This week’s respondents are Nick Carrington, Chad Dotson, Chris Garber, Bill Lack and Steve Mancuso.
Our Daily Reds Obsession: What is your best Reds memory ever?
Nick: Probably Jay Bruce’s Clinchmas home run. I watch it every year. It had been so long since the Reds had reached the postseason. My father would talk about the Big Red Machine as if they were a part of him. Those were his teams, they represented a significant time-period of his life because he came of age during their greatness. I had no such team during my middle, high school, or college years and couldn’t wait to see the Reds in the playoffs. The 2010 Reds were young, exciting, and really good. That team was special, and when Bruce hit that home run, it relieved years of frustration cause by a struggling franchise that I loved.
Chad: I guess the easy choice is the 1990 World Series championship, since that may be the only Reds championship I’ll ever see in my lifetime. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the emotion that washed over Teenage Chad when that ball settled into Todd Benzinger’s glove to finish off Game 4 of the 1990 Series. It was an exciting moment, and I’m guessing many Reds fans of a certain vintage would pick that moment as their best Reds memory ever.
But I’m going in a different direction. I was sitting in my parents’ living room in October 1990, watching the game on television. On September 28, 2010, however, I was sitting in the moon deck at Great American Ball Park when I watched Jay Bruce hit a walk-off home run against the Houston Astros to clinch the National League Central Division title. From the first pitch of that night until the last, I’ve never been in a baseball stadium with more energy, or that was more alive than GABP on that evening. Best Reds memory ever.
Chris: Friday, October 5, 1990. Game 2 of the NLCS. I was a senior in high school, and for some reason we had the day off school. Only one kid in my school had scored playoff tickets, but during Game One, the Reds announced that they would be putting 500 tickets on sale at 8:00 AM Friday. The official story was that the tickets had been returned by other NL teams’ allotment; the rumor was that Marge Schott had sandbagged a few seats “to screw the scalpers.”
My uncle (just nine years older and more of a big brother) called — he and his girlfriend were going to head down and take a chance at getting tickets, and invited me to tag along. Presumably this was a chance at “top six” tickets, but that was good enough. We left at dawn, and headed down to the ticket booth on Riverfront Stadium’s vast concrete plaza — we were about tenth in line. After an hour or so, the booth opened and we quickly moved to the window. There was no selecting — they just passed three tickets across and demanded $75.00 (total). It wasn’t until we walked away that we noticed the tickets were blue — and the seats were nine rows back, from the third base bag.
We killed six hours in downtown Cincinnati in Ferris Bueller style. We wanted the downtown streets and skywalks, finding our way to the Contemporary Arts Center — which was near empty and oddly tense. With good reason. The CAC’s director, Dennis Barrie, was waiting on a jury’s verdict in his obscenity trial, stemming from an exhibition of photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe the spring before. We moved on to the downtown Skyline parlor, and then to the legendary Flanagan’s Landing, where I experienced a bar for the first time in my life.
Fortified with equal parts MGD and pennant fever, I impulse bought a bootleg t-shirt and the playoff edition of the new National sports newspaper. Neither lasted through the next summer. The game you probably remember — Paul O’Neill’s famous throw-out of Bobby Bonilla was directly toward me. Dibble and Myers’ dominance. Barry Larkin’s ninth inning defensive brilliance.
It’s all of a piece, for me. Any single element of this day would’ve been the highlight of my year, but they it all happened at once.
Bill: Be easy to say something from the BRM days, or the ’90 team. But for me, it’s a twi-night doubleheader on 7/25/74. The day I got my driver’s license, my mom let me have the car, and my buds and I headed for Riverfront. Reds scored 7 runs in the 8th and 9th to win the first game 14-13 (on a Perez 2 run bomb in the 9th) and Fred Norman threw a 5 hit shutout in the second game for a 5-0 win. Box scores are really interesting, Merv Rettenmund led off the first game for the Reds, with Foster in CF and Bench playing 3B. Second game, Geronimo led off (and went 3-4) with Griffey Sr. hitting 8th. I looked up the stats, but I can still remember that Perez homer and that feeling of watching baseball with my friends. That’s a lifetime memory.
Steve: The Reds greatest accomplishments in my lifetime were by the Big Red Machine and I was lucky enough to go to a few of the postseason games as a teenager in ’75 and ’76. Then there was the 1990 miracle, but I hadn’t lived in Cincinnati for 12 years by then. This question asks about the best memory. And memory is enhanced by in-person observation and recency. For me, the answer is Clinchmas. I was sitting right behind the Reds dugout. I may even be in the iconic picture of Jay Bruce with his hand up. Not only did I experience the sudden and dramatic win, but the celebration spilled out of the clubhouse back to the field, right in front of my seats. Other than being soaked by beer, it felt like I was part of the prolonged celebration. I drove back downtown the next day to buy an NL Central Champions ball cap. I vividly remember how that felt, the jubilation of the Reds finally, finally winning the division again. Second choice would be witnessing Homer Bailey’s second no-hitter from the same seat.