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The weekend is made for fun

If you are a student (which I’m not), or if you work a “regular” job (which I don’t), then you probably look forward to each Friday. For me, as a 911 dispatcher that works 12 hour night shifts, it’s every other weekend that I look forward to. I actually love the schedule because of all the time off we get. When I don’t have any overtime, I only work half the days in a given month. One week I only work Wednesday and Thursday; the next week I only have off those two days.

In general, though, for most people, Friday is the goal each week. “If I can just make it to Friday, then I can have some fun.” Maybe that’s what Upper Deck had in mind in 1992 when they released “Fun Packs.”

Okay, probably not.

I picked up the Reds team set from the 1992 series from Matt of Red Cardboard a few weeks ago. He’s decluttering, jettisoning much of his non-vintage, non-Topps-flagship Reds collection. If you’re in the market for some Reds goodies, check out his list and shoot him a message.

Let’s take a quick look at the 1992 Fun Pack Reds cards.


Barry Larkin looks like he just got a base hit…maybe one of his 441 doubles. That’s fun.


Bret Boone in Spring Training. Trying to make the team. I hope he was having fun, but probably not. Rookies are under a lot of pressure. Plus, it looks like he wore #5? Johnny Bench‘s number was retired by the Reds shortly after his retirement. Maybe this was a minor league game instead of Spring Training. The uniform pants look a bit different, and the red helmet and jersey may be a little darker than what Cincinnati wore.


Willie Greene looks like he’s concentrating hard on a high bouncer. Concentrating is not necessarily fun.


Jose Rijo peers into Joe Oliver for the sign. Fastball? Curve? He doesn’t look like he’s not having fun, but doesn’t look like he is having fun either.


Finally…THIS is a picture of a ballplayer having FUN! Reggie Sanders yucking it up as he plays catch. Look at that smile. Sanders had a fine major league career with 305 home runs and 304 stolen bases. For a long time he was one of only four players in the 300/300 club, with Willie Mays, Andre Dawson, and Bobby Bonds. I’m sure that club has grown exponentially since I first learned that fact, but it’s still fun to think of Sanders in a club with a couple of Hall of Famers.

I’m off work this weekend. I got home early this morning, went to bed, and tonight I’m to catch Avengers: Endgame with my youngest son. We love going to the movies together. It’s fun. I am going to miss having a movie partner when he goes off to college in just over a year.

Flu, flu, go away


I intended to post these cards last week. They have been in my possession for ten days, thanks to Twitter trader and Yankee fan @Molorange . But last week the flu hit me, and it hit me hard. I didn’t want to look at a baseball card or do much on the computer. I have finally turned the corner, and I’m ready to show off a few highlights.

In addition to the stack of Billy Hamilton above, Joe hit me with some ugly ’90s cards. I don’t understand the love for Bowman’s Best. Neither does Pokey Reese.


Nor do I get the love for Leaf cards. These cards are just awful. Don’t believe me? Just ask Pete Schourek.


Well, not all Leaf cards are awful. Leaf Preferred cards look pretty cool. Reggie Sanders always looks cool.


Thankfully, we left much of the hideousness of the 1990s behind when we entered the 21st century. Check out these sweet cards of Hall of Famer Tony Perez.

Gypsy Queen Perez

Cooperstown Perez

I miss Johnny Cueto. Can you imagine how much of a threat the Reds could be if they still had the starting pitchers of a few years ago?


Thank you for the Reds cards, Joe. Sorry it took so long to post them.

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.


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


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


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 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


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…


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.

Rock the Vote for the @RedsMuseum

You can help choose the next #Reds Hall of Fame inductee! The ballot of eight names has been released, and you can vote up to 25 times (per e-mail address) for your favorite three. Who will it be?

  • Jeff Brantley – aka “Cowboy” to those who watch the Reds on Fox Sports Ohio. He’s a decent broadcaster, and was good on the mound, but to me he just doesn’t scream “Hall of Famer!”…even if it’s only a team HOF.
  • Sean Casey – aka “The Mayor.” Probably the favorite to win the fan vote, a very popular guy and deserving of recognition…eventually. I didn’t vote for him this time, as I think there are others more deserving.
  • John Franco – aka “he doesn’t have a nickname, not even on” I thought this guy was going to be a NBHOF back when he was with the Reds, but then he got traded to the Mets and I’m not sure what happened to him after that. He was definitley a premier closer his first five or six years in the league, and he’s got my vote for 2012.
  • Danny Graves – aka “Wildman really doesn’t like this guy.” I’m not sure why, but I found it amusing how Wildman Walker (a radio personality for the rock station WEBN in Cincinnati) would rant and rave about Graves when I first moved back to the area a few years ago. I’m not even sure what he did to enrage the Wildman, but it was fun to hear him go on and on and on about it. Graves actually does have a nickname on b-r…”Baby-faced Assassin.” How cute. He didn’t get my vote.
  • Hal Morris – no nickname. Morris came to the Reds in a trade with the Yankees for Tim Leary. While with the Yankees, Morris wore five different uniform numbers. With the Reds, he was #23. I was close to voting for Hal, as he was a really good hitter. But I didn’t.
  • Paul O’Neill – aka “The Warrior.” Who gave him that nickname, and who has ever heard him called that? It’s no secret that I am not a fan of Paul O’Neill, even before he went to New York. However, he got my vote for the Reds Hall of Fame. He was a big part of the 1990 World Champion team, especially in the NLCS against the Pirates. He kinda tanked in the actual Series. And really his stats may not merit induction…only 96 homers, .259 average for the Reds. But he did have that awesome kick to first base…man, I wish I could find that video on YouTube.
  • Reggie Sanders – aka “The Next Eric Davis.” That was the hype when he came up, that Reggie would be what Eric Davis was supposed to be. He may not have been that great, but he was pretty good. He is one of only seven guys in history to hit 300 home runs and steal 300 bases. Of course not all of that was with the Reds, but that’s where he got his start, and that’s why he got my vote.
  • Scott Sullivan – um…I’m stumped on this one, honestly. The ballot blurb says “Ranks second on Reds all-time list for most games pitched; first pitcher to lead Major Leagues in relief innings pitched in four straight seasons, 1998-2001; named Reds Outstanding Pitcher in 2001.” No way is this guy getting more than 25 votes…unless his mom has two e-mail addresses.

Where is Rob Dibble? Norm Charlton? Nothing personal against Sullivan, but he doesn’t hold a candle to either of those Nasty Boys.

If you want to vote, head on over to this site and punch your ballot. Remember you can choose three names and you can vote 25 times per e-mail address. If you don’t know who to vote for, let me encourage you to pick John Franco, Reggie Sanders, and Paul O’Neill (in that order).

Trading with Chewing Liquorice

I recently completed a trade with Chewing Liquorice. For a stack of Expos, he sent back a treasure trove of Reds cards, many of which I had never seen, including a ton of Conlon cards from 1992-1994. This one commemorates one of Johnny Vander Meer‘s no-hitters…

These cards are fantastic as they help to keep the old stories alive, allowing us to learn about players that we never had the privilege to see.

There were a lot of other historical cards in the bunch, too. There were some 1991 Topps Archives, which were reprints of the 1953 Topps set. And some reprints of the 1954 Topps set, which I assume were released in 1992. They are not on my master checklist, so I will have to research them a little bit more to find out for sure, but they are exactly like the 1991 reprint set with glossy cardstock. Here’s the Ed Bailey card from that set:

All of the old players weren’t on newer or reprinted cards, though. Geoffrey threw in some fantastic vintage cards of Reds Hall of Famers and Baseball Hall of Famers, such as Wally Post, Frank Robinson, Vada Pinson, and an O-Pee-Chee Joe Morgan:

So many cool cards were in this package, I can’t even begin to show them all. Buddy Bell, Ted Kluszewski, Reggie Sanders

I don’t remember the Action Packed baseball cards at all!

And a whole slew of George Foster awesomeness…

That last item is particularly cool. The Ted Williams Company made pogs that you could punch out and included them in their baseball card packs. This is something I have never seen before…but that just goes along with the rest of the package!

There was a lot of other great stuff in the package, from Johnny Bench to Joe Nuxhall to Ernie Lombardi to Barry Larkin…love it, love it, love it!

If you have some Expos to get rid off, you need to contact Chewing Liquorice and work out a deal. He’s a great trader!

Baseball in December!

They’re not on the field…they’re in the mail! GCRL sent over a nice stack o’ Redlegs, and will be receiving some Bluelegs (aka Dodgers) in return very soon. Here are some of the highlights (for me, at least)…

Jack Armstrong was selected to start the 1990 All-Star game at Wrigley Field on the strength of 11 first-half wins. He finished the season with 12 wins. Whoops! Oh well, the Reds still won the World Series in ’90 thanks to…

Jose Rijo. His dominance over the heavily favored Oakland A’s set the stage for the Reds’ sweep. Only 1 earned run allowed in 15 innings, a spectacular 0.59 ERA for the Series. He was deservingly named the MVP of the World Series.

Another starting pitcher in the rotation that years for the Reds was Tom Browning, but his best year by far was his 1985 rookie campaign, when he became the first pitcher since the 60s to win 20 games in a season. Had it not been for Vince Coleman‘s fleet feet, Browning would have easily walked away with the Rookie of the Year award. This card is actually a box bottom, which makes it extra-cool.

Barry Larkin had a good 1990 also, selected to his third straight All-Star game and winning his third Silver Slugger award behind a .301 batting average. In 1995, Larkin won the NL MVP, the last Red to accomplish that feat until…

Joey Votto took 31 of 32 first-place votes to win the NL MVP in 2010. Before Votto and Larkin there was…

George Foster. He had a monster 1977 season, but he didn’t run away with the award like Votto did. Greg Luzinski came in second that year. The first-place voting was Foster 15, Luzinski 9. 1977 was the sixth (and final) time a Cincinnati player won in the 1970s (Bench x2, Morgan x2, Rose and Foster). Who will be the next Cincinnati player to get that hardware? Could it be…

Jay Bruce? Not yet an All-Star, or even a Gold Glover, the young right fielder took his potential to the bank this off-season. The Reds signed him to a 6-year, $51 million contract (with a club option on a 7th year). Smart move? Only time will tell.

GCRL also included this pretty shiny refractory Bruce in the package. It’s cool to see these cards in person…the scan doesn’t do them justice at all.

Speaking of youngsters looking for hardware, it would be cool to see Johnny Cueto (or Edinson Volquez or Aroldis Chapman or Mike Leake) collect a Cy Young award one of these days.

Did you know that Reggie Sanders is one of only seven players to hit 300 home runs and steal 300 bases in his career? Can you name the other six?

But wait…that’s not all!

Oh my! O-Pee-Chee cards too!

The highlight of the box for me, though, was one of my “most wanted” cards…a 2005 Chris Sabo Topps Rookie Cup card. Cross that one of my list…

Those were not the only cards in the box…just a very small sampling of what GCRL sent my way. Thanks for the great box GCRL! Hope you like your cards when they arrive as well!

NOW…who’s next? What’s your favorite team? If you want to do a blind trade, just let me know!

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