Opening Day Countdown: Quintessential Red #70

Two names today! Both wore #70 in their debut season. Who gets the edge?

2. Matt Belisle (0.0 WAR)

Here's the thing. You know Matt Belisle, as he pitched for the Reds for a good portion of the mid-aughts. He was alright. Why isn't this a no-brainer? Matt Belisle was #31. He used #70 in his first season in the big leagues, as a 23-year-old in 2003. He had 6 appearances in September, and gave up 5 runs in 8.2 innings. If you'll remember, he was acquired as a PTBNL for Kent Mercker.

1. Stephen Larkin (0.0 WAR)

September 28, 1998. Last game of the season, and Jack McKeon's Reds are 77-84 and out of the playoff picture. They're playing the Pirates on a Sunday afternoon at Cinergy. Leatherpants decides "why not?", and calls up Stephen Larkin from AA Chattanooga.

Larkin started at 1B and hit third in his only major league game. His hall-of-famer brother Barry hit second. Making the occasion even better was that Bret Boone and his brother Aaron also started in the infield, making it the first time in history two sets of brothers started in the same infield. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it's a record that won't likely be replicated.

How'd he do? Better than his brother, actually. Stephen went 1-for-3, getting his hit in the 6th inning before getting pinch run for.

It was the last AB he'd have in the big leagues, but makes for a hell of a story and makes the photograph above possible. Stephen Larkin, you are the quintessential #70 for the Reds.

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