It was a team that, initially; I didn’t like much on the surface. A team that in April, you just thought had 5th place written all over them. But it was a team that the chemistry wasn’t over-stated (as rare as those are) and it was a team that battled and fought hard under a great manager. The 1999 Reds are a team that you remember forever if you were a Reds fan during that fun, hot summer.
A couple of memories that take me back to that 1999 season:
-Sean Casey was coveted in fantasy baseball leagues all over America (my first year playing fantasy baseball). Especially in the early going. Seemed like he was hitting in the .360s into June.
-I remember one game in what must have been August. I was laying on my grandmothers living room floor. She loved Larkin and loved Casey. They were playing at San Francisco. I fell asleep right around first pitch. When I woke up the Reds were stomping the Giants out on the West coast, which they really haven’t done since.
-Those black sleeves under the white vests replaced the red sleeves during this season. It was something superstitious, although I don’t remember the exact tale.
-Being at Riverfront in late July or August to see Scott Williamson blowing away hitters for the Reds. I remember it was so hot that summer inside that stadium. It smelled like a big armpit. The players were so hot down on the turf that they were putting lettuce leaves in their hats to stay cool (Pokey Reese I remember specifically).
-Reading the box scores in the library during the last week of the season. They dropped like 4 out of 5 to fall into a three way tie. They won the coin toss that gave them the playoff game at home and I remember that as well.
-I remember that fun game played at Milwaukee that was supposed to start at 2 PM and didn’t start until 10 PM because of rain. It was a Sunday night. The Reds and Pete Harnisch delivered to send things back to Cincinnati for game 163.
-And of course in the end I remember the ESPN national TV spot. Al Leiter, Edgardo Alfonso, Rickey Henderson. Getting shut-out and two-hit. It wasn’t meant to be.