Lots of fun stuff going on the last couple of days in Cincinnati, as the Reds celebrated their Hall of Fame weekend. I, for one, really enjoyed watching the pre-game ceremony on Saturday, as the Reds honored 2008’s Reds HOF inductees: Joey Jay, Cesar Geronimo, Garry Herrmann, and Barry Larkin:

Fans’ respect for Larkin was apparent in the whistles and cheers that interrupted Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman’s introduction. After watching the 44-year-old’s playing highlights on the video board, the capacity crowd stood. Applause thundered….

“The hardest thing I had to do was leave, knowing that I wasn’t coming back,” Larkin said. “I never envisioned leaving Cincinnati at all, at any point in my career. That wasn’t part of the script. Growing up and playing here was about being here and being able to focus all my energies here.”

Added Larkin: “And unfortunately, we’ve had a hiccup for the last few years.”

In the pregame press conference, Larkin was asked if he had put more thought lately into returning to the Reds. “Oh, there’s been plenty of thought about coming back to the Reds. Just the opportunity hasn’t presented itself yet. I’ve been working with the Nationals for the last three years and my contract is up at the end of the year. So I’ll be a free agent,” Larkin said, smiling.

Bring Barry Back!

It was also good to see some of the other Reds Hall of Famers who attended the ceremony:

Jack Billingham, Johnny Bench, Tom Browning, Leo Cardenas, David Concepcion, Eric Davis, Wayne Granger, Tommy Helms, Jerry Lynch, Lee May, Gary Nolan, Jim O’Toole, Tony Perez and Mario Soto.

Wish I could have attended the Hall of Fame Gala.

Finally, since we’re talking about some of the best Reds of all-time, the Enquirer has put together an all-time Reds Gold Glove team. I can perhaps quibble with certain selections, but it’s a fun idea.

24 Responses

  1. Aeronaut

    Its a shame that after Barry’s tacky, interminable speech most of those cheers were about to turn to jeers

  2. Y-City Jim

    Couple questions:

    Is the team based only on players who played from 1957 on since that is when the award was established?

    How did the ranges of Concepcion and Larkin compare?

  3. Steve

    Yes, Y-City, Skinner says in the article that his picks are ’57 on only b/c of the establishment of the award at that time.

    That said, who might fit in over his choices if you included ALL Reds throughout history?

    Any suggestions?

  4. Mark in CC

    Joey Jay and Cesar Geronimo I thought were excellent and humbled by the whole thing. I think that should be the natural reaction.

    Unfortunate the festivities were cheapend a bit by Larkin as he plugged shoes and gloves. I know we were all heart broken the glove reps didn’t get there.

    With that kind of tacky promotion it is easy to see why he works well with old leatherpants.

    On the TV coverage the look on Bench’s face was great as Barry dragged on.

  5. Y-City Jim

    Steve, it gets more difficult as time goes on to select players that played during that first century of professional baseball. Today we see players in action every day of the season thanks to electronic media so that tends to prejudice us on their behalf.

  6. Y-City Jim

    Steve, it gets more difficult as time goes on to select players that played during that first century of professional baseball. Today we see players in action every day of the season thanks to electronic media so that tends to prejudice us on their behalf.

  7. gboll

    Luckily I was able to attend and I must say that after Barry’s speech it was great to see Dunn taking photos with his own camera and Brandon Phillips hug Barry and get pictures made. I think he was genuinely excited.

  8. Chad

    I really enjoyed the whole ceremony, as I said. But I have to agree that Larkin’s speech was a complete disaster. Just terrible, but we still love the guy.

    And, yes, the look on Bench’s face was priceless. My wife and I laughed out loud at that one.

  9. Steve

    Well, after finally seeing most of Larkin’s speech (as opposed to just the soundbites), uh…..ow.

    Love Barry and all, but now I can see why he probably didn’t get too many national endorsements after all (whether he supposedly preferred a low profile or not).

    Kind of made me think of Rocky Balboa trying to do those commercials in Rocky II all those years ago – the difference being that Larkin is literate! Just doesn’t project well as public speaker – at all.

    Ah well, as someone mentioned the other day, hopefully it will be a lessoned learned for the BIG speech we hope he’ll be giving sometime down the road.

  10. pinson343

    I like the Gold Glove award selections. It’s hard to choose between Larkin and Concepcion. She very properly had Vada Pinson at the top of the list of outfielders, he’s the best defensive outfielder the Reds ever had. In today’s world, with ESPN web gems, he’d be a celebrity. Back then of course Wille Mays (and Mantle) got all the publicity.

  11. pinson343

    I didn’t hear Larkin’s speech. I did suffer thru Jounior’s awkward speech in Seattle last year. So who’s the worse public speaker, Barry or Junior ?


  12. Steve

    No bias there, pinson343?

    Ha-ha! No, actually my dad (who grew up in Pinson’s prime) says the same thing about him, too, and was in general agreement with the selections overall.

  13. pinson343

    Steve, Of course I’m not biased ! Seriously anyone who saw Pinson play marveled at his defense. He had great speed and knew how to get a great jump on a fly ball. In the late 80’s/early 90’s the Mets hired him to try to teach Howard Johnson how to get a jump on a fly ball (whe they tried converting HoJo to outfield).

    Earlier you asked about pre-1957 Reds. Ed Roush was a great all around player, including a great outfielder. Ed McMillan in the mid 50’s was a great defensive SS.

  14. pinson343

    I’m not sure about Joe Morgan at 2nd base, it’s hard to say. Skinner mentions Tommy Helms, Pokey Reese, and Brandon Philipps. There was also Johnny Temple in the 50’s, who with Ed McMillan made for one of the great double play combos in Reds history.

  15. jimredsfan

    Vada Pinson, 2757 hits, why he isn’t in the hall is because he didn’t play in New York!! Also was a class guy. It was Roy, not Ed McMillan. Go Reds!!!!

  16. pinson343

    Of course it was Roy McMillan, sorry on that one.

  17. Steve

    Again, about my dad, who was watching throughout the 50’s and 60’s, has always gushed about the McMillan – Temple combo.

    In fact, Temple is his favorite player. jimredsfan, you sure you’re not my dad on here? My dad’s name is Jim!

  18. jimredsfan

    Sorry Steve, I’m not your Dad, I grew up in Washington state, got to see Pinson at 19 playing for Seattle Rainiers!! My favorite team was 1956 Reds with Big Klu,Wally Post, and Gus Bell on the cover of Sports Illustrated!! loved those guys!!

  19. pinson343

    I became a Reds fan in ’55, at the age of 4. Johnny Temple was my first ever favorite player. The ’56 Reds were great.

  20. jimredsfan

    Hey pinson343, after they traded Big Klu, Temple became my favorite. Met him in Seattle in 58, when Reds where here playing the Rainiers. Nice guy!!

  21. Mark in CC

    As someoned who watched Pinson play I disagree with the Web Jem thing. He wouldn’t have made many because he made the tough plays look efortless. I don’t think I ever saw him layout. The same was said about Joe D. in NY. Vada could go up the terrace and make catch like it was flat ground.

  22. pinson343

    jimredsfan, You met Johhny Temple, wow !
    Also it must have been amazing, watching Pinson play at the age of 19.

  23. pinson343

    Mark in CC, You’re right in that Pinson was very graceful and would make difficult plays look easy. But he would also make spectacular plays, I saw him make several against the Mets. There was a diving catch he made to rob Willie Stargell that had the baseball world buzzing. Stargell was a friend of his but said he would pinch his head off.

  24. jimredsfan

    I watched Pinson in 58 for the Seattle Rainiers, he hit over 350 for the season. you could tell he was something special, boy was he fast!! Sort of just glided over the field. As for Temple, got to talk to him behind home plate at old Sick’s Stadium in 58 for about 5 minutes. talked about the pennant race, Reds were only 3 out in second place at the time. He even signed a picture from Sport magazine for me. Was great meeting all the 50’s players. the special ones were, Don Hoak, Brooks Lawrence, Joe Nuxhall,George Crowe and Don Newcombe. All were very accomadating, except one Frank Robinson.