Being among those classified in the younger generation of Cincinnati Reds fans, when I think about my favorite player growing up, it was Todd Frazier.
I didn’t have the luxury of seeing players like Ken Griffey Jr, Eric Davis or Barry Larkin. I wasn’t able to watch the legends ig Red Machine like Joe Morgan, Pete Rose or Johnny Bench. And, in all honesty, if you ask me who my favorite player is, I’m going to say Joey Votto. However, I hold a special place in my heart for former Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier.
Toms River, New Jersey product Todd Frazier made his debut for the Redlegs on May 23, 2011. However, with veteran Scott Rolen in front of him, he was forced to wait for his turn. Because of injuries to Rolen and first baseman Joey Votto, Frazier found the field often in 2012 after only playing 41 games in 2011.
Now, I found myself falling into baseball and Red’s nostalgia earlier this week. I ended up watching game 1 of the 2012 NLDS in which the Reds beat the Giants in San Francisco. No, I didn’t watch the rest of the series, as I vividly remember a tear rolling down my cheek at 11-years old in the nosebleeds at Great American Ball Park after Buster Posey hit his infamous grand slam in Game 5. I did not need to be reminded.
I saw a young Todd Frazier on the Cincinnati bench during that game. I wondered if he knew the impact he would have on the club and Reds Country during the following season and for a few years after.
After a disappointing 2013 season in which Frazier took over the reins at third base, it was an All-Star campaign in 2014 where he showed the league what he could do. Hitting .273/.336/.459 with 29 home runs was good enough to send him to Minnesota as part of the NL squad during the Midsummer Classic.
Frazier found himself as a 2014 Homerun Derby finalist, facing off against Yoenis Cespedes. Let’s be honest, we all knew there was little hope for him to win that one. However, it was during the 2015 All-Star Game festivities when Todd Frazier etched his name into my heart forever.
I was lucky enough for myself and two of my friends to score tickets to the Home Run Derby. Let’s just say my dad is a saint for letting me go in his place. After Todd Frazier called his timeout in the final round, needing ten home runs to beat Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Joc Pederson, a victory was looking bleak.
My pessimistic friend even leaned over and said, “he’s done.” Safe to say, I gave him a pretty dirty look. After his eighth home run, Frazier went on an unprecedented run to end the round. The crowd held their breath with every swing, and then went into hysterics every time the ball cleared the fence.
When Frazier hit the clinching home run after his first swing during bonus time, the stadium literally shook, and to be honest with you, I literally cried. I jumped up and down with so much excitement my phone fell out of my pocket and I ended up shattering the screen. But, at that moment, I couldn’t have cared less.
When I think back, a Reds crowd hasn’t reacted like that since Jay Bruce’s walk-off home run to clinch the NL Central in 2010. The “Toddfather” was here, and Reds fans we’re all for it. Todd’s big smile, Frank Sinatra walk-up song, lockdown defense, little league swing and big-league power, definitely makes him one of my favorite players to ever wear a Reds Uniform.
P.S. Todd if you end up reading this, thank you for giving me one of the greatest nights of my life.