OBSERVATIONS: What? Another Reds Infielder On The Horizon

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, about to have lunch with former Cincinnati sports writers Bill Koch and Jack Brennan to talk about old times. . .very, very old times.

—ANOTHER INFIELDER: The Cincinnati Reds are more overstocked with infielders than a shoe store in Arizona with rain galoshes. There is Jonathan India, Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Noelvi Marte and Jeimer Candelario.

What to do, what to do? Well, for starters, add another name. . .shortstop Edwin Arroyo. He is dazzling everybody this spring, showing he might have the genes for future stardom.

He won’t make it this year and probably will start the season at Class AA Chattanooga. But it’s like the old song, ‘How Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down On The Farm?’

With Arroyo lurking, it lends more credence to thoughts of moving shortstop De La Cruz to the outfield to more utilize his Usain Bolt speed and Brownig rifle arm.

—QUOTE: From Cal Ripken Jr., who was moved from shortstop to third base: “Different styles work for different guys. If you can handle shortstop and hit, too, teams will find a way to pencil you into the lineup.” (They always say ‘pencil,’ but every manager I covered used a pen to make out his lineup cards.)

—FOR PETE’S SAKE: Loyal contributer Jeff Singleton passed this one along from something called 28th Century Baseball.

It is a list of the top 25 players with the most career hits before the age of 30. Ty Cobb led it with 2,136. No shock there.

Was Pete Rose second? Nope. Third? Nope. Fourth? Nope. And this is the shocker. The Hit King is not in the top 25.

No. 25 is Lloyd Waner with 1,651. When Rose was 29 he had 1,402. What’s more incredible is that from age 30 to age 45, Rose collected 2,854 hits.

By the way, former Reds outfielder Vada Pinson is sixth on that list (1,881). The guys ahead of Pinson are Cobb, Mel Ott, Rogers Hornsby, Alex Rodriguez and Hank Aaron.

Eight of the top 10 are in the Hall of Fame. Only Pinson and A-Rod are not and we know why A-Rod isn’t. So what is the excuse for keeping Pinson out?

—HIT THE BEST: Few can argue that the Atlanta Braves pitching staff in the early 1990s might have been the all-tiime best. . .Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine. All three are in the Hall of Fame.

But to Todd Helton that trio was just Larry, Curly and Moe. Helton banged on them like a snare drum.

For his career, Helton hit .417 against Smoltz, .393 against Glavine and .364 against Maddux. For that alone he belongs in the Hall of Fame, and he will be inducted in July.

And the most rare thing the Colorado Rockies first baseman did was walk (1,335) more times than he struck out (1,175).

—QUOTE: From Todd Helton on playing in hitter-friendly Coors Field: “Is Coors Field a good park to hit in? Yeah. So are Wrigley Field and Camden Yards. I didn’t design Coors Field, I just played there.”

—UD CHUCK-ED HIM: The University of Dayton once had an outstanding football player named Chuck Noll, so good he went on to play in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns.

After his playing days ended he became a coach. The UD job became open and Noll applied to be head coach at his almaa mater.

UD said, “No thanks. Move on.”

So he moved on, became head coach of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. . .and won four Super Bowls in six years.

And it was too late for UD to do a do-over.

—DOESN’T WANT MUCH: After his NBA career, Junior Bridgeman made multi-millions by investing in fast food chains.

He spoke one day to the Denver Nuggets and asked the team what are their aspirations.

Chris “Birdman” Anderson, his body covered by tattoos, raised his ink-covered arm and said, “My life-long dream is to own a rest stop.” (Why not have attainable goals, eh?
—THE CELTIC WAY: Who would think any Boston Celtics team would be as good, or better, than the Celtics of Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Satch Sanders and John Havlicek, who won about as often as the Harlem Globetrotters?

But this year’s edition is awesome with a capital A. Last week they beat the Golden State Warriors, 140-88. . .One Four Eight to Eight Eight.

At one point they outscored the Warriros, 61-17, and led, 82-38. They’ve won three games this season by 50 or more points.

And it was their 11th straight win. They are 48-12, an .800 clip, and lead the Milwaukee Bucks by eight games in the Eastern Division.

—QUOTE: From former coach Red Auerbach: “The Boston Celtics are not a basketball team. They are a way of life.” (And it is the Life of Riley.)

—THE GRAVY TRAIN: How many have used the term gravy train? What does that mean? Has there ever been a train pulling gravy? Nope.

Ostensibly, the term originated in Great Britain. It referred to a train run that paid well for a run that required little effort by the crew. So the crew was riding the gravy train.

—QUOTES: They said it and they meant it:

From pitcher Greg Booker on diminutive Cincinnati Reds infielder Bip Roberts: “We have baked potatoes in North Carolina bigger than him.”

From Phillies outfielder John Kruk, who hated spring training: “Spring training should last one day. We’d have the team golf outing and then head north.”

From manager Whitey Herzog after they put a roof over Montreal’s Olympic Stadium: “It always looked like a toilet bowl. Now it has a seat on it.”

From umpire Al Forman: “I often get birthday cards from fans with the same message. . .they hope it’s my last.”

From manager Casey Stengel on catcher Chris Cannizzaro: “He’s a remarkable catcher. He’s the only defensive catcher in baseball who can’t catch.”

From Graig Nettles when the Yankees kept asking him to make speaking engagements: “If the club wants somebody to play third base, they have me. If they want somebody to speak at luncheons they should hire George Jessel.”

—PLAYLIST NO. 27: Songs that make me stop, think and cry:

Don’t Let The Old Man In (Toby Keith), When Did I Get Old (Derrick Dove & The Peacekeepers), He Stopped Loving Her Today (George Jones), Whose Gonna Take Their Place? (George Jones), It Was Almost Like A Song (Ronnie Milsap), Everybody Hurts (R.E.M.), Love Hurts (Nazareth), If Tomorrow Never Comes (Garth Brooks), Don’t Close Your Eyes (Keith Whitley).

Sometimes When We Touch (Dan Hill), I Can’t Make You Love Me (Bonnie Raitt), Live Like You Were Dying (Tim McGraw), I Wouldn’t Have Missed It For The World (Ronnie Milsap).

One thought on “OBSERVATIONS: What? Another Reds Infielder On The Horizon”

  1. I always was so annoyed watching the Braves on TBS. Maddox and his fellow pitchers always benefited from an excessively wide strike zone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *