Current major leaguers view their at bat music as a way to establish their personal identities among fans, players, and teams. After all, the height and color of one’s socks can only say so much in 2013. However, this has not always been the case. Sure, players had an opportunity to name their own music prior to 2000, but in terms of the attention garnered, this is still a recent trend.
The 1995 Reds team was the last Reds team to win a playoff series. In terms of personalities, they’re probably not as interesting as the 1990 Reds or as well known as their present day counterparts. That’s why understanding what their at bat music should have been can shed some light on their personalities and performances as players:
Deion Sanders CF – "Must be the Money" by Deion Sanders
The 1995 season was before Deion Sanders well-documented suicide attempt and his subsequent entrance into the world of born-again Christianity. In other words, before that time, he was kind of a self-absorbed jerk who was only concerned with material matters. It is therefore only fitting that he would choose his own musical recording as his at bat music. Oh, and fittingly, the music is much worse than he thinks it is.
Barry Larkin SS – "Juicy" by The Notorious B.I.G.
Barry Larkin was the leader of the 1995 Reds. Larkin is a Hall of Fame player whose presence has transcended his playing career. While Larkin conducted himself with class, he was not afraid to push the envelope at times when confronting the conservative ownership of the club. If Marge Schott had heard this song, she’d probably flip her lid given her statements concerning males wearing earrings. That being said, it wouldn’t stop Larkin from launching a crusade to play a song by an artist that, like Larkin, has lasted far beyond the final release of his work product.
Hal Morris 1B – "Casino Queen" by Wilco
Hal Morris was the Hal Morris of the 1995 Cincinnati Reds. In other words, he was the .279 hitting first baseman with moderate power who would constantly be compared to Wally Joyner (an unfair comp to Wally Joyner, who hit an OBP of .394 in 1995) and just-as-unfairly contrasted with just about every other first baseman who hit 20 home runs in a season. Hailing from Ft. Rucker, Alabama, Morris is a southern boy at heart despite starting his career with the Yankees. He also has some intellectual game, receiving an MBA from Stanford after his playing days. This suggests he’d fall more on the Wilco side than the Son Volt side on The Progeny of Uncle Tupelo Spectrum. And seriously, can you think of a better song for a riverboat town baseball team than "Casino Queen?"
Ron Gant LF – "Player’s Ball" by Outkast
Like his shortstop teammate, Ron Gant has had some small screen success following his playing days. He’s currently the host of "Good Day Atlanta" which plays
when the Marlins are in town in the Atlanta media market. That doesn’t mean Gant lacks a hard streak. He has a bit of a temper and he isn’t afraid to take on fortunate sons. Given his ties to Atlanta, I would not be shocked if he was one of the first to laud the music of Outkast.
Bret Boone 2B – "Gin & Juice" by Snoop Doggy Dogg
1995 Bret Boone was known more for his defense than his offense. In fact, all iterations of Bret Boone were known for this prior to his tenure with the 2001 Seattle Mariners. Like his brother, he has a bit of a laid back California-style that. In the elder Boone brother, this style is paradoxically mixed with a dash of "trying too hard to seem cool." This is a lot like Snoop Doggy Dogg’s first album without Dr. Dre.
Benito Santiago C - "What is Love?" by Haddaway
In 2013, Benito Santiago is 48 years old and has not played baseball in eight seasons. This comes as a bit of a surprise given that while playing, Santiago always appeared to be 48 years old. Did I mention he has the greatest player's website in MLB history complete with awful 1995 club music? So, it kind of goes without saying that his at bat music should be terrible 1995 club music, right?
Reggie Sanders RF – "I’ll Take You There" by the Staple Singers
Reginald Laverne Sanders spent seven seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and nine seasons with seven other teams. Sanders’ 28 home runs, 99 RBI, and OBP of .397 in 1995 helped lead the Reds to a title in the NL Central Division. Later in his career, Sanders used a fair amount of gospel and soul music when coming to the plate. Thus, I see no reason to deviate from that in this selection.
Jeff Branson 3B – "Mrs. Jones" by the Counting Crows
Jeff Branson had a career year in 1995 where he OPS’d .780. Not to demean Mr. Branson, but if that’s your best when given 300 PA, it may be a bit forgettable to the average fan. When you think of Jeff Branson, you probably think of his 1995 campaign and not much beyond that. Likewise, when you think of the Counting Crows, you probably think of Mrs. Jones and not much beyond that.
Mark Lewis UTL. – "People Who Died" by the Jim Carroll Band
Mark Lewis endeared himself to Cincinnati fans merely by attending the same high school as Joe Nuxhall. Because of this, Lewis was always trying to show he was his own man and not cut-from-the-same-cloth as everyone else from Hamilton, Ohio. This led to him developing a darker demeanor characterized by a sense that everyone who used to know him now viewed him differently. When you’re the latest in a line of local heroes, people treat you differently and you cannot go back to the state of your previous relationships. You then become a bit of a brooding punk lamenting the people who are now gone in your life both literally and metaphorically. This song was rereleased in 1995 so it’s a natural fit.
Lenny Harris PH – "Perfect Day" (cover of Lou Reed) by Duran Duran
Lenny Harris assembled a solid major league career and found a niche late in his career as a pinch hitter. However, he had a terrible 1995. Kind of like this band’s 1995 flop album.
And, if the mascots had at bat music:
Rosie Red: "Stay" by Lisa Loeb
Let’s be honest, Rosie Red would have totally been into the Lilith Fair scene.
Mr. Red: "Basket Case" by Green Day
Mr. Red is a fairly safe mascot. However, there’s an attempt to make him appear cooler and edgier than he actually is. He would have eaten up the pop punk scene in 1995. Or, he’d at least like the songs not about self-gratification.
Gapper: "Macarena" by Los Del Rio
If it’s annoying and confoundingly popular, it’s for Gapper.
Mr. Redlegs – "Spanish Stroll" by Mink DeVille
Mr. Redlegs doesn’t care about what is popular at the time, he cares about what is awesome.