Baseball’s reality, dreams, history make it special

One of the great things about baseball is that in many ways it is a time machine. It is about the game today, future stars and special moments of the past. In these photos by Ronald Hawkins, we see images of today, the future stars and Hall of Famers.

Cincinnati Reds All Star pitcher Luis Castillo allowed the Pittsburgh Pirates just one run in the seven-plus innings he pitched July 31, 2019, as the Reds won 4-1.
Luis Castillo fires.
Red Tucker Barnhart is hit by a pitch July 31, 2019, as the Reds went on to defeat the Pirates 4-1.
The legendary Joey Votto swings away July 31, 2019, against a Pirates pitcher’s offerings.

Prospects

The 2019 season has been a good season for Reds prospects to make it to the major leagues. Below are pictures of two of the successful prospects while playing for the Louisville Bats. They’ve done well after advancing.

Nick Senzel, who was the Reds top prospect, has battled back from injuries and vertigo to advance to the majors where he has been one of the top rookies of the year even while playing a new position for him.
Nick Senzel in center field for the Bats, who were calling themselves the Derby City Mint Juleps in this game in the week before the Kentucky Derby.
Nick Senzel.

Josh VanMeter
earned a trip to the Reds roster by hitting an unexpected, early season 14 home runs for the Bats. He wasn’t even on the Reds 40-man roster, but now is hitting over .300 for the Reds..
And more recently, we’ve seen the emergence of Aristides “The Destroyer” Aquino’s who by hitting seven homers in his first 10 games has tied the Major League record for most home runs in a player’s first 10 games.
Aquino’s Louisville Bats official picture.

Memories

The Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals have impressive halls of fame and figures around their stadiums commemorating the great moments of their past. The Reds are celebrating the 150-year anniversary of establishment of the first all professional team in professional baseball, which was based in Cincinnati. That team was disbanded after the 1870 season.

In the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum an exhibit includes figures representing the 1869 team, which went undefeated and traveled from coast to coast. Check the great, fact-based fictional book on that 1869 team by Darryl Brock called, “If I Never Get Back.”
This statue of Johnny Bench in the Reds hall shows the all-time great baseball catcher in his catching gear.
The Cincinnati Reds isn’t he only team celebrating their history. The St. Louis Cardinals, who have won more World Series titles than the Reds, have an impressive museum adjacent to their park. The shirt is of great Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson, who was a holy terror on the mound and one of baseball’s all-time great pitchers.
Stan “the Man” Musial was one of the greatest hitters in baseball history. He held the National League record for most career hits until Pete Rose broke the record.
One trade Cubs fans have been trying to forget for more than half a century was the trade of Lou Brock to the Cardinals. When Brock retired he held multiple stolen base records and had more than 3,000 hits in his career.
The Rockford Peaches, one of the great women’s baseball teams in the 1940 war years and shortly thereafter, are commemorated in the Cardinals Hall of Fame.
And, of course, the Reds have several mascots including Mr. Redlegs. Here, Kim Hawkins cuddles with a figure of the mascot across the road from the Great American Ballpark.
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Swiatek-Hawkins picks contest continues

For nearly 40 years, writer Jeff Swiatek and Ronald Hawkins have shared competing picks regarding the upcoming Major League Baseball season. The person with the most correct picks is the beneficiary of a dinner from his opponent.

An opening day in Cincinnati. Photo by Ronald Hawkins.

This tradition began when the writers were working at a daily newspaper in Carlisle, Pa. Hawkins has moved many times and Swiatek a few times with both somehow ending up in Indiana. Despite the moves, the competition has continued unabated.

Hawkins has completed his 2019 predictions and has agreed to post them here. He confesses to being a lifelong Cincinnati Reds fan, but isn’t blinded to the challenges the team faces in the 150 anniversary of Cincinnati claiming the first all-professional team.

The predictions:

2019 Major League Baseball Predictions

Division/Pennant/world series winners

National League

East: Philadelphia Phillies

Central: Milwaukee Brewers

West: Los Angeles Dodgers

Wild Card: St. Louis Cardinals

Wild Card: Atlanta Braves

Playoffs

National League

Braves over Cardinals

Dodgers over Braves

Phillies over Brewers

Phillies over Dodgers

American League

East: New York Yankees

Central: Cleveland Indians

West: Houston Astros

Wild Card: Boston Red Sox

Wild Card: Tampa Bay Rays

Playoffs

Red Sox over Rays

Houston over Red Sox

Yankees over Cleveland

Houston over Yankees

World Series

Phillies over Astros

Individual Honors

National League

Average: Jesse Winker

Home Runs: Christian Yelich

Wins: Max Scherzer

American League

Average: Mookie Betts

Home Runs: Aaron Judge

Wins: Corey Kluber

ODDITIES

Reds win 87 games and barely miss the playoffs

Bryce Harper and Manny Machado each miss 26 games

Machado benched for failing to hustle.

Christian Yelich hits for the cycle again, the third time in two years, but this time it isn’t against the Reds.

Winker has a six hit game.

Harper hits six homers over two games.

Ten games are showed out in March and the first week of April

Reds beat the Pirates in a snowball fight

A Bedford Winter Holiday opening

BEDFORD, IND.

One thing many small towns do just right is celebrate holidays. Bedford kicked off its winter holiday celebration Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, with a variety of activities including a nighttime Christmas parade.

One of the great Bedford holiday attractions across from the Lawrence County Courthouse is the dazzling, multi-story 12 Months of Christmas store, which beginning next spring will be open year round. All photos by Ronald Hawkins.

Baseball exhibit opens today

The RDH Great  Stories month long Baseball exhibit is scheduled to open today at the Martinsville, Ind., main branch of the Morgan County Public Library.

The library is open seven days per week, but the hours vary depending on the day of the week. For details about library  at 110 S. Jefferson St., Martinsville, Ind., go to http://morgancountylibrary.info/

Hall of Famers

The exhibit includes items related to multiple major league and minor league professional teams.

Baseball greats

Scandals