What’s your favorite baseball season?
I can’t say I’ve ever been asked this question. Favorite team, favorite player, favorite baseball card…sure. But favorite baseball season? I had never even thought to answer this unasked question.
But the answer is an easy one for me. 1988. Hands-down, without a doubt. This was the first year I really paid attention to baseball. I had been collecting baseball cards for a few years before this, but besides watching a few Reds games on television and in person, I never really took notice of the game as a whole. In 1988 that all changed, with the emergence of some exciting rookies: Ron Gant, Mark Grace, and the eventual Rookie of the Year and still one of my favorite players, Chris Sabo. The excitement of the 1988 season continued in the postseason for me as I watched Kirk Gibson pull off the unthinkable pinch-hit home run off Dennis Eckersley in the World Series as the Dodgers went on to beat the Bash Brothers. I don’t care if you love or hate the Dodgers, that World Series was fun to watch.
The other two seasons that come to mind, but neither comes close to 1988 in my mind, are 1990 and 2010. 1990 saw the Reds go wire-to-wire, sweeping the Oakland A’s in the World Series behind the bat of Billy Hatcher and the pitching of Jose Rijo. It was a great time to be a Reds fan.
2010 was an exciting year as well, watching Joey Votto rise up as the next superstar produced by the Big Red Machine, seeing Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs endure adversity and mature at the plate, and following the progress of the young pitchers, Mike Leake, Sam LeCure, Matt Maloney, and of course, the Cuban Missile Aroldis Chapman. Yes, the season ended on a sour note due to the manager’s foolish decision to start an injured shortstop in a playoff game, but it was a fun ride.
So what are your favorite baseball seasons, and why?