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Fun Cards: 2019 Reds, 1987 Topps football style: Joey Votto

Votto

The Reds finally won their second game after eight straight losses. It may have come against the Marlins, but it still counts. Joey Votto hit a double and scored twice, while five of his teammates went yard. Luis Castillo has had three fantastic starts so far, and I would like to remind everyone that I predicted a Cy Young season for Mr. Castillo. I’m looking forward to seeing continued dominance from this young man.

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Fun Cards: 2019 Reds, 1987 Topps football style: Mr. Redlegs

Mr Redlegs

While I prefer the mustacheless “running man” logo used from 1968 into the 1990s, I have grown to love Mr. Redlegs in recent years.

Fun Cards: 2019 Reds, 1987 Topps football style: Johnny Bench

Bench

One of the greatest players ever, Johnny Bench is rightly and forever will be known as a legend in Cincinnati.

Fun Cards: 2019 Reds, 1987 Topps football style: David Bell

Bell

Managers get cards in my sets. David Bell is the descendant of Cincinnati royalty; both grandfather Gus Bell and father Buddy Bell were popular players for the Reds. His little brother Mike Bell also played for the Reds, but that didn’t go quite as well. I’m hoping for the best for David. I was excited when they named him manager, and I expect him to continue the Bell tradition of excellence in the Queen City.

Fun Cards: 2019 Reds, 1987 Topps football style: Matt Kemp

Kemp

Another new face to the Reds this year is the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player Matt Kemp. He is hitless so far in Cincinnati, but any day now that 2011 MVP mojo will come back and he will lead these Redlegs to the top of the division…the league…the world!

Fun Cards: 2019 Reds, 1987 Topps football style: Derek Dietrich

Dietrich

The Reds often make the most of their bench players: Doug Flynn, Miguel Cairo, and now you can add Derek Dietrich to the list. They can give the big guys a rest with a solid bat, or come in to pinch hit and deliver big. Dietrich launched a three-run homer off Richard Rodriguez in the 7th inning to put the home team ahead and they never looked back. Does that qualify as a GW-RBI?

Fun Cards: 2019 Reds, 1987 Topps football style: Record Breaking Crowd

Largest crowd

The Reds hosted their largest Opening Day crowd on Thursday, but that was followed just a few days later with the lowest attendance in the history of Great American Ballpark. Opening Day is practically a holiday in Cincinnati, but it’s a short-lived fervor for America’s pastime.

Fun Cards: 2019 TWJ Opening Day Cincinnati Reds!

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…

Castillo

Peraza

Luis Castillo got his first-ever Opening Day start in the majors; Jose Peraza scored the first run for the Reds in 2019 and hit a 3-run homer in the 7th.

I will update this later if I find additional photos.

Cincinnati Reds All-Time Opening Day Lineup

1987 Donruss Opening Day Barry Larkin

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)

Votto

LET’S GO REDS!

Goodbye, Chuck Harmon

(April 23, 1924 – March 19, 2019)

Harmon

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!”

Chuck Harmon autograph

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.

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