Remembering 20 Years Ago


Friday, October 12, 1990. I fondly remember that night at Riverfront Stadium. Out of the 56,079 in attendance, I was merely one. One in a sea of red. A sea of starved Reds fans. This night would be forever etched in my mind.

Every once in a while my brother will engage me in a conversation about a specific sporting event. Miracle on Ice is a popular one. Kirk Gibson’s home run routinely comes up. “The Catch” is one we revisit sometimes. But the one we enjoy reliving the most is October 12, 1990. That was the night on which the Cincinnati Reds defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates to claim the National League title. And we were among the 56,000+.

There are four events from that evening that always come through in our conversation.

The first involves the polarizing Marge Schott. Say what you will about Marge. She was as devoted a Reds fan as any of us will ever see. She had the verbal transgressions and that overshadows the amount of love for her team.

On this evening, a fan had brought a bugle to the game. He was piping the famous charge call throughout the beginning of the game. A security guard proceeded to confiscate the bugle. Someway, somehow. Schott had retrieved the bugle and returned it to the young gentleman that had brought it.

The second event occurred in the bottom of the seventh inning. The first six and a half innings were a bit on the uneventful side. I say a bit because there was a definite tension that would lead you to think that more was happening. Anyway, Ron Oester had replaced Mariano Duncan at second and lead off the inning with a single. With one out, current Reds first base coach Billy Hatcher singled to center and Oester went to third on the hit. (Yes, the even went first to third under Lou.)

Paul O’Neill was due up next to face the Pirates lefty Zane Smith. Pinch-hitter, right? Sure. My brother and I were wondering which righty Piniella would use. We thought it would be Glenn Braggs. Were we ever wrong. Lou sent utility infielder Luis Quinones.

“Quinones?” my brother and I quizzed each other. Then we found out why Lou was the amanger and we were merely among the 56,000+ fans in attendance as Quinones looped a single into right field plating Oester. That would prove to be the winning run, but we weren’t sure at that point.

Third. Forward to the bottom of the ninth. Closer and Nasty Boy Randy Myers had entered the game in the eighth as had Glenn Braggs. It would be Braggs that provided the late heroics on this night.

With one out and Barry Bonds on first, Carmelo Martinez came to the plate. I was dreading the at-bat due mostly to the whole righty-lefty thing. Martinez sent a Myers pitch deep into right field. Braggs was heading back to the wall and one of my biggest fear gripped me…”What if it’s gone?” I began to think.

Enter Braggs. He leapt, went over the wall with his glove and snagged the shot. He barely made the cath, too.

Two outs and Riverfront broke into a frenzy I had never witnessed…until after the next batter when Don Slaught, a good hitter, was whiffed by Myers. The frenzy of all frenzies.

Game over. Reds win the NLCS 4-2 and advance to the World Series.

It was cool to view the celebration on the Jumbotron. Seeing the champagne sprayed. Watching Lou and Marge receive the NL trophy and then Myers and Rob Dibble share the NLCS MVP award. Simply amazing.

But it was shortly after those award presentations, the players began to file back onto the field to celebrate with the fans. A scene I will forever remember. In fact, it wasn’t until almost an hour after the game had ended before we left…and they were still celebrating.

That’s my final memory of that night 20 years ago. A pleasnt memory at that.

Remember the old blue seats at Riverfront? Section 109. Row 20. Seat 3. That’s where I was the last time the Reds won the National League.