The Reds acquired Van Snider from the Royals for Jeff Montgomery, and after two uneventful seasons in the Reds’ system, he was dealt to the Yankees with Tim Leary for Rod Imes and Hal Morris. Snider entered law enforcement after his baseball career and spent time with the Mayfield Heights Police Department.
I thought this was the final player to complete the roster for 1988. After reviewing the list, however, I realized there are two more. So that will finish out the week nicely. Come back tomorrow for another guy who didn’t get a Reds card in 1988 Topps or Topps Traded.
Tim Birtsas arrived in Cincinnati as a part of the Jose Rijo/Dave Parker trade with the A’s. Fleer included him in their year-end Update set, but Score and Topps both focused on the big-name players in the trade. Birtsas played three years with the Reds and contributed a 3.86 ERA to the 1990 World Championship team.
Ron Roenicke bounced around quite a bit during his 8-year big league career, wrapping it up with 14 games in Cincinnati in May 1988. After finishing the season with the Reds’ AAA club, he moved on to Texas’ minor league system, but never again saw action in the majors as a player. From 2011-2015, Roenicke served as the Brewers’ manager.
Rob Dibble received the call to join the Reds in June 1988 and made a big impact in 37 games throughout the second half of the season. He struck out 59 batters in 59 1/3 innings, and Fleer and Score included the Nasty Boy in their year-end update sets. Topps, however, ignored the flamethrowing reliever since he didn’t play for the Yankees.
Randy St. Claire came to Cincinnati with Jeff Reed and Herm Winningham in exchange for Tracy Jones and Pat Pacillo. He only appeared in 10 games, and photos of the pitcher in a Reds uniform are next to impossible to find unless they appear on baseball cards. The photo I chose comes from the 1989 Upper Deck release.
St. Claire was released by the Reds in 1989 at the end of spring training and spent the next couple of years in the minor leagues before making it back to the bigs in 1991 with Atlanta.
Norm Charlton made his debut with the Reds on August 19, 1988, lasting only 2 and a third innings in a loss against the Cardinals. Charlton started ten games through the end of the season, then moved to the bullpen in 1989. During the Reds’ 1990 World Championship season, he split time between the starting staff and the Nasty Boys bullpen.
Fleer and Score fooled me on infielder Marty Brown. Fleer called him a “Prospect” along with Lenny Harris in 1989, while Score included him in their “Rising Stars” box set. His best minor league numbers, though, didn’t come until the 1990s, and he never made it back to the majors after brief stops in Cincinnati in 1988 and 1989 and Baltimore in 1990.
He also turned to coaching after his playing career ended, spending time with the Buffalo Bisons and the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. More recently, he served as the Nationals’ director of Pacific Rim scouting.
Leo Garcia did not have much of a major league playing career, hitting just .172 over two seasons with the Reds. His lone home run came in 1987 in a 21-6 win over the Braves. Garcia, however, has remained in baseball and is currently a coach for the Dodgers’ AA affiliate, the Tulsa Drillers.