Reds fans know Yadier Molina very well.
The St. Louis Cardinals All-Star catcher has been a thorn in the side of various Reds teams for years. He is also the target of loud boos every time he steps to the plate at Great American Ball Park. The hostile treatment undoubtedly stems from the incident in 2010 where he and Brandon Phillips got into it before sparking an infamous bench-clearing brawl.
But what if I told you that Cincinnati's public enemy No. 1 was almost a member of the Reds? It's true. According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, there was a time when Molina honestly believed he would join the Reds.
In the weeks leading up to the 2000 amateur draft, the Reds could already see the potential in a young catcher from Puerto Rico named Yadier Molina, so they decided to invite him to the Queen City for a series of workouts leading up to the draft, along with several other players they were targeting.
Molina accepted and made the long trek from his native country to attend, agreeing to show off his talent in front of scouts, executives, and a few Reds legends, including Johnny Bench.
From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Molina went on to have quite the audition, he said. With the greats and execs watching, Molina hit at least one home run and displayed the same kind of arm behind the plate that attracted the Cardinals, too. Molina said the Reds timed him at 1.7 seconds to second base. He left Riverfront convinced the Reds were going to draft him. Not quite. The Cardinals grabbed him in the fourth round and the rest is on his baseball card.
“I thought I was going to Cincinnati,” Molina said. “Instead …”
He gestures around the Cardinals clubhouse and leaves the rest unsaid.
Instead … they boo him in Cincinnati.
“That’s a good story, no?” Molina asked.
It's a great story for the Cardinals, obviously. Not so much for the Reds.
Instead, Cincinnati took another catcher in the second round, Pepperdine's Dane Sardinha, who went on to play just two games for the Reds in his career. Yes, I said two games.
Sardinha last played in the majors in 2011 and compiled a career batting average of a lowly .166 with three home runs and 15 RBI in 59 games.
On the other hand, Molina has earned five straight trips to the Midsummer Classic, as well as five consecutive Gold Glove Awards at catcher. The 30-year-old owns a .284 batting average with 83 home runs and 511 RBI in 1,165 career games, all of which have come in a Cardinals uniform.