Happy Reds birthday, Gary Nolan!

GNolan

May 27, 1948

Gary Nolan was a big part of the Reds teams of the 1970s, winning 110 games for Cincinnati from 1967 through 1977 with a 3.02 ERA.

Happy #Reds birthday, Jacob Brumfield!

Brumfield

May 27, 1965

Jacob Brumfield is the only person to ever make the majors from Hammond High School in Louisiana. Two others were drafted, but never made it out of the minor leagues: Angelo Stutts and Mike Neal.

Chuck Klosterman X by Chuck Klosterman (2017)

Chuck Klosterman X

Chuck Klosterman X:
A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century
by Chuck Klosterman
Blue Rider Press, 2017

Chuck Klosterman is a seemingly intelligent man with a knack for putting words together in sentences that generally make sense. His latest release, Chuck Klosterman X, is a collection of essays written over the past ten years or so for various outlets, including GQ, Esquire, and the too-soon defunct Grantland. He weaves narratives from the worlds of sports and music and often intertwines them seamlessly, writing about Gnarls Barkley (to whom an entire essay is dedicated) as easily as Charles Barkley (who is only mentioned in connection with Gnarls Barkley).

Klosterman’s thought process can be confusing, such as his examination of nostalgia and what he terms “false nostalgia” in the piece, “That’s Not How it Happened.” At the beginning of the essay, I was nodding in agreement, but by the time he asserts that the Internet has effectively destroyed nostalgia because what we consider nostalgia isn’t really nostalgia anyway—I’m lost. I’m sure he understood where he was going and how he was getting there, and many of his readers likely understood as well, but I got so hung up on hearing Ozzy Osbourne’s “Centre of Eternity” that I lost my concentration.

No doubt, Klosterman writes what he writes many times just to get a reaction. Introducing an essay from 2011, he writes, “By the time this book is released, many people will not even remember who [Tim Tebow] was or what he did, unless they really care about God or Florida or minor league baseball.” I care about God, but I am theologically at odds with Tebow’s general understanding of Him. That’s beside the point. How could anyone forget about Tim Tebow in a five-year span? Am I supposed to be insulted, or am I simply naïve about society? Or is Klosterman’s opinion of the world that far off, bringing his credibility into question? He shows his hand in the final paragraph without apology, painting himself as anti-religious by calling faith “illogical,” “a warm feeling that makes no sense.”

Is Klosterman a good writer? Absolutely. Is he entertaining? Most of the time—especially in his footnotes. He sprinkles obscenities here and there, and his sometimes not-so-subtle attempts to undermine faith are annoying. But when he sticks to sports and music without straying into politics and religion, his essays are enjoyable. His interviews with Jimmy Page of the legendary Led Zeppelin and Eddie Van Halen of one of the greatest American rock acts ever are particularly fun reads, and his epic piece on KISS (including a review of all of the band’s records, and all of the band members’ solo records) is only diminished by the profanities that litter it. Perhaps I enjoyed this particular essay a little too much, but how could I not love it when someone besides myself recognizes the first Vinnie Vincent Invasion record as a masterpiece (Klosterman rates it an A+).

Long story short (too late?), Chuck Klosterman X is a trip down memory lane, hopping from Tom Brady and the failed Deflategate interview to a eulogy for Warrant’s Jani Lane. You might be amused, you might be offended, but you will not be bored reading this book.

Learn more about Blue Rider Press.

Purchase Chuck Klosterman X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century by Chuck Klosterman.

Happy Reds birthday, Dann Bilardello!

Bilardello

May 26, 1959

Only three players from Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, have made it to the big leagues: Mark Eichhorn, Tom Urbani, and Dann Bilardello. Bilardello played three years in Cincinnati, and also played for the Expos. Pirates, and Padres. He is currently the manager for the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League.

Happy Reds birthday, Rob Murphy!

Murphy

May 26, 1960

Rob Murphy was an effective middle reliever for the Reds in 1986 and 1987, collecting 2.5 and 2.3 WAR. His effectively dipped a bit in 1988, and the Reds traded him to Boston with Nick Esasky for Todd Benzinger and Jeff Sellers. He fared better his first season in Boston, then started bouncing around the league. Besides the Reds and Red Sox, Murphy played for the Mariners, Astros, Cardinals, Yankees, Dodgers, and Marlins.

Happy Reds birthday, Todd Walker!

Walker

May 25, 1973

The Reds acquire Todd Walker during the 2001 season from the Rockies along with Robin Jennings, sending Alex Ochoa to Colorado. He stayed in Cincinnati through the end of the 2002 season, when the Reds shipped him to Boston for not one, but two players to be named later. Those later-named players were Josh Thigpen and Tony Blanco.

Happy Reds birthday, Wally Shaner!

Shaner

May 24, 1900

Wally Shaner, to the best of my knowledge, did not have a major league card until the 1994 Conlon issue, and that pictured him in a Cleveland uniform. He only played 13 games for the Reds, all in 1929. As a collegiate athlete, Shaner was a three-sport star for Virginia Polytechnic, playing baseball, football, and basketball.

Happy Reds birthday, Brandon Larson!

larson

May 24, 1976

Brandon Larson was the 1997 College World Series MVP for Louisiana State University and the 1st round pick for the Reds that June. He had previously been drafted twice by the Pirates in 1994 and 1995, and by the Giants in 1996. His big league career lasted all of 109 games scattered over four seasons

Happy Reds birthday, Gino Minutelli!

Minutelli

May 23, 1964

Gino Minutelli had a brief and largely forgettable big league career. The first two sentences of his Score rookie card are telling: “Gino had one of the shortest major league starting debuts of the ’91 season, or any season. He made only 22 pitches and had to leave a game against the Astros after the first inning with a pulled groin muscle that put him on the 15-day disabled list.”

Happy Reds birthday, Kirk Saarloos!

Saarloos

May 23, 1979

For the low, low price of $1.2 million, Kirk Saarloos posted a 7.17 ERA for the Reds in 2007. His best ERA prior to coming to Cincinnati was 4.17 in Oakland in 2005. And that’s worth a million dollars?

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