Love to read some folks opinions on this.
For years and years it was Bench. I just loved watching him behind the dish and at the plate. I liked all of them, but for me JB was my favorite.
That was until July 14, 1986. My family had just recently moved down to Houston Texas and that year the Astrodome hosted the All Star game. We managed to find out what hotel the majority of the players were staying at downtown and we went down to try to get some autographs (they had a fan-fest sort of thing going on). We were there for a hour or so when I saw Bench upstairs coming down the escalator. I politely asked "Mr. Bench" for his autograph (I was about 16 or so) and I'll never forget his response. "Get the hell away from me kid" then with a shove he pushed his way past. Talk about heartbroken. My boyhood idol...a flat-out jerk.
Well, since then it's been Pete Rose. I've met Pete 6 different times at card conventions, at a game when he played in Philly, a few other places. But the kicker is that after that first meeting (elevator in Philly hotel with 5 other Phillies...talk about a thrill for an 10 year old), he's remembered my name each time. And he doesn't just say Hi and sign an autograph...he's chatted with me each time. Talking baseball (or football of all things) for 5 to 10 minutes each time. I've never come across a nicer sports figure in person. So for my money...it's Pete.
Last edited by _Sir_Charles_; 09-03-2009 at 04:30 PM.
99-63 WS champs (Cards take 2nd WC, Mil 3rd, Pit 4th, Chi 5th)
Bruce/Votto neck and neck MVP race (neither takes it)
Bailey CYA winner
Hamilton ROY & GG
Tony Perez. Probably because I thought he was often passed over unfairly while attention focused on Bench, Morgan, and Rose. Partly, too, just because of his obvious likability. And also because of his tremendous talent for getting two out RBI's, especially with doubles in the gaps that brought runners from first. I continue to think there really is something like a talent for driving in runs, and I like doubles-hitters generally.
Peter Edward Rose, just because.
Talent is God Given: be humble.
Fame is man given: be thankful.
Conceit is self given: be careful.
Pete Rose was always my favorite just for the way he played the game. All out, all the time! He was so fun to grow up watching. I got one of those T-shirts, maybe y'all remember, from the late 70's right around his hit streak that had his picture on the front, his number on the back and somewhere it says 'Cincinnati's finest.' I was 10 at the time and I wore it to school my senior year in HS when he broke the hits record. I still carry that shirt in my softball bag, at age 41, to remind me how I should play the game.
The sideburns, the black bat, and the way he just pretty much knocked the tar out of the ball.
I grew up in NY, but had no real baseball fans in the house. My dad was into harness racing more than baseball. The Mets were a non factor.
My friend was from Ohio and a Reds fan. We used to taunt the Yankee fans about '76. That worked until 77-78. But I stuck with them. I always remember the Pete Rose headfirst slide on This Week In Baseball's closing credits.
I used to copy the different batting stances playing wiffle ball or stickball. I did a book report on Johnny Bench's biography. (I wasn't a fan of the Baseball Bunch ... stupid chicken and Tommy Lasorda ruined it.)
I liked all of the BRM, and over time, it was Dave Concepcion who emerged as my all-time 'favorite.'
"The players make the manager, it's never the other way." - Sparky Anderson
For some reason, Caesar Geronimo was always my favorite. I think perhaps he was the least well-known of the starters, and I tended to root for the underdogs.
Opinions are like belly buttons. Everybody has one, and they don't want someone else's shoved into their face.
I was born in 1973, so I don't remember their heyday, but Johnny Bench is my all-time favorite athlete, and seeing his home run on Johnny Bench night is probably my best sports memory of a "live" event.
Fair question, impossible for me to answer. I had 3:
Rose: He'd been on the team as I long as I'd followed it, and by the mid-70s I realized what a phenomenon he was.
Morgan: Some said Rose was the engine that made it go, but you could not watch Morgan go to the mound and hold a meeting and not realize that in some important way the little guy was in charge. Plus, they couldn't get him out.
Griffey: I liked the young guys, still do, and he hit lefty, like me.
Last edited by lollipopcurve; 09-03-2009 at 06:58 PM.
"Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini
The first year I remember following MLB was 1977, which was also the year George Foster went medieval on the National League to the tune of 52 HR, 149 RBI, 124 runs, .320/.382/.631 (not that I knew from OBP & SLG back then).
That pretty much did it for me. Loved watching George swing that black bat.
"I can make all the stadiums rock."
When I was 5, for my birthday, my parents took me to Rikes in downtown Dayton to get a new pair of sneakers. There was a special, buy a pair of Keds, and get a free Reds t-shirt.
The T-shirt was basic white, with the Reds logo in the upper left, just like the uniform, and a player's name and number on the back. You got to pick which player you wanted on the back. I didn't know a thing about baseball or the Reds, but easily picked out Bench's, since his number was my new age.
I then learned everything about him, and he quickly became my favorite player.
I later switched to Foster, in 1975. Again, for my birthday, a got a pack of 1975 Topps baseball cards. My only wish was that there would be a Red in the pack. I opened the pack and the first card I saw was George Foster. I can still visualize opening the pack and seeing the purple and yellow border and Foster posing in his batting stance, trying to look menacing. I was beyond ecstatic.
I immediately anointed him my new favorite player. My brother laughed and said that he wasn't even a starter, he was a scrub. I still make fun of my brother whenever I can, bringing up what a "scrub" Foster was during his career.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein
Pete all the way, when I was a kid. I grew up in Delhi and could identify with a smallish, relatively untalented athlete who won because he just refused to lose.
I grew to respect Johnny Bench more and more over the years. The problem Johnny had is that he just made catching look too easy. I'd say he's probably my favorite nowadays.
Joe Morgan was a little like Bench. When you play the game almost perfectly, it's easy for people to take it for granted.
I also was lucky enough to live in Jack Billingham's neighborhood. He was just a regular guy and he used to come to our baseball practices (his son played with me). Took me aside once and showed me how to throw a ball with two fingers, hung out with the dads, cut his own grass when he was in town. He was a great guy.
Next Reds manager, second shooter. --Confirmed on Redszone.
Joe Morgan was my favorite player on the BRM. Very few middle infielders back then possessed the combination of speed, power, and great defense that he did.
"Why are those Dodger pitchers in the Reds bullpen?"-GAC August 28, 2009