Reds - General

What’s the most memorable Reds game you’ve attended?

It’s a fun question to ponder, but settling on an answer was harder than I expected. I’ve never witnessed a no-hitter or perfect game, never seen someone homer four times or collect hit #4,192, and never experienced division-clinching walk-off heroics. After mentally rewinding through three decades of fandom (and taking a quick glance through some ticket stubs I’ve saved since childhood), however, I was able to single out five of the dozens of Reds games I’ve attended across six states over the years.

#5: Reds 4, Tigers 3 (Plant City Stadium, Plant City, Fla., March 20, 1989)

As a 10-year-old fourth-grader vacationing in Florida over spring break, I cared little about theme parks or the beach. Instead, all I wanted to do was visit Plant City, where the Reds trained at the time. After two years of watching the team on TV as often as I could, this was my first chance to see my heroes in person. That said, you’d think I’d be able to remember something about the game – in which, according to the Enquirer archives, Terry McGriff homered and Scott Scudder pitched five shutout innings – but all I can recall is sitting in the bleachers (ticket price: $4) to the right of right field and being disappointed that all the players I knew and loved were removed after a few innings of play. (Apparently I didn’t quite understand how spring training worked at the time.) Still, it was my very first Reds game, so I’d feel silly not including it here.

Side note: as I searched for information about this game, I discovered it took place the same day that the Commissioner’s office announced a “full inquiry into ‘serious allegations’” (UPI) regarding the rumored gambling habits of then-manager Pete Rose.

#4: Reds 3, Dodgers 1 (Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, Calif., Aug. 20, 2010)

Anyone who followed the Reds during the “aughts” won’t need me to remind them how miserable it was to be a fan during that decade. Believe it or not, it was even worse being a Reds fan here in Los Angeles, where they didn’t win a game for five full years. Accordingly, I was terrified when the team came to town in August of 2010 with just a 3.5-game division lead. Even though they were riding a six-game winning streak at the time, after a 15-year postseason drought, I didn’t want to witness the rupture that would precipitate their collapse.

I don’t remember Brandon Phillips going 3-for-5 with 3 RBI. I don’t recall Homer Bailey pitching seven innings of four-hit ball, or Arthur Rhodes mowing down the Dodgers in the 8th as he did with most every team that year. I remember the 9th inning like it was yesterday, though. The Reds were up by two, and I was convinced they’d find a way to choke. Even though he had 32 saves at that point, Francisco Cordero had blown six others and sported an ERA of nearly 4. As I held my sleeping 1-year-old son, I paced the top deck of Dodger Stadium nervously and watched Cordero settle in to face the heart of the L.A. order. I cheered as quietly as I could after he struck out James Loney to start the inning, but cursed like a sailor (albeit in whispers) when he gave up a single to Matt Kemp. Here it comes, I told myself.

I was wrong. On a 1-1 pitch, Casey Blake hit a weak grounder to Paul Janish, who proceeded to turn a 6-4-3 double play. Game over. I couldn’t believe it – the five-year L.A. losing streak was history, and even better, the Reds had won their season-high seventh in a row. Naturally, they dropped the next game, but when they won the getaway rubber match, I felt confident they’d hold on to win the Central.

#3: Reds 2, Mets 1 (Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio, July 15, 1990)

The summer after fifth grade, I took my first trip to Riverfront. After a 9-0 start, the Reds were cruising in the NL West and held a 7.5-game lead when I arrived in town on July 14 to see Jack Armstrong’s first appearance since starting for the National League in the All-Star Game.

During the first half, Armstrong lived up to his name, going 11-3 with a 2.28 ERA – but by the end of the second half (during which he went 1-6), he had lost his spot in the Reds’ starting rotation. It seems my maiden game at Riverfront was the beginning of the end for Armstrong, who was roughed up for five runs over 3+ innings as the Reds fell to the Mets, 6-3.

The following day’s script had a happier ending. As I wrote last week, during the second half of the 1990 season, Nasty Boy Norm Charlton was a key member of the starting rotation. I saw the first of 16 games he started that year, a remarkable 14 of which were “quality.” Against the Mets, he pitched six shutout innings and gave up only two hits before turning the game over to his fellow Nasties Rob Dibble and Randy Myers. Even better, both Reds runs were driven in by my favorite player, Eric Davis, who doubled twice.

I proceeded to take annual road trips to Cincinnati during subsequent summers, but none were as special as my initial visit. And even though I realize Riverfront wasn’t exactly an architectural jewel, it always felt like heaven to me.

#2: Reds 5, Giants 2 (AT&T Park, San Francisco, Calif., Oct. 6, 2012)

In my opinion, there isn’t a more magical word in sports than “postseason.” Unfortunately, things haven’t gone too well for the Reds after game #162 ever since they swept the Dodgers in the 1995 NLDS, during which time they’ve compiled a playoff record of 2-11 – but I’m proud to say I witnessed both of those wins.

I entered the Giants’ online postseason ticket lottery with multiple e-mail addresses, and luckily enough, one was chosen. I purchased standing room only tickets for both games – I figured I’d be too nervous to sit anyway – and for Game 1, I found a spot with a great view on the lower level right next to the press box and settled in to watch Johnny Cueto go to work.

During the 2012 regular season, the Reds’ five starting pitchers didn’t miss a single start. The injury bug struck with a vengeance in game #163, though, as after just eight pitches, Cueto exited the game with a strained back muscle. My heart sank, but I still remember the chills I felt when I saw Mat Latos jump up in the dugout and essentially will himself into the game. After Sam LeCure got the Reds through the second, Latos pitched four strong innings, yielding only one run via a Buster Posey solo shot.

From there, Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton did their jobs in the 7th and 8th, but when Aroldis Chapman came on in the 9th, it seemed like it was all for naught. Chapman was clearly in Wild Thing form as he yielded a single, threw a wild pitch and walked two batters, loading the bases with one out for the enormous Pablo Sandoval.

I’m convinced that if Sandoval had connected squarely on a Chapman fastball, it would still be in orbit today. Mercifully, he popped out to second instead. The bases were still loaded, though, and Posey came to the plate with a chance to tie the game. We learned a few days later what he could do in such situations, but tonight, following another Chapman wild pitch that trimmed the Reds’ lead to three, he struck out swinging.

I couldn’t tell you one thing the Reds did on offense that night, nor do I remember much of Bronson Arroyo’s excellent performance in following day’s victory. I still clearly recall, however, the devastation of watching Cueto exit the game, the terror of seeing Sandoval stare down a vulnerable Chapman and the jubilation of witnessing the Reds’ first postseason victory in 17 years.

#1: Reds 5, Nationals 2 (Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., April 28, 2013)

It seems like an eternity ago, but in 2013, Tony Cingrani was one of the Reds’ top starting pitchers. As I mentioned in a piece earlier this year, I watched him throw the best-pitched game I’ve ever seen in person that July – seven shutout innings against a formidable Dodgers team (who were in the midst of an incredible 46-10 hot streak) in which he struck out 11 while giving up just one hit and one walk.

Cingrani also struck out 11 when I saw him toss six scoreless innings against the Nationals in April, a game in which Phillips and Zack Cozart each drove in a pair of runs. This game isn’t special to me because of anything that took place on the field, though. I was in D.C. to visit my father, and this marked the first game I saw with him since the Plant City exhibition 24 years earlier. Even better, my then-4-year-old son was by my side as well. I sometimes question why I spend so much time obsessing over rich grown men playing a child’s game, but on that day, baseball meant something more. In fact, it’s irrelevant who won or lost any of the games on this list, as the memories are what truly matter.

Honorable mention: Dodgers 6, Reds 5 (Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, Calif., May 19, 2008)

On paper, it’s an unmemorable game amid an unmemorable season. In reality, it’s a game that always makes me smile whenever I think back on it.

David Weathers blew a combined 13 saves for Cincinnati in 2006 and 2007, and by the time the Reds visited L.A. in early 2008, he’d already given up 7 runs, 18 hits and 9 walks in just 14 innings. To put it mildly, I was not a fan of “Stormy” or his inability to cleanly close out a game, but at Dodger Stadium, he made it seem as if I could predict the future.

At the time, I worked with some Taiwanese clients who were well-known in their native country and temporarily working in Los Angeles. After reaching out to the Dodgers’ PR department, I arranged for them to meet L.A. pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo (who was also from Taiwan) prior to the first of a three-game series against the Reds. It was a thrill to be on the field at Dodger Stadium, even if I was admittedly more interested in the occupants of the visitors’ dugout.

Before we went to our seats, I pointed out a large Reds pitcher warming up nearby. I told my clients that the Reds would likely jump out to an early lead and gradually give it up, and that this particular pitcher – Weathers – would be the final straw. (As mentioned above, Cincinnati routinely lost at Dodger Stadium during this time frame. I’d seen this movie a few times before.)

My clients – who had never previously attended a major league game – chuckled as a 4-0 Reds lead quickly turned into a 5-5 tie. They laughed harder as Weathers was called in to pitch the ninth, just as I’d predicted. When he gave up a bases-loaded walk-off single five batters later, they were in tears. Even I had to laugh at the absurdity of it all.

132 thoughts on “What’s the most memorable Reds game you’ve attended?

  1. 1. 4192! Flew from south-central Pennsylvania to meet my parents, who drove to Cincinnati. Had to call my boss to request an unpaid day off as Pete did not get a hit the night before.

    No particular order (Our family vacations from 1968 thru 1975 were going to Cincinnati from PA to see the Reds).

    – Crosley Field, 1968, after a 10 hour drive from PA. I was 11 years old and I told Pete Rose I was going to take his place someday and he said to me “I hope not sunny!”

    – #3000, I was going to Ohio U at the time.

    – Early to mid 70’s saw Hal Kings pinch hit grand slam to propel comeback against the hated Dodgers to win the division that year.

    – Games 1 and 2 of the 1990 World Series. Unfortunately on the other end of the scale games 3, 4, and 5 losing to the SF Giants.

    • That’s quite the list. My dad did 3000 and we did 4192 but I was just seven and remember mostly the reds sports car coming in from the outfield gate! I remember my dad telling me that we had tickets for tomorrow but he would probably get the record today. The next day he was ecstatic and I quite didn’t understand why but he told me Pete didn’t get a hit and he may have even said he went O-fer four. if he did then perhaps my memory is not as flawed as it normally is!

      Also was at game 3 and the sense of foreboding and not wanting to be a jinx made me abstain from 4 and 5 – a lot of good it did.

  2. September 26th, 1999. Reds were in the throes of the home stretch trying to make the playoffs. They went down by one in the 12th inning, and then Pokey Reese hit a walk off 3 run home run to win the game and pull them into a tie for the division with Houston. I don’t think I’ve ever been at a baseball game where the crowd went so crazy, before or since.

    Reds pitchers that day – Juan Guzman, Scott Sullivan, Dennys Reyes, Danny Graves, and Scott Williamson. Man, do those names bring back memories.

  3. I’ve been to many good games, but not a lot of memorable ones that have stuck with me. Too young to remember the last World Series team outside of Larkin.

    Tigers @ Reds in June of 2012. I think it was Valdez that had the safety bunt to score Miguel Cabrera from third in a walk-off safety squeeze victory. My first ever walk-off game and in anunusual fashion – definitely remember that one.

      • Good call. Subconscious took over and only hoped he was a part of that team to take us to the promise land that year.

  4. Three games I was fortunate enough to attend.

    1. Game 6 at Fenway when Fisk hit the home run. Absolutely broke my heart.
    2. Game 5 of the 1972 playoffs. Skipped basketball practice and had to run my ass off. So worth it.
    3. Right after we moved to Atlanta in the early 80″S. Braves did not draw at all. Could always move down right by the dugout. Was in front row by the dugout when huge brawl broke out. Lasted at least ten minutes. Got phone calls the entire next day from friends back in Cincinnati telling me I was on the tube for at least five minutes. Hilarious. Great night.

  5. My first, June 21, 1964 at Crosley Field. My reaction was WOW! when I saw a major league field for the first time, as my uncle, cousin and I walked to our seats on the first base side near the Red’s dugout. I was disappointed that Rose wasn’t in the lineup, but he pinch hit later in the game. A guy named Koufax started for the Dodgers. Reds lost 4-2.

    Game #2, June 22, 1964. Players named Mays and McCovey helped the Giants defeat the Reds 6-2. Rose went 1 for 4.

    I still remember the smell from the stock yards on the way to Crosley.

  6. I was born in 1996, so I can only very clearly remember games since 2005.

    1. The Adam Dunn game against the Indians June 30, 2006

    2. Brandon Phillips’ walkoff homer against the Cardinals where he spun around first base

    3. Ryan Ludwick’s afternoon walkoff homer against the Cardinals

  7. That’s a toughy… I’ve gone to tons of games and have never seen a truly historic event. I would say best overall game was Game 3 of the inaugural (1995) NLDS when the Reds clinched big-time over the Dodgers. Don’t recall the score but it wasn’t close. I was in the lower-red seats, 2nd row, right behind home plate. That ticket was $25 I believe. I think it I still have the ticket stub.

    My first trip to Wrigley was pretty memorable. The Reds beat the Cubs that day during a horrible heat-wave in Chicago. This game would not have been even in my top 10 if it were not for one event. We were sitting pretty much right next to the Cubs bullpen and before the game, I got HoF pitcher Ferguson Jenkins’ autograph on my stub and got to have a short conversation with him. I know I still have that stub. I like autographs.

  8. June 7 1975 was my first game. I was 8. Riverfront looked huge to a kid. I still have scorecard. My dad taught me to keep score. We beat Cubs. Billingham pitched. Perez was the only member of the great 8 not to play. Driessen played that day.
    Other games that stick out. 1990 rain shortened loss to Padres. We clinched division. During rain delay Dodgers lost there game. Players came out to celebrate with fans who stayed.
    Was at a DH against cards. Reds won first game in extras something like 14-13 I believe Reggie Sanders got game winning hit. Game 2 Mark Whitten hit 4 HRs drove in 13.
    Saw Seaver vs. Carlton and Seaver vs. Ryan games.
    Saw Dunn hit a walkoff vs. Cleveland not the grand slam but a year after the slam.
    Saw Soto one hit the Braves on the final day of season. Something like 16 Ks. Only hit was a infield single by slowest runner on the Braves. Chris Chambliss.

  9. I still kick my self for not getting scalper seats for 90 series. Now the average working man couldn’t afford a world series ticket if/when we make it back.
    I would have loved to saw a game in crosley but I was born just a little too late.

    • Crosley Field or Redland Field, as it was called before Powell Crosley bought the Reds in the 1930’s, was not the easiest place to get to and parking was usually difficult to find. But it was intimate and it had a lot of charm.

  10. I was a child at the time so i dont remember the date or even the year,think it might have been 1987 but not sure. The game at Riverfront against the Cardinals when Eric Davis robbed Jack Clark of a sure homerun by timing his leap and his glove went over the wall to snag one. It was great because my hatred of the Cards was smaller then but intact and growing. On a side note,im 43 now and i have watched Reds baseball my entire life and saw better hitters,faster runners and unbelievable defenders but Eric Davis was the best all around player i have ever seen.

    • 38 and I felt the same. They guy was electric and so fun to watch as a kid. E.D. was a cool nickname then before big pharma ruined it!

      I also remember thinking the Reds would probably lose the WS when he was injured on that diving catch attempt.

      • Yeah for about 5 or 6 years he was the greatest player in baseball and there was nobody even a close second. Too bad Cincinnati was not prime time enough for him and he went to L.A.,didnt work out to well for him but thats the nature of the game after free agency. My favorite players were always homegrown Reds like Rose,Larkin and Votto,guys the Reds had from day one and came up through the minor league system. I do have a soft spot for Griffey Jr though cause not many superstars like him would want to come to Cincy to play for the Reds. If Davis would have stayed with the Reds and remained healthy there is no doubt in my mind he would have went to Cooperstown. Thanks for being a great Red and all the childhood baseball memories.

        • Not to nitpick, but Davis was traded to LA for Tim Belcher if I remember correctly. He didn’t leave as a free agent.

          • That’s correct… It was apparently Belcher and Wetteland for Davis and Gross. Davis then resigned with the Dodgers that off-season (source: Baseball-reference.com)

          • Davis is from LA and wanted to be traded,he had already told the Reds he was leaving when he became a free agent. Every team trades a guy they cant resign,better to get something for them than just let em walk.

    • Definitely one of the best all-around players I’ve ever seen. A five-tool player who had all 5 tools become powerful weapons.

  11. I am not looking it up so I can tell this one unadulterated. Pete was going to break the record in 1985, I was 6 or 7. He had already tied it, I think, and everyone fought over tickets the next night. Pete went 0-4 or some such and we were lucky enough to have tickets for the night following. Whether it was my dad, or the crowd, or just the ambiance in general – the intensity of the moment allowed me to remember the little bloop single followed by the din of the crowd and fireworks and a red Corvette on the field. After that I remember thinking it was rather boring due to a lot of talking. And after that memory escapes me!

    I know 100,000+ claim to have been at that game but the Reds were the one thing my dad splurged on when he was struggling to start is own veterinary practice. Without fail we did Opening Days and maybe two other games a year from Lebanon. Anytime there was something momentous he’d find the money. That was one occasion and playoff game in 1990 against the Pirates (I honestly don’t remember which) was another that stand out.

    I actually wrote my college entrance exam on the memory.

  12. Opening Day, April 1974. I was a freshman @ XU. The day after tornadoes flew around Cincinnati and tore up half of Xenia. Hank Aaron hits 714 off Jack Billingham. My brother and a couple of his friends had come in from South Bend and one was a huge photography nut. He took pictures, including one as the 714 ball flew over the left center wall at Riverfront, which I still have to this day. Reds still won. What a great day!

  13. Three that came to mind first:

    April 10, 1973, Easter Weekend came down from college at BGSU. Friday night student night. They delayed the start of the game because of the huge walk-up crowd that night. Hank Aaron hit a HR, Pete Rose made a headfirst slide, Johnny Bench threw out a base stealer, Bobby Tolan made a great catch in CF. Reds won. First time in I had ever been to Cincinnati (I’m from Upstate NY originally).

    June 8 & 9 1987. Eric Davis robbed Jack Clark of a HR on consecutive nights on almost identical plays. Eric the Red was my favorite player (and still is). I was sitting behind home plate for both games.

  14. Only been to a handful of games, my first one June 23 1971. Rick Wise hit two homers off of Grimsley and Carrol.

  15. Lifelong Reds fan since the mid 70’s but had never been to a game in Cincinnati.
    7/15/2011 me and my boy made the 11 hour journey for a 3 game series vs the cardinals. Down 5-4 with 2 outs in the 9th. Brandon Phillips stepped up and:

  16. I went to #4192. It was great fun. Went to Johnny Bench Night too, in which he hit a home run, which was thrilling.

    But the best game hands down was game 6 of the 1990 playoffs. Got red boxes in the outfield so in perfect view of Glenn Braggs’s catch. Walking through downtown was great. Young old white black men women–100,000 happy people. A completely great experience.

    Plus, the first game I saw with my dad at Crosley, Sept 1967.

  17. Here’s my ticket stub…I was in Chicago the day that Pete really broke the hits record… considering that Cobb had been credited with an extra hit by accident. Rain Delay…Sept 8, 1985. It was my birthday present…which is 9/11… the day everyone else saw it in Cincy. Pete came up after the rain delay with a chance to break the record at Wrigley.

    • Sweet souvenir. I envy all of you guys that live in baseball towns and got to witness history

  18. Like the author, I also have never witnessed a no-hitter, perfect game, 4-homer game, or a division clincher. As a 25-year-old Reds fan, I have only attended two postseason Reds games (Games 3 and 4 in 2012…we all know how those ended up).

    My first Reds game ever came when I was 11 years old and living in Florida. My family went to a game against the Rays at Tropicana Field. At the time, I wasn’t much of a baseball fan and so I barely remember anything about the game, other than the fact that the Reds won. I also remember a fan in a row behind us shouting “STEROIDS” every time a certain batter came to the plate (have no idea which player or which team).

    The most memorable Reds game I’ve attended was definitely Opening Day 2011, with Ramon Hernandez’s walk-off, 3-run home run against the Brewers. Not only was it a Reds’ victory, it was also my first Opening Day game.

    Another memorable one was in July 2011, when Brandon Phillips hit a walk-off home run against his least favorite club. Opening Day 2015 was largely forgettable until Todd Frazier homered in the eighth to put the Reds ahead of the Pirates on the scoreboard (and overcame the results of Kevin Gregg’s first Reds relief appearance).

    And though this may not count as a Reds game, I cannot leave out Todd Frazier’s Home Run Derby performance in 2015. Until the Reds win a playoff game at home, the energy level felt at GABP that night won’t be matched.

  19. Im surprised no one said the Opening Day years ago vs the Brewers when they were behind in the bottom of the 9th and Catcher Ramon Hernandez hit the 2 strike 2 out 3 run homer to win it,i still have it on my DVR,cheers me up when life takes its toll on me,now that is a game i would have loved to have went to.

  20. I’ve been to Homer Bailey’s 2nd no hitter and Game 5 in 2012. I’d say the playoff game is more memorable in my book, especially since my dad and I got to go for about ~$7 each. I still think about what should have been that year

  21. Game 2 of the 1990 World Series, watching Joe Oliver’s shot down the left field line to plate Billy Bates with the game-winning run and seeing it clearly from the Red seats behind home plate was the most rewarding trip I’ve made to a Reds game and the greatest game because of the magnitude of it: It gave the Reds a 2-0 lead and most Reds fans the feeling that they were gonna win it and that means everything to a lifelong Reds fan. After all, they’ve never clinched a World Series at home in my lifetime. The last time they did that was in 1940, But for me personally, being in those same seats, basically, to see Pete get hit no. 4192 on September 11, 1985 was my favorite Reds moment.

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