Congratulations to the great Def Leppard on the well-deserved induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tonight. A fantastic career, especially the first several albums. Their excellence should have been recognized long ago.
When I started building “JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: Def Leppard Covered,” I was initially disappointed by the lack of eclectic selections available. The deeper I got, though, some real gems popped up. Load these into your player and realize the brilliance of the newest Rock Hall of Famers. Some are straight-forward rockers, while others are countrified renditions, and there’s even an a cappella styling thrown into the mix.
JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: Def Leppard Covered
- “Rock Brigade” by Bang Tango from The Ultimate Bang Tango: Rockers and Thieves
- “Wasted” by Seven Witches from Passage to the Other Side
- “Let It Rock” by Jason McMaster (Dangerous Toys) from Rock Anthems of the ’80s
- “High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night) by The Gravel Pit from No One Here Gets in for Free: Rare & Unreleased. I’m not going to pull any punches here. This sounds slightly better than something my college band would have done in our dorm on our little tape deck.
- “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” by Mariah Carey from Charmbracelet. It was either this or a Jethro Tull-ish Jed Davis version.
- “Photograph” by Malibu Storm from Malibu Storm
- “Stagefright” by Matt Nathanson from Pyromattia
- “Too Late for Love” by Crease from Only Human
- “Rock of Ages” by Kelly Hansen (Foreigner) from Rock Of Ages: Hard Rock Hits Of The ’80s
- “Action Not Words” by Charlie Bonnet III from JukeBox Bluesman
- “Billy’s Got A Gun” by House of Heavy from House of Heavy
- “Love Bites” by Lucky Uke from Lucky Uke
- “Pour Some Sugar On Me” by Emm Gryner from Girl Versions. If you didn’t click play on the YouTube video at the top of this list, do it. Now. There are a lot of straight-forward covers of “Pour Some Sugar On Me” out there. There are also a lot of off-beat covers. Emm Gryner’s is hands-down the most hauntingly beautiful version of this song ever. Her voice is powerfully soulful. Before I heard her take, I also considered Bristol Love‘s saccharine version and Ely Jaffe‘s toned-down acoustic rendition.
- “Hysteria” by Daniel Flores from British Metal Invasion: The Greatest Hits Vol. 2
- “Two Steps Behind” by No Strings Attached from Even Closer. A cappella hair metal, folks. Except not metal at all. I wonder how much Aqua Net they go through in a week.
- “When Love and Hate Collide” by Patrick Dilley from Southern Sessions Live
- “Long Long Way To Go” by Lionel Richie from Just For You. The Def Leppard version, released in 2003, was their last song to appear on the UK Top 40 charts. Lionel Richie took his rendition to 20th on the US AC charts in 2004.
Of course, there are a ton of Def Leppard tribute albums available. I am not familiar with any of these personally, but I present them here in a handy-dandy list if you want to give them a spin:
- Love Me Like A Bomb: A Millennium Tribute To Def Leppard
- A Tribute To Def Leppard
- Leppardmania: A Tribute To Def Leppard
- Pickin On Def Leppard: A Bluegrass Tribute
- Def Leppard Mania – A Tribute to Def Leppard
- An Acoustic Tribute To Def Leppard
- Tributized: Tribute To Def Leppard
- Gatophobia: Tribute to Def Leppard
Can’t get enough of the cover songs? The Writer’s Journey has you covered (pun fully intended). Click on these links to check out some strangely familiar songs…
What band should we tackle next?
When I saw this photo pop up a few weeks ago, I knew I had to make a baseball card out of it. For some reason, I got a very 1983 Fleer vibe from it, even though Keith Hernandez didn’t wear the Captain’s “C” until 1987.
“No Respect” is, of course, the late Rodney Dangerfield‘s catchphrase. But it can easily be applied to Mex, one of the greatest defensive first basemen in baseball history. Despite his fielding excellence, coupled with a solid offensive career, Hernandez was shunned by the BBWAA when it came to Hall of Fame consideration. He received more than 5% of the vote from 1996-2003 to stay on the ballot, but dropped to 4.3% in 2004.
Is he a slam-dunk Hall of Famer? Obviously not, but he certainly wouldn’t be a bad choice either. Hopefully the Veterans Committee will do the right thing and induct Hernandez when he is again eligible for consideration. The only question then is whether he would wear a Cardinals cap or Mets cap on his Hall of Fame plaque.
The Reds have only posted pictures of a couple of players on their Twitter feed so far, so I took them and turned them into baseball cards…
I will update this later if I find additional photos.
Finally! Opening Day is here! The Reds All-Time Opening Day Lineup includes three Hall of Famers, and a guy who may garner some serious consideration for Cooperstown when his career comes to an end.
- Catcher: Johnny Bench – 12 games (1969-1976, 1978- 1981); Bench also started on Opening Day in 1982 and 1983 at third base.
- First base: Joey Votto – 11 (2009-2019)
- Second base: Brandon Phillips – 10 (2007-2016)
- Third base: Chris Sabo – 7 (1988-1993, 1996)
- Shortstop: Barry Larkin – 17 (1987-1997, 1999-2004)
- Leftfield: Adam Dunn – 7 (2002-2008)
- Centerfield: Edd Roush – 8 (1917-1920, 1924-1926, 1931) and Vada Pinson – 8 (1959-1962, 1964-1965, 1967-1968); Pinson also started in leftfield in 1958, 1963, and 1966.
- Rightfield: Jay Bruce – 8 (2009-2015)
- Pitcher: Mario Soto – 6 (1982-1986, 1988)
Pete Rose deserves a special mention. He was in the starting lineup 17 times at 6 different positions, including 16 years in a row from 1963 to 1978. Five times in leftfield, four times at third, three times each at second and rightfield, once in center and finally at first in 1985.
Several other players had impressive runs, including Ken Griffey Sr (1974-1980 in RF, 1981 in CF), Joe Morgan (1972-1979 at 2B), Ron Oester (1981-1987 and 1989 at 2B), Roy McMillan (1952-1960 at SS), Dave Concepcion (1970, 1972, 1974-1986 at SS), and Ernie Lombardi (1932-1933, 1935-1941 at C).
The Reds’ 2019 Opening Day lineup includes three first-timers for Cincinnati.
- Catcher: Tucker Barnhart 3 (2017-2019)
- First base: Joey Votto 11 (2009-2019)
- Second base: Jose Peraza 2 (2017, 2019); also started at shortstop in 2018.
- Third base: Eugenio Suarez 4 (2016-2019)
- Shortstop: Jose Iglesias 1 (2019); Iglesias is no newcomer to Opening Day starts, as he was Boston’s shortstop on Opening Day in 2013 and the Tigers’ Opening Day shorstop 2015-2018
- Leftfield: Jesse Winker 2 (2018-2019)
- Centerfield: Scott Schebler 1 (2019); also started in rightfield 2017-2018.
- Rightfield: Yasiel Puig 1 (2019); this will be Puig’s first Opening Day as a Red, but he started the season in rightfield for the Dodgers 2014-2018.
- Pitcher: Luis Castillo 1 (2019)
LET’S GO REDS!
Sometimes you just gotta know when to give up.
Garth Brooks joined the Pittsburgh Pirates this spring after previous failed attempts to make the majors with the San Diego Padres, New York Mets, and Kansas City Royals. While he actually got into a few games with those teams, and collected a hit with the Padres and Royals, he failed to even step up to the plate with the Pirates. Some players have a reputation of “all hit, no glove” or “no hit, all glove.” Brooks is best described as “no hit, no glove.” Not surprisingly, he only lasted a week before the Pirates sent him packing.
I really hope this guy has another talent to fall back on. At 57 years old, the window on a professional baseball career has been slammed shut. I hear McDonald’s is hiring. Or maybe he has a hidden talent like singing; he could audition for American Idol. Luke Bryan would be happy to give him some pointers.
In all seriousness, Brooks’ various appearances have been in conjunction with his “Teammates for Kids Foundation,” which has raised over $100 million for children’s charities. Whether you like his music or not, that’s kinda awesome.
Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” Yogi, spring training is over.
BASEBALL STARTS TOMORROW.
(April 23, 1924 – March 19, 2019)
For several years, my oldest son and I would attend the Redsfest event held in December. We met a lot of cool people, got tons of signatures, and always had a good time. I think the highlight of all the Redsfests we have attended occurred in 2010 when we met Chuck Harmon for the first time.
Chuck Harmon became the first African American to appear in a game for the Reds when he pinch hit for Corky Valentine on April 17, 1954. In the same game, Nino Escalera also debuted for the Reds; Esccalera was also black, but was Puerto Rican, not African American. Harmon was an excellent athlete, and also tried out for the Boston Celtics when the NBA was integrated for the 1950-51 season. After failing to make the Celtics, Harmon finished the season as a player-coach for Utica of the American Basketball League. According to Wikipedia, that made him one of the first (and possibly the first) African Americans to coach an integrated professional basketball team.
At the 2010 Redsfest, Harmon was one of the players in the backstage/lounge area reserved for those who purchased Hall of Fame Memberships. He was confined to a wheelchair, and he had someone there with him (I’m assuming it was his son) to carry his things and push the chair. He talked to Joshua and I for several minutes, talking about Jackie Robinson and how Jackie was “a pretty good ballplayer.” As we were getting ready to leave, he told his son to get some cards out of his bag, then asked for a pen to sign one that he had not yet autographed. His son said, “You’re not supposed to do that back here.” Harmon took the cards and pen, looked straight at one of the workers, and said, “Let them sue me!”
He then signed the cards and handed them to my son and I. A truly nice man, and an experience that neither of us will soon forget! On his now-defunct website, Harmon said, “Most importantly, I would most like to be remembered simply as a good person.” There is no doubt that he will be remembered as such by those who met him.
We saw him again the next year, and had him sign a special custom card that I had made from the photo taken in 2010. He was signing copies of his book, but you didn’t have to buy one to get his autograph. Amazingly, there was no one in line to meet him. I still regret not purchasing the book and getting it signed as well.
Harmon passed away on Tuesday, March 19, 2019. I will forever treasure the memory of meeting him.
Don Sutton is often cited as a prime example of a “compiler,” a guy who is able to stick around for a long time and keep padding his statistical record while never truly dominating. And to that accusation (if you want to call it that), I say, “So what?” If he’s good enough to stick around, let him stick around.
Even though he was only named to four All-Star teams and only won 20 games once in 23 seasons, he had five straight top-five finishes for the Cy Young Award from 1972 through 1976. Outside of that brief brilliance, though, Sutton never received much recognition for his abilities. Even when it came time for Hall of Fame consideration, it took five ballot cycles for the BBWAA to decide to induct a 300-win, 3500-strikeout pitcher.
One other interesting note about Sutton: he attended four different colleges in three states. He started at the Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, Florida, then went to Mississippi College in Clinton. From there, he went to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and finished up at Whittier College in Whittier, California.
Joe Morgan only went to two All-Star Games during his first stint with Houston in the 1960s and early 1970s. Once he arrived in Cincinnati, though, he never missed the mid-season appointment. From 1972 to 1978, “The Little General” started at second base for the National League, and in 1979 he was named as a reserve. After leaving the Reds in 1980, he never made another All-Star team. Coincidence?