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Davis and Rijo


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The Reds inducted Jose Rijo, Eric Davis and George and Harry Wright into their Hall of Fame last evening.


Sunday, June 12, 2005

'90 Series leads Rijo, Davis to Hall

By John Erardi

Enquirer staff writer

The luster of the '90 world champions from Cincinnati has only increased over the years.

Nobody in baseball since has come up with a bullpen as deep and dominant as the three Nasty Boys.

Although the '90 Reds never got their national due for sweeping the Oakland A's of Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire in the World Series - only a repeat in subsequent years could have brought that - the team is well-loved here. Former '90s stars Eric Davis and Jose Rijo - and Red Stockings pioneers Harry and George Wright - were inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame to warm applause before Saturday's Reds-Orioles game at Great American Ball Park.

It turns out the '90 Reds were convinced all along they would beat the A's.

"We knew it - we had talked about it going into the Series - even though nobody outside our locker room gave us a chance," Davis said. "We had faced some of their (pitchers) before. They were ... (former) National League guys. We weren't intimidated by them.

"We (the Reds) had All-Stars, 100-RBI guys, 40-homer guys. Just because we weren't 6-5, 250 pounds (like Canseco and McGwire) doesn't mean we didn't think we could win."

Davis said he continues to marvel how often fans mention the two-out, two-run home run he hit off Oakland's Dave Stewart in the first inning of Game 1 of the '90 World Series in Cincinnati.

"I had faced Dave the previous year in the All-Star Game in Anaheim, and he had started me out with a fastball for a strike and then threw me four 'splits' (split-fingered fastballs) and walked me," Davis said. "I had that in the back of my mind when I went up there in the first inning. I felt like he was going to try to get a fastball by me, and I wasn't going to take this one."

As soon as Davis hit the home run, Rijo said, he felt it would be enough runs for him.

Rijo won not only Game 1 in Cincinnati, but Game 4 in Oakland, to wrap up the World Series and win its Most Valuable Player Award.

Rijo said he felt the Reds needed to win Game 4 or the A's would come back to win the Series.

"Eric and Billy Hatcher had just gone down (with injuries), and I remember thinking: 'This is our last chance. We lose this game and we're going to lose the Series,' " Rijo said. "We were (trailing) 1-0 (going into the eighth inning), and I told (my teammates), 'Two more runs, guys. That's all I need.' And that's what we got. I told them, 'OK, guys, now let me do my job.' "

Rijo retired the last 20 batters he faced.

Rijo recalled being "in tears" on the mound once during the regular season because he was enduring a divorce from wife, Rosie, the daughter of former fellow Dominican pitching great Juan Marichal.

"Barry Larkin came over from shortstop," Rijo said, "and he asked me, 'What's wrong with you?' I told him, and he called me a (pejorative) name and said: 'You can think about that (the divorce) after the game. Right now, you're getting paid to pitch, so pitch!' "

Rijo pitched a shutout that day.

NOTE: Kurt Beckers, the great-great grandson of shortstop George Wright, said he and brother Christopher Beckers split a doubleheader Saturday morning playing for the 1869 Reds Stockings vintage baseball team at Heritage Village at Sharon Woods.

"I got to play short and Chris got to play center field like George's brother, Harry," Kurt Beckers said. "Now I can see why my grandmother said she was mesmerized looking at George's gnarled hands. That ball really stings when you're not wearing a glove."

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Ahhh yes. The good old days when Cincinnati actually had a professional baseball team and an owner who (while not politically correct) cared about it. The current ownership could obviously give a rats ass about the once great organization known as the Cincinnati Reds. Until these businessmen give up the ownership and turn the team over to someone who has a clue about baseball, the Reds will remain dead to me. And if the Reds are dead to me, so is baseball as a whole.

In the meantime, I will relive the days of the "Big Red Machine" in my mind...

... ^_^ * ^_^ * ^_^ * ^_^ dream sequence initiated. Fade in with the voice of Joe Nuxall on the Cincinnati Reds radio telecast on WLW. Circa June 12th 1975...

Welcome Reds fans to tonights broadcast from the Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles of the Reds versus the Dodgers in a showdown between the NL west leaders. This pennant race is shaping up to be a doozey, and both Sparky Anderson and Tommy Lasorda have their teams playing some top notch baseball!

The Reds will be up first, leading off with Pete Rose, right field, batting first. Followed by Joe Morgan, second base, batting second. Batting third, and playing first base is the veteran Tony Perez! Hitting in the clean up spot tonight is the best catcher in baseball, Johnny Bench... ^_^ * ^_^ * :blink: ...Hey! Do you mind? A guy is trying to dream here!

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