RIP BERNIE STOWE

Last night after reading the first question of BOR Baseball Trivia, I received the terrible news that Bernie Stowe had passed away. Here’s the official press release from the Reds…

February 9, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Reds Mourn Death of Bernie Stowe

The Cincinnati Reds offer condolences to the family and friends of legendary clubhouse manager Bernie Stowe, who died today at age 80.

Reds President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Castellini said, “There is no one in the Reds’ family more loved, admired and respected than Bernie Stowe. For almost 70 years he deeply touched the lives of our players, our coaching staffs and our front office. Bernie and his family have dedicated their entire lives to this organization and to our city, and for that we are forever grateful.”

Stowe began his career with the Reds in 1947 as a clubhouse boy and worked for the team until he retired following the 2013 season. In 2008, he was one of the first recipients of the Powel Crosley Jr. Award, created to honor Reds staff members who show dedication and devotion during extended service to the club.

Bernie is survived by wife Priscilla and children Mark, Kimberly, Jeff and Rick. Mark has been with the team since 1975 and currently works as the visiting clubhouse manager, while Rick became an assistant to his father in 1981 and is in his 20th season as the home clubhouse manager.

My personal experiences with Bernie always became highlights of my day.  We will all remember him for his dedication to the Reds franchise but I think I’ll remember him most as being one of the funniest guys whoever lived.  I’ll also fondly remember the friendship Bernie shared with Joe Nuxhall.  I hope somewhere, right now as I type, the two of them are sitting down somewhere trading barbs and talking about old Reds players.  Rest in peace, Bernie.  We’re gonna miss the heck out of you.

 

NEXT STOP: GOODYEAR

Cincinnati Reds mascots and members of the clubhouse staff today packed and loaded the team’s Spring Training equipment truck, which is expected to hit the road tomorrow for Goodyear, Arizona USA.  “Truck Day” as it’s known around here at the ballpark is baseball’s equivalent to Groundhog Day, only we don’t have to wait another six weeks for Spring, rather just another 8 days!

Here are some photos of today’s truck loading, courtesy of my pal Michael “Mando” Anderson

 

MONDAY’S #REDS BASELINE ITEMS; SPRING TRAINING BROADCAST SKED

Greetings BOR readers!

The Reds Caravan came and went, the Super Bowl is over and done and the Reds Spring Training equipment truck will be packed up and headed to Arizona this week.  You know what that means?  BASEBALL!!!

This is truly the time of the year in which I start feeling the baseball itch.  There’s so much I’m looking forward to this year, including some of the following (in no particular order):

  • The new wave of young Reds players coming to big league camp
  • Face-to-face interaction with baseball fans/writers/broadcasters while at work
  • An actual All-Star break
  • Reds Hall of Fame induction weekend
  • Opening Day
  • The game itself
  • Aaron Boone on Sunday Night Baseball
  • Boxscores and scoresheets
  • Batting practice
  • etc, etc, etc

I’m pretty sure I’m leaving out a million other things.  What are YOU most looking forward to?

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It’s taken a little longer than I anticipated getting back into the swing of things since the Caravan ended, so below are a few items/reminders for you to chew on…

The Better Off Red Podcast returns this week with a very special guest!

Better Off Red Baseball Trivia takes place Tuesday (tomorrow) following the 6pm live episode of the Reds Hot Stove League Show at the Holy Grail Banks.  Please join us for all of the fun!

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The Reds and MLB will participate in Black History Month community forum (official announcement below)

Black History Month Community Forum on Economics
At National Underground Railroad Freedom Center – Feb. 10

Featuring speakers from African American Chamber of Commerce,
Cincinnati Reds, Major League Baseball and DeFuze It

CINCINNATI (Feb. 8, 2016) — The African American Chamber of Commerce, Cincinnati Reds, Major League Baseball and DeFuze It will partner for a Black History Month community forum and networking session on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016 at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

The Black Businesses Matter: Pathway to Prosperity forum will include an historical look at black-owned businesses and a panel discussion on the economic gaps facing African Americans as well as growth and success strategies for diverse businesses.

Event hosts and keynote speakers include:
Sean Rugless – President & CEO, Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce
Phil Castellini – COO, Cincinnati Reds
Wendy Lewis – Senior Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion & Strategic Alliances, Major League Baseball
Iris Roley – President, DeFuze It
Rev. Damon Lynch III – Pastor, New Prospect Baptist Church
Michael Battle – Executive Vice President, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Agenda:
• 5:30 p.m.: Doors open to NURFC (free admission)
• 5:30 to 6:15 p.m.: Networking
• 6:15 p.m.: Program begins

Background:
• The foundation of this event began as Cincinnati played host to the 2015 MLB All-Star Game.
• Mr. Castellini, Ms. Lewis, Ms. Foley and Rev. Lynch were part of the “All Lives Matter: A Social Justice Dialogue of Faith, Community and Baseball” diversity summit held during All-Star Week at the Freedom Center.
• The topics of discussion were education, economic development, jobs, health and welfare and criminal justice-related issues.
• Local community and business leaders in attendance expressed interest in continuing to provide a forum to discuss those important matters.
• The African American Chamber became the newest partner to the group through its PROSPER 2016 initiative that brings focus to the economic challenges facing African Americans in our region.

Black Businesses Matter: Pathway to Prosperity
Black History Month Community Forum on Economics
Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016
5:30 to 8 p.m.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center – Grand Hall
50 E. Freedom Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Admission is free. RSVP in advance is preferred: http://goo.gl/S3aTn4 or (513) 751-9900.

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CINCINNATI’S DURAN SUSPENDED

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Cincinnati Reds outfielder Juan Duran has received an 80-game suspension without pay after testing positive for Drostanolone, Stanozolol and Nandrolone, performance-enhancing substances in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
The suspension of Duran will be effective at the start of the 2016 regular season.

Reds’ Statement On Juan Duran’s Suspension

Below is the organization’s response to the 80-game suspension of OF Juan Duran for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

“The Reds fully support Major League Baseball’s drug policy and its penalties. The organization does not condone in any way the use of drugs prohibited under the policy. We will have no further comment.”

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The Reds have hired Lou Piniella to serve in a consulting capacity as a senior advisor to baseball operations. He is expected to spend some time with the team during spring training.

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Here’s the 2016 Reds Spring Training Broadcast Schedule…

ST Broadcast Schedule

THE BE(A)ST OF THE EAST: MY TIME ON THE 2016 #REDSCARAVAN

You folks who followed the 2016 Reds Caravan on Reds.com and here on Better Off Red are probably familiar with the friendly rivalry the “Rock Star Tour,” spearheaded by “Mercury” Marty Brennaman, has with the other three legs of the Caravan.  His daily recaps that appear on BOR, which help capture the pro-wrestling-like competition, must be read the same way they were written – with tongue firmly planted in cheek and with a suspension of disbelief.  Marty free-styles his soliloquies on the bus while I sit nearby and type them word-for-word. In between belly laughs and paragraphs, another tour-member or two might add something or change a word/sentence for editorial purposes.  It’s easily one of the tour highlights as Marty’s live audience (everyone on the bus) sits backs and braces itself for what he’s about to say next.

But I’m here today to fill in the blanks, separate reality from fantasy and provide another glimpse of what I saw/experienced on the East Tour of the 2016 Reds Caravan – (WITH PHOTOS!)

First, I have to say that the guys on this year’s bus formed one of my all-time favorite groups.  With three Caravan “rookies” added to our bus this year, I wasn’t sure how they’d react to our traveling band of merry pranksters but as it turned out – they fit right in.  The rookies, Dmitri Young, Nick Krall and Amir Garrett joined “rock star” veterans Tucker BarnhartRyan Rizzo, Chris Welsh, Mercury Marty and yours truly to cover over 900 miles of highway and several hours of hijinks.

From Thursday through Saturday, our tour went East towards West Virginia.  Our main stops included Athens (OH), Charleston (WV), Parkersburg (WV) and Ashland (KY) with radio affiliate stops in Maysville, Portsmouth, Rio Grande, Middleport, Grayson, Pikeville and Logan (WV) sprinkled throughout.  Our schedule is rigid and precise and built on punctuality.

A typical stop involves the guys signing a lot of autographs, posing for a lot of photos and answering a lot of the same questions.  But let’s face it – how hard can that be?  The guys were naturals at interacting with the media and the fans and answering mostly amusing but sometimes challenging questions.  I was very impressed with our team, especially Reds assistant GM Nick Krall, who gracefully answered the lion’s share of those challenging questions.  Marty even acknowledged on the bus that Nick changed his mind on some of the more traditional opinions that the veteran Hall of Fame broadcaster held on baseball and the Reds team.

During the middle of Day Two of the Reds Caravan, things start to become routine and formulaic.  It’s easy to catch yourself going through the motions and taking for granted what the Caravan is out to accomplish.  However, on two separate occasions in two separate cities, I heard two separate young men say the following while interacting with our panel: “this is the greatest day of my life.”  Of course, I considered the hyperbole of such comments but even still, both times I was taken aback.  Normal everyday people, who are simply involved in a game called baseball with varying degrees of celebrity, have the incredible ability to touch someone so profoundly by simple interaction.  Those grateful fans were my personal highlight of this trip and they, in turn, made me thankful for my small role in this big production.

Not to overstate it but I love my time on the bus with the guys on the Caravan.  The stories, the laughs, the camaraderie combine to create magic…especially when you have the perfect blend of personalities (and we did).  I loved getting to know Amir Garrett.  He’s such a class act and a great kid and I’m going to root my heart out for him.  Tucker and I picked up right where we left off the last time we saw each other and he’s one of the few Reds players I consider as a personal friend.  Like Amir, Tucker’s a world class guy and easy to cheer for and I’m especially excited about his new nickname (Bingo).  Like I said earlier, Nick Krall was fantastic and I was very proud of his performance on the trip.  He was a welcome addition to our crew.  Dmitri is a very special person and a very special friend of mine.  He was asked to join our group at the eleventh hour and without batting an eye, he agreed to postpone his busy schedule to travel with us.  Dmitri is a good man and the experience, guidance, expertise and enthusiasm he brought to our bus was unmatched.  And then there is Ryan and Chris and Marty – three of my favorite dudes who help make this annual voyage an absolute pleasure for me.  Few people can make me laugh as hard and as much as Riz, Creeper and Mercury.

A huge thank you to all of the folks who did the actual heavy lifting on our leg of the RedsCaravan; the real rockstars:  Mike Middaugh, Kayla Parsley, Christian St. Pierre, Nick Kulik, Nick St. Pierre, Sherry Rowland, Pam Owen, Jackie Reau and Lori Salzarulo.

And a very special thank you to all of the fans and affiliates in Ohio and West Virginia who hosted us!

So enough of my maudlin ramblings.  Let’s get to the photos, shall we?

MERCURY MARTY RECAPS DAY TWO OF THE #REDSCARAVAN

As is tradition on the Reds Carvan, “Mercury” Marty Brennaman recaps each day of his time on the road.

Here’s day two:

Yesterday marked the second day of the Rock Star group’s tour of the Reds Caravan; and as I extinguished my lights at the Ohio University Hotel room last night, my cup overflowed with a lot of positive emotions but none bigger than pride.  I’m prideful of a lot of things involving this Rock Star Group but one aspect overwhelms all the others and that is the pride I have for for the three rookies: Dmitri Young, Nick Krall and Amir Garrett.  Individually and collectively they have carried themselves with style, with class, with dignity and above all else a sense of giving to the many of hundreds of thousands of people that we have touched in the last 48-plus hours. And believe you me, we’re not done yet.

A quick synopsis of day two as it relates to the rock star group: we woke up yesterday in Athens, Ohio to a full blown blizzard that would cause other people to pause…not this group.  They charged out of the hotel’s entrance to the bus all the while trying to stay upright and not go down due to the ice and snow separating themselves from the hotel and the bus. Were they concerned about life and limb? No one gave it a second thought.  The main concern was boarding the bus and heading toward Grayson, Kentucky and our network affiliate WUGO Radio.  One of the big expectations of the Grayson stop is seeing the man-eating Rottweiler that wanted to take a bite out of everybody but sadly, he’s long passed.  The food spread that the folks at WUGO provide is unmatched, especially the catfish. Another highlight was our introduction to Miss Kitty, a beautiful black and white cat that lives at the station.

From Grayson it was on to Pikeville where they were swinging from the rafters. And as usual, we did not disappoint – we gave it back to the city!  Shortly thereafter, we boarded the bus for our third stop of the day: Logan, Ohio.  As always, no matter what stop we make, the folks here told us that the crowd for this stop was the biggest in recent memory for the Reds Caravan (quite honestly, we are certainly not surprised).

Our last stop of the day was clearly the biggest.  They were seventeen deep on both decks waiting for us at the Charleston Town Center.  Rumors are swirling that there may be a bigger mall by the time WE come back.  It’s truly hard to separate one stop from the other and the reason is simple…we love the people and the people love us (and to those of you wannabes in any of the other three legs – they don’t love you nearly as much).

Until next time,

Mercury Marty.

MERCURY MARTY’S DAY ONE RECAP OF THE #REDS CARAVAN

As is tradition on the Reds Carvan, “Mercury” Marty Brennaman recaps each day of his time on the road.

Here’s day one:

Back in the 1920s the late great legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice penned these memorable words: “For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name, he writes not whether you won or lost but how you played the game.” Little did Mr. Rice realize, that when he penned those words, as memorable as they’ve become, that he was writing in truth about the Rock Star Group. Why you ask? When the scorer writes about this group, he concerns himself with honor, integrity, honesty, certainly compassion, and the inherent feeling that everything we do is right. We would grade out extremely high because first and foremost – the people, Reds fans are of the utmost importance to us.  Because of our ongoing and consistent popularity, there couldn’t be any other way.

On day one of this Reds caravan our travels have taken us to Maysville, KY, Portsmouth Oh, Rio Grande OH (Where we provided nourishment to the masses in the form of roasted chicken at the original Bob Evans restaurant), and then on in to Middleport OH and concluding a very remarkable day with the citizenry and students of Ohio University in Athens, OH. Groups that liken themselves (erroneously I might add) to the Rock Star Group would readily single out one stop as being the one that they can hang their proverbial caps on. Well I’m here to tell you, there is no hat rack. EVERY stop we make stands out as a stark reminder of how successful we are at filling the void of the lives of the people we touch. It’s hard to imagine as we, individually and collectively, lay our heads on a pillow tonight and go to sleep (after we say our prayers, of course) we feel very fortunate to be walking, talking members of this rather august group.

Until next time,
Mercury Marty

#REDS BASELINE ITEMS: HOT STOVE TONIGHT, CARAVAN TOMORROW

HOT STOVE LEAGUE SHOW TONIGHT!
Tucker Barnhart, Ivan De Jesus Jr., Jesse Winker and Dmitri Young will be on the Reds Hot Stove League Show on 700 WLW & the Reds Radio Network tomorrow/Wednesday from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. live from the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum. The public is invited.

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REDS CARAVAN STARTS TOMORROW!
The 2016 Reds Caravan, presented by Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network, consists of four separate tours traveling over 3,300 miles making stops in five states over four days. The tours kick off TOMORROW (Jan. 28) from the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum and conclude with the “Caravan Finale” on Sunday, Jan. 31 at the Florence Mall.

Travel along with the Caravan buses on Reds.com/Caravan.

2016 Reds Caravan Logo

 

BETTER OFF RED PODCAST EPISODE 111: BRYAN PRICE & AARON BOONE

Cover

In this week’s episode of the Better Off Red Podcast, we talk to Reds manager Bryan Price and former Reds third baseman/current ESPN baseball analyst Aaron Boone.

Bryan caught up with us at Redsfest to talk about the challenges of 2015, the outlook for 2016 and the talent that’s coming up through the Reds minor league system.

Aaron, who was recently named to ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball team, tells us about his new co-workers, his transition from the field to the broadcast booth and his time he spent in Cincinnati as a member of the Reds.

Music is provided to us this week by the Montreal indie rock band Half Moon Run, whose latest album Sun Leads Me On is available NOW on iTunes!

To listen to this week’s podcast, CLICK HERE.

#REDS ANNOUNCE CARAVAN FINALE TO BE HELD AT FLORENCE MALL ON JANUARY 31

CINCINNATI (Jan. 21, 2016) — The Cincinnati Reds Caravan will end its multi-state tour of four buses with a final stop at the Florence Mall in Florence, Ky. on Sunday, Jan. 31. In attendance will be five Major League players and four minor league players along with Reds manager Bryan Price. Joining them will be Reds President and CEO Bob Castellini, President of Baseball Operations Walt Jocketty, five Reds alumni, broadcasters, mascots and front office personnel.

The doors to the Florence Mall will open at 9 a.m. and a question and answer session will begin at 11 a.m. in the Center Court area. From Noon to 2 p.m., current Reds players and manager Bryan Price will sign autographs (while time allows) and the minor leaguers and Reds alumni will pose for photos with fans.

“We are excited to stage this year’s Caravan’s finale in Florence for the first time,” said Phil Castellini, Reds COO. “After three days on the road traversing Reds Country, it’s befitting we host our biggest event close to Great American Ball Park so our hometown fans can be part of the fun.”

The 2016 Reds Caravan, presented by Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network, consists of four separate tours traveling over 3,300 miles making stops in five states over four days.

Reds Caravan at Florence Mall on Sunday, Jan. 31
– 2028 Florence Mall, Florence, KY 41042
• 9 a.m.: Mall doors open to the public
• 11 a.m. to Noon: Q&A hosted by Marty Brennaman & Jeff Piecoro
• Noon to 2 p.m.: Autographs with current players and photos with Reds alumni and minor leaguers
– Mall parking info: http://www.florencemall.com/en/parking.html

Current Reds attending:
– Bryan Price – manager
– Devin Mesoraco – catcher
– Billy Hamilton – outfielder
– Tucker Barnhart – catcher
– Ivan De Jesus Jr. – infielder
– Keyvius Sampson – pitcher

Reds minor leaguers attending:
– Alex Blandino – infielder
– Amir Garrett – pitcher
– Cody Reed – pitcher
– Jesse Winker – outfielder

Reds alumni attending:
– Tom Browning
– Chris Welsh
– Jeff Brantley
– Corky Miller
– Dmitri Young

Reds front office personnel attending:
– Bob Castellini – President & CEO
– Walt Jocketty – President of Baseball Operations

Additional details:
– Each fan is limited to one autograph per player and there are no posed photos with the group.
– There will be two photo booth opportunities for fans to take part, one with the minor leaguers and the other with alumni.
– Fans will receive a complimentary 4”x6” photo keepsake and are welcome to use their personal cameras as well.
– Autographs are not permitted at the photo stations.

The entire event is open to the public and free-of-charge. Appearances and schedules subject to change.

Visit reds.com/caravan for up-to-date information on the 2016 Reds Caravan.

16-RedsCaravan_1280x400_Flat

PETE ROSE TO BE INDUCTED INTO #REDS HALL OF FAME

HOF Weekend Graphic

Rose’s No. 14 jersey to be retired and ’76 World Series Champions honored during 2016 Reds HOF Induction Weekend, June 24-26

CINCINNATI (Jan. 19, 2016) — Cincinnati Reds legend Pete Rose will be inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame and his number 14 jersey retired during 2016 Reds Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, June 24-26, 2016.

Rose was selected as the sole inductee for the class of 2016 by the Reds Hall of Fame Board of Directors.

“Inducting Pete into the Reds Hall of Fame and retiring his iconic number 14 will be a defining moment in the 147-year history of this storied franchise,” said Bob Castellini, Reds President and CEO. “He is one of the greatest players to ever wear a Reds uniform and it will be an unforgettable experience watching him being honored as such.”

“Pete Rose’s on-field achievements and impact on the Reds and its fan base are unquestionable and worthy of induction into the Reds Hall of Fame,” said Rick Walls, executive director of the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum. “We look forward to this summer where, in front of his fans and with his teammates, ‘Charlie Hustle’ will be recognized for his contributions to the rich and distinguished history of the Reds.”

2016 Reds Hall of Fame Induction Weekend – schedule of events (subject to change)
– Friday, June 24: Reds vs. San Diego Padres (7:10 p.m.)
• Pregame ceremonies celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 1976 World Series Champion Reds
• Reds players and coaches will wear 1976 throwback uniforms
• All fans receive a commemorative 1976 Reds team photo
• 1976 World Series replica ring ticket package (details to be released soon)
• Fireworks Friday presented by Cooper Tire
– Saturday, June 25: Reds vs. San Diego Padres (4:10 p.m.)
• Pregame Hall of Fame Induction ceremony presented by PNC Bank
• As part of Super Saturdays, all fans receive a Pete Rose poster
– Sunday, June 26: Reds vs. San Diego Padres (1:10 p.m.)
• Pregame Pete Rose Number 14 Retirement Ceremony
• All fans receive Pete Rose commemorative print
• Hall of Fame Induction Gala presented by Clark Schaefer Hackett at the Duke Energy Conv. Center (starts at 6 p.m.)

Visit reds.com/Pete for updates and additional details for 2016 Induction Weekend.

The best way for fans to guarantee tickets to all three Hall of Fame Induction Weekend games is with the Pick-6 Plan:
• Pick any six regular season home games (excluding Opening Day) and receive a Joey Votto 30-inch Louisville Slugger® bat and six free McDonald’s® Extra Value Meals® with the 2016 Reds Pick-6 Plan presented by McDonald’s®. Save up to 25%!
• Order online at reds.com/Pick6 or call (513) 765-7500.

Tickets to the 2016 Reds Hall of Fame Induction Gala presented by Clark Schaefer Hackett on Sunday, June 26 at the Duke Energy Convention Center will go on sale February 14.

Peter Edward “Pete” Rose, Sr.
The most prolific hitter in baseball history, Cincinnati native Pete Rose wore the uniform of his hometown Reds from 1963-1978 and again from 1984-1986. He ranks at the top of the Reds’ all-time franchise list in games played (2722), plate appearances (12,344), runs scored (1741), hits (3358), singles (2490), doubles (601), total bases (4645) and bases on balls (1210). Only three players in Reds history have driven in more career runs than Rose’s 1036 and only three players hit more triples in their Reds careers than Rose’s 115. Rose’s Reds career was marked by virtually every honor that can be bestowed on a Major League Player. His 13 All-Star selections as a Red are the second-most in Reds history and include selections at an All-Star -record five different positions. In 1963, Rose was named the National League’s Rookie of the Year and was selected as the Most Valuable Player of the National League in 1973. A three-time NL batting champion, Rose was also a two-time winner of Gold Glove Awards for defensive excellence. In 1975 and 1976, Rose captained the Big Red Machine to consecutive World Series titles and was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1975 Fall Classic. In 1978, Rose authored a 44-game hitting streak which stands as the third-longest in Major League history. Rose played for the Phillies and Expos from 1979 – August 16, 1984 when he returned to the Reds in a trade. On September 11, 1985, Rose singled in the bottom of the first inning of the Reds game against the Padres for the 4192nd hit of his Major League career which broke the all-time career hit record held by Ty Cobb. Rose finished his career with 4256 hits.

About the Reds Hall of Fame:
The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame is the oldest continually operating team Hall of Fame in all of baseball. Since its inception in 1958, 85 players, managers and executives have been honored with induction. The Reds Hall of Fame & Museum at Great American Ball Park features 15,000 square feet of historical, interactive and educational exhibits, highlighting the rich and storied tradition of the Reds and baseball in the Queen City. The mission of the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum is to celebrate greatness, preserve history and provide inspiration. Plan your visit at RedsMuseum.org.

 

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