The Baseball Writers Association of America has released its annual ballot of potential Hall of Famers today. The group is then voted upon by Association members to determine who shall be enshrined in Cooperstown (voting takes place at some future time). This ballot is likely to cause one of the most controversial and contentious Hall of Fame debates in baseball history, as guys like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa are all making their first appearances. Hold on to your butts, folks. This is going to get fucking sanctimonious.
I do not wish to talk about that, though. I want to take a moment to spotlight a few former Reds who are making their first appearances on the list. Four guys (as far as I can tell, anyway) on the list wore the wishbone C at one time or another in their careers, ranging from the well-liked to the tolerated to the outright despised. Here they are:
Reggie Sanders - Reds' OF 1991-98
Sanders was the Jay Bruce to Barry Larkin's Joey Votto. He compiled an impressive 36.7 bWAR over his career, with his best coming in the pennant-winning season of 1995 when he was sixth in MVP voting (Barry Larking was first yay). His legacy as a Red is colored by his dreadful performance in the playoffs that year when he struck out in 19 of his 32 PAs. But whatevs. Dude was solid as a Red. He had the good fortune of playing in three World Series, winning a ring in 2001 as a key member of the Diamondbacks' lineup.
He won't make the Hall of Fame and will likely struggle to get any votes in such a loaded class, but he was still great. For this, Red Reporter salutes you, Reggie Sanders.
Todd Walker - Reds' 2B 2001-02
Walker was a favorite of mine back in those days. He had kind of a clunky glove at 2B, but he could hit like an animal. That was the theme of those Lost Decade Reds teams, and Walker was cool enough to oblige the tradition. He was unceremoniously traded to the Red Sox after the '02 season so they could bring up Brandon Larson to play 3B, sliding Aaron Boone over the keystone. Gross.
Jeff Conine - Reds' pinch-hitter 2007
Cone head spent the last season of his career with the Reds, unless you count the fact that they traded him to the Mets that August. He served as a bench bat and loyal friend to Scott Hatteberg, helping hold down the fort until Joey Votto could come along. His full name is Jeff Guy Conine, which is a pretty sharp name, I say.
Royce Clayton - Reds' SS 2006
Mike Stanton - Reds' relief pitcher 2007
Sandy Alomar Jr.