More than any other team in MLB, the Cincinnati Reds have a history of having elite local talent lead their team.
The names of the local Cincinnati Reds players are legends. When you say the names Joe Nuxhall, Pete Rose, Todd Benzinger, and Barry Larkin, Reds’ fans immediately have a picture of who they are and what they brought to the table. Each of them holds a special place in Cincinnati lore.
Joe Nuxhall was a Red during what fans view as the worst stretch in franchise history. The Reds went from 1940 to 1961 without winning a National League pennant. That was the longest period in franchise history until the current streak. The Reds haven’t been to the World Series since 1990.
Pete Rose owns more hits than anyone else in MLB history. When he agreed to his suspension from MLB it saddened many fans. When they found out that the ban included the Hall of Fame, they felt as if MLB and Cooperstown was intent on punishing the fans for the existence of the Big Red Machine.
Todd Benzinger was a first baseman/outfielder for the 1990 team that won the World Series. He caught the final out in game four and began the last great celebration in Reds history. He managed the Single A Dayton Dragons for the Reds in 2009 and 2010.
Call to the Pen
For all of those already discussed, Barry Larkin is model that the Reds need to follow moving forward.
What the Reds need now, though is somebody like Barry Larkin. The Reds need a local high draft pick that has nothing given to him. Someone who has to earn everything on his merit. Jose Peraza may be historical in 2017, but he isn’t a hometown hero.
The sense of hard work that the fans get when a high prospect also has to claw and fight for playing time makes them feel better about the game, win or lose. It’s also great to see a Cincinnatian show the hard work that makes the Queen City a great place to be. More so than most other metropolises, Cincinnati is full of nice, hard working people.
Taking that to another level, when meeting someone in Cincinnati you’ll noticed that they ask you what high school you went to. It is a nearly unique experience in the entire country. For those Reds mentioned above it’s Hamilton, Western Hills, New Richmond, and Moeller.
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That’s what the Reds and the city need now. A superstar who can re-establish the link among winning, the city and the team. Rose and Larkin did it. Who’s next?