OBSERVATIONS: Is Votto the Reds GOAT? No, No, No

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, finally recovering from a mild COVID attack and not wishing it on anybody. I feel as weak as restaurant iced tea.

~Cincinnati Magazine published a story written by Charles Dotson with the headline: “Joey Votto is the Greatest Reds Player of All

Say what?

The story is well-written and interesting about a great player. Indeed, Votto has been great. But the greatest Reds player of all-time?

Say these names softly and reverently: Johnny Bench. Joe Morgan. Pete Rose. Frank Robinson. Eric Davis. Barry Larkin. Jose Rijo. Ted Kluszewski. Vada Pinson. George Foster. Ken Griffey Jr. Tom Browning. Don Gullett. Gary Nolan. Jim Maloney.

And on and on and on. Votto is in the Top Ten for sure. But greatest? Not even close in my book. But everybody reads books in a different way. If Dotson believes it, more power to him.

~One of the worst scouting reports ever uttered came out of the mouth of a guy who watched Randy Johnson pitch at Class AA Jacksonville.

Asked if Johnson might became a superstar pitcher, the guys said, “Are you kidding me. If he threw a ball off the Eiffel Tower he couldn’t hit Paris.”

Well, the 6-foot-10 left hander known as The Big Unit, won 303 games, struck out 3,346 highly intimidated hitters and threw two no-hitters, including a perfect game when he was 40. Hit Paris? The guy hit an all-time record 190 guys standing in the batter’s box. . .and they all tried to duck.

~QUOTE: From Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson: “I would think flying would be pretty cool. You would be able to fly away from all your enemies.” (But that bird Johnson inadvertantly killed with one of his fastballs was flying and unable to get away.)

~Another in the never-ending classic lines from former catcher and Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Uecker. When asked about his career highlights, he said, “Career highlights? I had two. I got an intentional walk from Sandy Koufax and I got out of a rundown against the Mets.”

Did you know that in his portrayal of broadcaster Harry Doyle in the movie ‘Major League’ that Uecker ad libbed nearly all his lines? They weren’t scripted.

Uecker and I went into the Hall of Fame at the same time. On Saturday, before the induction ceremony, ESPN had us at a meeting and they said Uecker would go on first and I would go on second.

I said, “Time out, time out. Please don’t make me follow him. Let me go first.” They did and I’m so thankful because after my speech Uecker went on and had them rolling in the aisles.

~Hardly a day goes by that the Cincinnati Reds don’t announce a player move, a transaction.

So far in this highly tarnished season, 45 different players have appeared in a game. Twelve were rookies, including nine pitchers, some of whom appear to have been signed out of the witness protection program.

The team record is 57 players used in 2003, but the season is barely one-fourth completed. That record is sure to fall when the trade deadline approaches and the Reds send away more talent to other teams.

The name tags above the clubhouse lockers change more rapidly that the spinning marquees on a Greyhound bus.

This isn’t reload or a rebuild. It is a relapse and a retreat

~Have you seen the qualifying speeds for the Memorial Day Indianapolis 500? It’s 234 and 235 miles an hour.

Reminds me of something Jim Murray wrote about the Indy 500.
“Of the 33 which start the Memorial Day race maybe five will complete it. The rest will finish on fire, on top of somebody, on a wall or on a tow-truck. They break every anti-noise ordinance ever passed. They’ve punctured more eardrums than Krupp’s cannon.”

He certainly got the ear drums right. I covered the Indy 500 for six straight years in the 1960s, the days of Offenhausers and Andy Granatelli’s turbine cars. And for two weeks after the race, my ears rang like phones at a telethon.

Murray’s most famous lines about the Indy 500 were morbid and earned him much disdain from the racing world. He wrote once, “Instead of saying, ‘Gentlemen, start your engines,’ they should say, ‘Gentlemen, start your coffins.” And this zinger, “The Indianapolis 500 is where they pick up crash victims with an ash tray.”

~Forgive me some braggadocio: My best friend is the canine version of Willie Mays. My Schnoodle, Paige, brings me a tennis ball at least three times a day and drops it at my feet. Time to play ball.

We go to the backyard. I throw the ball in the air as high as I can. She tracks it like Mays, runs to the exact spot where it will land. She lets it bounce, then leaves all four feet in a high leap and catches the ball. . .every time. She returns it to my feet for the next batter and retires him every time.

Sadly, Paige has cancer and is on chemo pills. You’d never know it. She acts as if she is a pup and she is 11 years old. When she goes, they might as well take me with her.

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