FROM 50 MOMENTS THAT DEFINED MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
FOREWORD BY MLB ALL-STAR
Almost every great baseball fan can tell vivid stories from their younger years as they grew up watching and listening to their favorite team. For some, their dream of growing up to play for their favorite team eventually becomes reality. I consider myself one of the fortunate ones as I had the unique opportunity to have that dream come true.
As a kid growing up in southern Ohio during the era of the Big Red Machine it was easy to fall in love with the Cincinnati Reds and every player on the team. Even though there were not many televised games back then, it was easy to listen to every game on the radio. The voices of Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall were heard more frequently on my family's radios than anything else as they called Reds games throughout the baseball season. Although it has been roughly forty years since listening to those games during the era of The Machine, I can still name almost every player on those teams and remember numerous heroic game-winning home runs or diving catches that helped the Reds win championships. I can also remember their uniform number and where they normally played as well as where they hit in the batting order.
In grade school I always told people that I was going to grow up and play for the Cincinnati Reds. After being drafted in the ninth round of the 1983 draft by the Reds out of Marshall University and playing five seasons in the Reds farm system, I eventually made my Major League debut in Riverfront Stadium in August of 1987. As a kid, our family would take summer vacation trips to Cincinnati for weekend games at Riverfront so it had very special meaning to me. Not only was I making my debut in the uniform of my favorite team, in the only stadium I had ever witnessed a Major League game in, my manager was Pete Rose, who was my all-time favorite player as a kid. For all these reasons I still consider my first day in the Major Leagues my favorite memory.
As you read through the various chapters of Major League Baseball: 50 Incredible Moments that Shaped the Game, you will be reminded of some of the greatest moments in the history of the great game of baseball. Some of the quotes and stories from former players like me will shed some new light on the game as well. It doesn’t matter if you grew up a Yankees fan or an Expos fan, partial to the American League or the National League, hearing stories that you likely have never heard will almost make you feel like you were in the clubhouse with the players as they are telling the stories. And even though the game is about wins and losses, batting averages and ERA’s, as a former player I still think back and some of the greatest memories were not always between the white lines, they were the stories being told on the team bus, in the bullpen, in the clubhouse or really anywhere a group of players would be hanging out together.
I was very happy to have the chance to contribute to this book. When Rocco asked me about the possibility of writing the foreword I was even more honored to have a chance to add more to a book that will provide great enjoyment to all those who read it and provide some unique insight that is not always provided just by watching the game of baseball.