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There’s been an awakening. Have you felt it?

Don’t you just love it when old friends come home?

On July 31, 2015, Jim (better known as GCRL to many in the baseball card blogging community) made his final post on the Garvey Cey Russell Lopes blog. He had been an active blogger since September, 2008, and was a great trading partner. He continued trading after his blog went silent, but his wit has certainly been missed.

But not for much longer…

FrankenDodger

Mr. GCRL is returning in May with a brand new blog called FrankenDodger. I’m no Dodger fan, but I am a GCRL fan, so I will be following the new blog, and I can’t wait for the first official post.

To hold me over, Jim sent some Reds cards my way. A brand new card of the dearly departed Todd Frazier

Fraz

Some sticky non-cards of a former Red (Aroldis Chapman) and a maybe-soon-to-be-former Red (Jay Bruce)…

Topps stickers

A 19-year old card of Jeff Brantley, one of the Reds’ current announcers that I can’t stand to hear…

Brantley

Now, some of you young whipper snappers may not think getting a 19-year old card is all that special. But consider this: I started collecting in 1985. To get a 19-year old card then—a 1966 card—would have been something pretty spectacular. To get a 27-year old card would have been nearly unthinkable. I mean, 1958? That’s what dreams were made of…

Jim helped make my dreams come true, many years later. That’s not just a 27-year old card, man. That’s a 58-year old card, man! This Johnny Temple All-Star is my very first 1958 Topps Reds card. It’s not the oldest card in my collection, but it’s older than me!

I’m very happy to have these cards (and stickers) in my collection. I still haven’t had time to update the wantlists, but I will soon. Thanks Jim!

Fan vote for the Reds Hall of Fame ends tomorrow!

Who will get the call to join the Reds immortals next year? You get to help decide…but if you haven’t voted yet, your time is running short! Here is the quick rundown, along with some nice original “fun cards” submitted by TWJ contributor Patrick…

Ken Griffey Jr.

Griffey

Do I really need to tell you how awesome The Kid was? No, he didn’t produce as much as he did in Seattle, but man he was still great! 210 homers for the Reds, three times an All-Star and the team MVP in 2005. He hit home run #500 and #600 while playing with the Reds.

John Franco

Franco

The one I would have voted for if Griffey wasn’t on the ballot. He is third on the Reds all-time saves list and was selected for three All-Star Games while wearing the Cincinnati uniform. When Pete Rose called on the lefty, you knew the game was over and Marty would soon be screaming, “And this one belongs to the Reds!”

Danny Graves

Graves

I have come around on Graves a bit, and I hear he’s a really nice guy. And he’s on Twitter. He falls in behind Griffey and Franco for me, though. The all-time Reds saves leader, but in my mind not as valuable as Franco.

Reggie Sanders

Sanders

Sanders was a really good player, and if we were voting on their overall career (not just with the Reds) then he would be higher on my list. A 300 homer/300 stolen base guy, but didn’t really hit his stride until he left Cincinnati. He was chosen for Topps’ All-Star Rookie team in 1992.

Jeff Brantley

Brantley

Last and by far least, the current Reds broadcaster Brantley. Sorry, I just don’t understand why he is on the ballot. At all.

So what are you waiting for? Head on over to the official modern player ballot and cast your vote for who you think is the most deserving! In my opinion it’s no contest…

Griffey

Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame: The Fan Vote

Hall of FameAll this month, Reds fans can cast their ballots on who should be included in the team’s Hall of Fame Class of 2014. Five names are on the ballot, and each fan can vote once daily through the end of August. The players on the ballot are (alphabetically): Jeff Brantley, John Franco, Danny Graves, Ken Griffey Jr, and Reggie Sanders.

So who should get your support? I asked Nachos Grande‘s Chris and TWJ contributor Patrick to weigh in on this year’s ballot.

Chris responded:

Jeff Brantley: It’d be nice for Brantley to be inducted since he’s still so active with the Reds. However, there’s no way he deserves the nod over Franco (88 saves vs. 148 saves) or Graves (182 saves). Easiest player to eliminate from the ballot.

Jeff Franco: Franco excelled for the Reds during a time when the Reds were particularly putrid. He’s a bit before my time in terms of remembering him pitching so he’s harder for me to judge. Even so, I can’t put him in over Graves.

Danny Graves: If you go by the numbers (which I did while eliminating Franco from contention), then Graves seems like an automatic shoo-in. However, he suffers from personal memory – most notably his meltdown against the Cardinals. Graves may have racked up a boat load of saves but he was no more automatic than David Weathers (aka Stormy). Graves was decent, but not Hall worthy.

Reggie Sanders: Sanders was a solid player for a decent length of time. Unfortunately, it never rose above the “solid” level for any stretch of time. If I had to guess, I’d say Sanders gets the least amount of votes but if I could have two votes (rather than the allowed one vote), I’d case one for Sanders and the other for Griffey.

Ken Griffey Jr: Yep, Griffey gets my Hall vote. It’s easy to argue why he shouldn’t be in the Reds’ Hall of Fame, mostly because he was hurt all the time, didn’t live up to expectations, etc. While that’s true, it wasn’t his fault. Griffey, according to pretty much everyone, played the game of baseball clean while everyone else was juicing. Despite the pharmaceutical disadvantages, Griffey still produced 600 home runs (210 as a Red). Griffey was also the first move for the Reds in a slow march back to contender status (even if he didn’t get to play as a Red long enough to see the Reds reach the playoffs).

Patrick wrote:

At first glance it would appear to be an easy choice. To quote my 13 year old,” Well Duh Dad, Ken Griffey Jr. of course” I laughed and realized I am getting old as he didn’t know who the others were. He was confused when I told him about Brantley, ” You mean the announcer was a pitcher? He doesn’t sound like a baseball player” He asked me my choice and I told him I had to look at the numbers.

It was easy, in theory, to break it down to two choices. Select a pitcher, select an outfielder and put them head to head. I couldn’t be more wrong as they all seem worthy of selection.
Taking into consideration Jr’s injury plagued years, I still couldn’t select Sanders. Besides, I am still pained by Reggie’s playoff performance in 1995 (.138). Not very objective but it is my vote.

So Griffey gets the edge for the outfielder side of my “bracket”

Now onto the relievers….holy cow, how to break them down.

I will say that had the Reds kept Franco a couple of more years (2) he would be the overall hands down choice without question, at least from me. He would have over 200 saves and a world series ring. But alas things just are not that simple. Good thing Jeff Shaw didn’t have enough time to qualify as he would be in the mix. I think Shaw was the reason Brantley was edged out and Graves may have been one of a couple that prompted the Reds to trade their all star Selection (Shaw) before the all star game.

Back to the task at hand. Looking at just their summary on the Reds site I think they are very evenly matched. Except for save total which can be attributed to how many years they were with Reds. That is a variable that needs to be considered. However, longevity can get you high numbers without being more than average. So further exploration was required for me to decide this bracket.

Reds requirement is three years but I looked at their four best years since Brantley had four years and the others more. I didn’t crunch all of the numbers just the ones I thought I would need to cast my vote, very subjective but again it is my vote.

4 year Comp. G Sv Sv Opp Sv % K IP W-L
Brantley Total 185 88 105 .834 211 217 11-11
Avg 46.25 22 26.25. 52.75 54.1
Franco Total 272 132 160 .825 251 350 24-25
Avg 68 33 40 62.75 87.1
Graves Total 268 135 165 .834 200 338.2 24-19
Avg 67 33.75 41.25 50 84.2

This allowed me to eliminate Brantley. (I did look at just their 3 best years but it did not improve Brantley’s position) However, Franco and Graves are very evenly matched in my opinion. Do I extend it to 6 years? That is how many years Franco pitched. Fair? Perhaps not, as many players don’t get much time their first year. But Franco more or less hit the ground running so I think it is fair.

6 year Comp. G Sv Sv Opp Sv % K IP ERA W-L
Franco Total 393 148 184 .804 367 528.1 2.49 42-30
Avg 65.5 24.6 30.6 61.2 88.1
Graves Total 363 172 213 .808 277 468 3.48 33.27
Avg 60.5 28.6 35.5 46.1 78

Clear separation? Not exactly but I do see some light coming through.

So what did Graves do in his other 3 years? First year 1997 he came over from Cleveland and appeared in 10 games. There was the disastrous lets turn him into a starter (2003) and the next year 41 saves. His last year (2005) saved 10 of 12 before going to the Mets to finish out 2005. Incidentally, Franco left the Mets after 2004 and went to Houston for 2005.

So where does this leave me? I think I have to lean towards Graves. I have to consider all time team saves leader, the return to a solid closer after the starter debacle and, he did hit two home runs as a reliever, ok not very relevant but cool anyway.

After all of that I will say that at first glance I thought Franco was going to be the clear choice.

So now Graves or Griffey Jr.? They did play together for 5+ seasons. I am not sure I can really compare the two and decide who is more deserving. I will say the easy choice and most likely the popular choice is to follow my 13 year old and say well duh Griffey Jr.

So I will cast my vote for Danny Graves.

And now, my (much shorter) take (because I simply can’t top what Chris and Patrick have already written):

Seriously? The clear winner here is Ken Griffey Jr, with John Franco a distant second. I really wish I could vote for Franco, but I simply can’t do it with Junior on the ballot. Graves and Brantley don’t even register on the radar and it is somewhat a mystery to me how they are mentioned on the same ballot.

The voting procedure has changed from years past, when fans could vote for three players. Franco and Sanders got my vote two years ago when such was the case, along with Paul O’Neill. Sean Casey was the fan-voted inductee in 2012.

Now it’s up to you. Who gets your vote? Vote here and let us know who you selected!

The newest member of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame…

…will be announced at 4 pm today. Check out the official site and @redsmuseum on Twitter.

If it’s Jeff Brantley, I will be curled up in a fetal position somewhere. Don’t come looking for me.

My choices were John Franco, Reggie Sanders, or Paul O’Neill. All of them are absent from the list of attendees at this year’s Redsfest (but of course that can be updated after the announcement). Of all the names on the ballot, Brantley is the only one scheduled to appear (since he is a current broadcaster, not because he will be the fans’ 2012 inductee).

People, I really hope you did the right thing.

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