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Happy Reds birthday, Eric Davis!


May 29, 1962

The rumor in Cincinnati in 1987 was that the Hall of Fame had already cast Eric Davis’ plaque. Davis intimidated pitchers both at the plate and on the basepaths. In 1986, he hit 27 homers while stealing 80 bases; in 1987 he fell three home runs shy of becoming the first 40/40 player in history. Injuries limited his playing time, and fickle Cincinnati fans turned on their brightest star. After the 1991 season, the Reds sent Davis to Los Angeles with Kip Gross for Tim Leary and John Wetteland. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and Reds fans soon realized what they had lost. He returned to Cincinnati for one season in 1996 as a free agent, and continued playing through 2001. Eric the Red is now a “Special Assistant, Player Performance” for the Cincinnati franchise, and a very popular guest at fan functions such as Redsfest.

Happy Reds birthday, Jerry Hariston, Jr.!


May 29, 1976

Jerry Hairston Jr. played much longer than I remembered—16 years in the major leagues. He was in Cincinnati in 2008 and part of 2009, hitting .287 with 14 homers and 63 RBI.

Happy Reds birthday, Jim Thorpe!


May 28, 1887

There are so many tall tales about football Hall of Famer Jim Thorpe, it is difficult to separate fact from fiction. He only played part of one season in Cincinnati, appearing in 77 games for the Reds in 1917. He batted .247, hit four home runs and drove in 36 in that time.

Happy Reds birthday, Willard Hershberger!


May 28, 1910

One of the most devastating stories in major league history, Willard Hershberger took his own life in 1940. Failing to show up to the ballpark for a game against the Boston Bees, the team sent someone to check on him at the hotel. He had taken a razor to his throat. His uniform number 5 was retired for the remainder of the season and the Reds won the World Series in his honor, sharing a portion of the championship money with Hershberger’s mother.

Happy Reds birthday, Rafael Landestoy!


May 28, 1953

Rafael Landestoy hung around the majors for eight years, but struggled mightily at the plate. From 1981-1984, he batted .153, .189, .159, and .185.

Happy Reds birthday, Bill Doran!


May 28, 1958

Bill Doran was a solid player for many years with the Houston Astros. I was surprised to find that he never made an All-Star team, despite receiving MVP consideration in 1985, 1986, and 1987. The Reds acquired Doran late in the 1990 season as they were wrapping up their wire-to-wire World Championship campaign.

Happy #Reds birthday, Jacob 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.

Happy Reds birthday, Dann 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, Todd 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!


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.

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