Last week, it was announced that pitcher Fred Norman and manager Dave Bristol had been elected for induction to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.
As it turns out, we’ve also talked with Dave Bristol. Back in 2015, our John Ring answered the phone and talked to the Reds’ youngest skipper:
The phone rang tonight just as the Reds were about to start a game. I answered it and an authoritative voice said, “Bristol here.”
It was Dave Bristol calling me. I can only imagine how a young Tony Perez or Johnny Bench would have responded to that voice during the 1967 season at their early age. Dave Bristol was the manager of the Cincinnati Reds from 1966-1969.
Dave Bristol was hired as the manager of the Reds after Don Heffner was fired during the All Star break of the 1966 season. That season was an unmitigated disaster. Frank Robinson had been traded the previous December in one of the worst transactions in Reds history. Cincinnati had a record of 39-47. Attendance was down at Crosley Field.
Several of the Reds players had been on minor league teams managed by Bristol. He was highly successful. He was a fighter. He was a winner.
And Dave Bristol was all of 33 years old. He was the youngest manager in baseball at that time and the fourth youngest in history. “It was the highlight of my baseball career,” said Bristol, from his home in Andrews, North Carolina. “I didn’t feel intimidated at all. You don’t like to see someone lose their job but I was happy for me. I had managed a lot of the Reds players in the minors and Hutch (Reds manager Fred Hutchinson) had brought me to spring training with the team. I was only in my 20s but Hutch had me coach third base, lead the team in calisthenics and he was a good man.”
Go read the entire thing, and get a sense of who the newest Reds Hall of Famer is.
Blame Chad for creating this mess.
Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.
You can email Chad at firstname.lastname@example.org.