mike Smith were a part of the Baltimore Orioles organization, and both spent time with the Rochester Red Wings. Both had Rochester cards in the 1989 CMC AAA and 1989 ProCards Minor League sets.
In the 1990s, both Mike Smiths continued pitching in independent leagues, and the “other” Mike Smith (the one who never pitched at the major league level for the Reds), even attempted a comeback with the Reds in 1995, appearing in three games for the AA Chattanooga Lookouts. He continued pitching for independent league teams through 2006.
Dissatisfied with telling her creative students to “just write,” author Scarlett Thomas attempted to teach the deeper topics of literary theory to help them write better. She began lecturing on these deeper topics, and over time discovered that she had enough material for a book on writing. Monkeys With Typewriters: How to Write Fiction and Unlock the Secret Power of Stories is an excellent look at both the theory and practice of storytelling.
Thomas begins by examining a variety of literary works as well as Hollywood storylines, from Plato to Aristotle, Pride and Prejudice to Great Expectations, The Matrix to Toy Story. After reviewing numerous examples, Thomas summarizes the eight basic plots found in literature before launching into the “practice” portion of her book. She introduces the concept of using matrices in planning a novel, including categories that utilize what you know, what you think, and where you live, among others. She includes a blank matrix with further questions that the aspiring novelist can use to develop their own characters and worlds.
After discussing the value of the matrix, Thomas delves into styles of narration and the choices beyond first and third person, characterization and the importance of loving all your characters, and the value of writing good sentences, an area I continue to struggle with in my own writing. In the final chapter of the “practice” section, the author encourages the reader to become an author, to write a novel, to actually put into practice what they have just read. She offers a number of tips on note taking and brainstorming, drafting, and even offers a checklist of questions to ask yourself about your work.
Perhaps the most interesting and important question is this: “If the only copy of my novel was stranded on the top of a mountain, would I go up to rescue it?” The depth of that questions hits hard, but if you have poured your heart and soul into your creation, how could you possibly answer, “No”?
For those who cannot shake the desire to write, Monkeys With Typewriters might just give you the motivation, encouragement, and guidance you need to start tapping those keys.
February 22, 1934
The greatest manager in Reds history, Sparky Anderson skippered the club during the famous “Big Red Machine” era of the 1970s. The Reds won 863 games, four National League Pennants, and two World Championships with “Captain Hook” at the helm. Anderson joined the Detroit Tigers in 1979, and became the first manager to win a World Series in both leagues in 1984. Anderson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000 along with one of his greatest clutch players with the Reds, Tony Perez.
PRESS RELEASE: One of the most striking hard rock bands of the 1970’s was undoubtedly Angel—who sported costumes and a highly theatrical stage show only rivaled by KISS (their then-label mates on Casablanca Records). Despite Angel splitting in 1981, the group’s popularity and influence remain high – resulting in the return last year of their larger-then-life guitarist, Punky Meadows, with his first-ever solo release, Fallen Angel, and a striking video clip for the rocking track, “Straight Shooter”
“I’m very proud of this song and album,” says Punky. “Danny Farrow and I have a great song writing chemistry so it’s hard to to pick a favorite song because they’re all good. ‘Straight Shooter’ was our first single and video. This band is killer with all talented players and a killer singer.”
And in March and April, Punky will be performing in the US. From March 8th-10th, dates have been announced for Las Vegas, San Diego, and Los Angeles, followed by Poughkeepsie on April 21st and NYC on April 29th. Joining the guitarist on stage will be a band comprised of Chandler Mogel – lead vocals, Danny Farrow – rhythm guitar, vocals, Charlie Calv – keyboards, and Bob Pantella – drums, while it will be decided closer to the dates if bass will be supplied by Felix Robinson (due to recent surgery).
Angel was a headline act in the US, and was featured performing live in the 1980 cult classic film, Foxes (starring a then-teenage Jodie Foster, Cherie Currie, and Scott Baio). They were also one of the biggest rock bands of the 1970’s in Japan. The group released six studio albums on Casablanca Records before disbanding in 1981, due to the demise of the label. During his career, Punky had been considered to join such well-known artists such as KISS, Aerosmith, and the New York Dolls.
Upon the band’s disbanding, Punky occupied himself with a number of successful business ventures while continuing to play guitar and write songs. Through social media, fans let him know they missed him and wanted to hear new music. With renewed passion for recording music, and inspiration from close friend and fellow musician, Danny Farrow Anniello, they crafted 15 new songs together for Fallen Angel, which charted on Billboard at #6 on the Heatseekers Chart and #32 on the Independent Album Chart.
Also available is a special autographed edition of Punky Meadows’ Fallen Angel that includes a Punky Meadows guitar pick, and two bonus tracks (one featuring original Angel vocalist Frank DiMino), exclusively on the www.mainmanrecords.com website. Otherwise, the regular 15 song edition is available everywhere else, including iTunes, Amazon, and all other music outlets.
Also available are a limited amount of meet and greets for each show. The meet and greet includes a personal photo with Punky and the band (with personal cell or camera) up to 3 autographed Punky or Angel items, and a free 8×10 to have autographed as well. Here are the links to the meet and greets (all but the BB King meet and greet, which is on their website at checkout): punkymeadows.weebly.com/tour-dates.html
And soon, fans will get an opportunity to experience Punky and his band live on stage. “Can’t wait to get on the road and play for all the fans again. We’re coming to a town near you and we’re going to tear the place up!! Don’t miss it and let’s rock!!”
March 8th – Backstage Bar and Billiards (Las Vegas)
March 9th – Brick By Brick (San Diego)
March 10th – Whisky (Los Angeles)
April 21st – The Chance (Poughkeepsie)
April 29th – BB Kings (New York City)