Earlier this week the baseball world got both a huge grin and a reality check on just how old we’ve all become. Ken Griffey, Jr., The Kid, the player who helped dig the sport back out of the doldrums after the last labor stoppage zapped the sport, officially became part-owner of the Seattle Mariners, becoming the first former Seattle player to join ownership of the club.
The Mariners announced that Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr., currently a special consultant, has purchased shares in the Mariners franchise and joined the Mariners Partnership Group. He becomes the first former Seattle player to join as a partner.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) October 25, 2021
We grinned because it’s Junior, and if anyone can help the sport get more fun again, it’s Junior. We groaned because our backs now hurt, his MVP season now 24 full years in the past. I grunted because it brought back memories of the 1994 labor stoppage, how that stole a World Series chance for that brilliant Reds club, and how we’re all now entering a winter where the MLBPA and MLB itself will have to construct a new Collective Bargaining Agreement to avoid another stoppage - and now, another well known player is an owner, much like Derek Jeter down in Miami.
It’s both obvious and readily available information. A lot of these players have made a giant pile of money, as well they should have - the actual owners who were paying the biggest stars these gargantuan sums were making that kind of money tenfold. As you’ll recall, Junior is still making money from the Reds, some $3.59 million per year through the 2024 season, meaning the Reds are now indirectly part owners of the Seattle Mariners in a very silly, hilarious kind of way.
Oh, Reds. Always the punchline, so rarely the puncher.
Anyway, the Junior news got us thinking - which former players would make cool owners of the Cincinnati Reds? The initial best answer is obvious, as Joey Votto would add a polite Canadianity, funds for a big payroll, poutine hoses in every section, and a front office that valued things like, I dunno, how to actually not get retired by the opponent ever. That’s too obvious, though, not to mention that Votto’s not even yet a former player. No, we’re looking for a former player who’d get to watch Joey Votto mash meatballs into his 40s as a franchise cornerstone, still.
It’s Friday, and what follows is our list of former MLB players who’d make cool owners of the Cincinnati Reds, and why.
Adam Dunn - While we’re not sure if the Reds would win any games (do they ever?), you can bank on the experience at the ball park being excellent. Huge leather recliners through the sun deck, BYOB coolers on each row, Texas BBQ, and football games being shown in an octobox on the jumbotron once the season begins in August. Y’know, so there’s something there worth watching.
Roy Oswalt - It’s a little known fact that part of Roy’s rookie contract in 2001 included complete ownership of the Cincinnati Reds for as long as he was an active player. He forfeited that upon retirement in 2013, but after making over $96 million in his career, he can probably afford to buy a bit of them back once again.
Ichiro - An emphasis on speed and defense, a focus on putting the ball in play while refusing to strike out, while still having the ability to sock a homer whenever they want to? Sure sounds like exactly the kind of baseball folks around Cincinnati have been pining or, and that’s exactly the way Ichiro plied his trade throughout his Hall of Fame career as The Hit King. There’d probably also be excellent sushi in the ballpark, that would definitely piss off P-Doc, and that alone is worth it. Please just buy the Reds, Ichiro. Please god. Please.
Mike Hampton - It would be a boon to the kids in the tri-state area, since he’d make sure all the surrounding school systems were top notch before moving in.
Bronson Arroyo - Frankly, I’d just like to see The Nasty Hook moored in the Ohio beyond the RF wall all day, every day. Not docked - the paparazzi would have access. Moored! Make the barges find a way around, damnit, he’s the owner of the Reds!
Moises Alou - Perpetually overlooked by the national media while surrounded by bigger names, yet at the end of the day would be right there atop all the important leaderboards and standings. That’s the kind of fighting, underdog spirit that would resonate in Cincinnati, I believe, with perhaps the most underrated .300 hitter of his generation calling the shots and cutting checks. Speaking of which, with no need for batting gloves or urinals, the club could probably save enough money to spend on another star player each year.
Johnny Damon - Johnny Damon would make a godawful owner of the Cincinnati Reds, but if he put all his money into buying the franchise, at least that would mean he couldn’t spend it on all the other awful shit he’s been putting it towards. Owning the Cincinnati Reds for the greater good, this would be.
Skip Schumaker - While typing his name it occurred to me once again that Skip is destined to be the manager of the Cincinnati Reds in the very near future, and what could possibly be more Skip that owning and managing the Reds at the very same time?
Wade Boggs - Chicken, beer, OBP, beer, a rival for Mr. Redlegs for the title of Greatest Mustache in Baseball, and beer. Pretty much ticks all the important boxes.
Eric Davis - I’d like to apologize for lying earlier in this article. The initial best answer is Eric Davis, and I probably should have just mentioned it and stopped the article there altogether. It would be physically, ergonomically, spiritually impossible to have a cooler owner than ED44, and frankly, I’d like to start a petition to get this in the works.