Sunday, October 14, 2012

Top 12 games of the 2012 season: No. 10

Today marks day three of the Top 12 Games of the Reds Season series. The campaign may have ended abruptly, and in somber fashion, but there is still plenty to smile about when thinking about the past six months or so. We will be counting down the greatest contests from the year each day until we reach the number one spot.

But for now, here is No. 10 on the list:

August 25, 2012
Reds 8, Cardinals 2

+ Cincinnati blasts the hated St. Louis Cardinals by a score of 8-2 before a soldout crowd of 41,680 at Great American Ball Park. Brandon Phillips and Ryan Ludwick each tally three hits a piece in the rout. Mike Leake chips in two hits of his own, including a double, while earning the win after pitching 6.2 innings of 2-run baseball.

But the main story on this day wasn't actually the outcome of the game, it was what transpired beforehand. In pre-game ceremonies on the field, the Reds officially retire the No. 11 in honor of hometown legend Barry Larkin. Larkin, joined on the field by members of his family, former teammates and members of the Reds organization, watched as his number was unveiled, accompanied by a fireworks display. Wearing a gray sports coat and shirt and black pants and wiping his eyes frequently with a white towel, he said he was proud of his hometown. Larkin was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on July 22nd.

Larkin spent his entire 19-year career with Cincinnati and was inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame this summer. He hit .295 with 198 home runs and 960 RBIs, winning the NL MVP award when he helped the Reds win the NL Central in 1995. The 12-time All-Star also served as team captain while winning nine Silver Slugger and three Gold Glove awards in his career.

Larkin's is the ninth uniform number to be retired in honor of a Reds player or manager, joining Concepcion, Fred Hutchinson's No. 1, Johnny Bench's 5, Joe Morgan's 8, Sparky Anderson's 10, Ted Kluszewski's 18, Frank Robinson's 20 and Tony Perez's 24. Each of the honorees except Concepcion, Hutchinson and Kluszewski has been inducted into Cooperstown.

Phillips revels in the chance to catch Larkin's ceremonial first pitch.

"Catching my favorite player's first pitch was an honor," Phillips said.

For those wanting to check out the past games on the list...

No. 12 - Reds pound out 17 hits to complete sweep of Tribe
No. 11 - Valdez's walk-off bunt lifts Cincy over Detroit

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