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Happy Reds birthday, Jim O’Toole!

OToole

January 10, 1937

Jim O’Toole was the NL Player of the Month in Septemeber, 1961, on the strength of a 5-0 record and 2.54 ERA. The Reds faced off against the Yankees in the World Series that October, losing four games to one; in both games O’Toole started, Whitey Ford was his opponent (and the winner).

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Goodbye, Jim O’Toole

(January 10, 1937 – December 26, 2015)

OToole

Cincinnati Reds Hall of Famer and 1963 All-Star Jim O’Toole passed away today after battling kidney cancer. O’Toole compiled a 98-84 record with 1039 strikeouts in nine seasons with the Reds and one year with the White Sox.

Friday morning at #Fanfest (and don’t forget to #voteCueto before 4pm)

fanfest duke convention centerThe All-Star Game Fanfest has come to Cincinnati! My youngest son and I took a trip down the Duke Energy Convention Center for a couple of hours this morning to check things out, and had a blast!

This is the first time Cincinnati has hosted the All-Star Game in 27 years, and the Queen City is going all-out for this event. Everywhere you look you can see hints of the Midsummer Classic, from mustache statues to banners to pillbox hats and more. We had fun walking around looking for mustaches yesterday, finding eight of the twenty-one statues scattered about the area.

In 1988, Terry Steinbach connected for a home run off Dwight Gooden that proved to be all the American League needed to win the game. Hopefully, the National League can find a way to defeat them in 2015.

At the Fanfest, we got to meet a couple of American League mascots…

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I know there were more mascots there somewhere, but we didn’t see any as we roamed the three floors of activities. Speed pitch machines, batting cages, and stealing bases with Billy Hamilton were some of the activities that we enjoyed while we were there.

We also stopped by the Hall of Fame exhibit, all the way from Cooperstown…

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Some very cool jerseys on display, including Mike Schmidt and Nolan Ryan, two of the superstars of the game when I was my son’s age. We had a nice chat with the Hall of Fame representatives about Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., and Bob Gibson. They were friendly and really enjoyed talking about our national pastime.

We also stopped by the Topps booth, where we tossed some cornhole, and Derek picked up this sweet All-Star Game Gapper card…

gapper

We look at the autograph line for Rollie Fingers, and it was insanely long, so we skipped that. But Jim O’Toole‘s line was manageable, so we hopped in and snagged a couple signatures from the Reds great…

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fanfest

I’m looking forward to going back next week for some more Fanfest fun, and I can’t wait for the game Tuesday. It’s going to be a blast!

Four out of five Reds Hall of Fame bobbleheads announced

Sparky Anderson, Jim O’Toole, Eric Davis, and Barry Larkin will be the first four bobbleheads offered to Reds Hall of Fame visitors on select days this season. A photo of the Davis figure was posted on the Reds Hall of Fame Twitter account today…

Davis 44 bobblehead

Pretty nifty, eh?

Become a member of the best team Hall of Fame in the country! Details here!

Reds Hall of Fame Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday

The best team-specific museum in the world is hosting Fan Appreciation Day this coming Saturday, featuring discounts on admission, door prizes, and free autographs. There are also activities for kids who attend. The autograph schedule is below; visit the Reds Hall of Fame for more information on all activities.

OToole autograph

Autograph schedule:

Redsfest 2011: Jim O’Toole

Confession time: I really don’t know why I get Jim O’Toole‘s autograph each year.

Perhaps I’m just too lazy to walk to another line, or afraid the other lines are closed. The volunteers are instructed to cut it off at 225 fans. When you have over ten thousand people running around, 225 is not a lot.

I only had one O’Toole card, and ran out of time before making any customs for him. But Joshua brought a baseball with him, and we bought a $5 black and white 8×10 for Derek, so we all had something for him to sign.

At least he was on time this year.

Gypsy Queen – Jim O’Toole

I never got to see Jim O’Toole pitch…his career ended eight years before I was born. But I have met him at the Redsfest. I don’t really have much to say about him more than that. He wasn’t particularly friendly, nor was he unfriendly. He was there to sign autographs, and that is what he did. He had a 19-9 record for the pennant-winning 1961 Redlegs. The ’61 team will have a special exhibit at the Reds Hall of Fame this summer, and I’m sure you will see some photos pop up on this blog so you can experience it even if you live a thousand miles away.

I’m quite the idiot

In all my excitement, I neglected to check if I actually needed a 1960 Gordy Coleman card. As it turns out, I’ve already got one nuzzled in a binder in between a 1960 Chico Cardenas Rookie Stars and a 1962 Eddie Kasko.

So here we go again. If you have any Reds card that predates 1965, offer it up for my 1960 Gordy Coleman (it’s a rookie card!). The only cards I will not accept are:

1954 Ted Kluszewski
1957 Ted Kluszewski
1960 Chico Cardenas
1960 Gordy Coleman
1962 Eddie Kasko
1963 Sammy Ellis/Jesse Gonder/a couple of Phillies rookies
1963 Chico Cardenas
1965 Jim O’Toole

Those are the only Reds cards 1952-1965 that I already have. I checked this time.

UPDATE: Someone accepted my offer for a 1960 Bob Purkey. All is right in the universe.

2009 Redsfest!

Tonight my son and I went to the 2009 Redsfest, and we had a blast! We came away with autographs of Mario Soto, Leo Cardenas, Jim O’Toole, Chris Dickerson, Joey Votto, and Tom Browning. We also had fun visiting the different booths set up by the Reds Hall of Fame and other local organizations. Check out some of the photos below…

It’s no secret that Mario Soto is one of my favorite players of all-time, and he was the first table we hit at 4:00 when the doors opened. Joshua was armed with a 1986 Donruss card that he wanted signed…

…and I decided I wanted to get my 1986 Texas Gold card signed…

The next booth we hit was the Reds Hall of Fame, where Leo Cardenas and Jim O’Toole were signing…

Also hanging out in the Reds Hall of Fame area were some guys dressed kinda funny…

These guys actually play games by 1800s rules during the summer. We are planning to attend a game or two in 2010 (I didn’t find out about them until late 2009). Check out 1869reds.com for more information.

Chris Dickerson was in the “kids only” line at 5:15, but we didn’t bring any Dickerson cards with us.

Luckily, he was one of the special cards printed up by Topps just for the Redsfest, so Joshua got him to sign this limited edition card for him…

We got a whole set of these cards. I thought it was cool that they used the 2010 Topps design this year. Last year they used the 2008 design. I’ll post the rest from this year soon.

At 6:15 they had a special introduction at the main stage introducing several of the players, past and present, that were appearing at the Redsfest this year. Especially cool was the introduction of the 1990 World Series team, including now-Cubs manager Lou Piniella, Eric Davis, Barry Larkin and others. I’m uploading these introductions to Youtube and I will post them to the blog later.

Then it was time to wait…and wait…..and wait…….for Joey Votto. He was scheduled to sign at 8:15. We got in line around 7:00, and just barely got through in time.


(Joshua’s card)


(My card)

After we got our Votto sigs, we spied Tom Browning off in a corner signing some stuff. So we ventured over there and snagged a couple from Mr. Perfect…


(Joshua’s card)


(My card)

I thought it was cool of Browning to take time to sign these things even though it wasn’t his “official” time to do autographs. He was very friendly to everyone who asked as well.

The 2009 Redsfest was a lot of fun, and I look forward to going again next year!

Check out omgReds’ report on the event!

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