It’s yet another off-day, and I hope everyone is enjoying Labor Day. I’ve just been reminiscing about the first time I attended a Reds game. It was May 28, 1983, and I was nine years old.

Biggest memory: Wayne Freaking Krenchicki.

May 28, 1983, Reds vs. Pirates at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. The game was memorable for a few reasons. Gary Redus stole third base and home in the game, and I thought that was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. There was a rain delay that seemed to last forever, but I thought it was cool because we sat up in the concourse eating peanuts the whole time, and because we got to stay at the ballpark for a little longer.

Mostly, though, it was memorable because it was Johnny Bench’s last season, and I was so excited to see him play. By that time, Bench was playing 3B for the Reds, but guess who played at 3B that day?

Wayne Krenchicki.

I never forgave Krenchicki for starting over Bench that day. He’s my least favorite player of all time (Non-Danny-Graves Division).

We were with a group that traveled four hours to watch the game on a Saturday, and the group wanted to go to Kings Island the next day instead of the Reds game. Nine year old Chad threw a fit about that one, but we didn’t go to the next game (turns out Bench didn’t play that day, either) and I never saw Bench play live.

Regrets, I’ve had a few.

So, let’s talk about your earliest Reds experiences — or anything else you want to discuss today.

26 Responses

  1. Y-City Jim

    Here’s mine.

    I feel so fortunate that I got to see a game in Crosley Field and to see the great Willy Mays before he totally lost it. My mom, dad, and sister all went. It transformed my sister into an avid baseball fan. As for my fourteen year-old self, WOW. I was totally in awe of it all. What a memory! It still brings a tear to my eye, all of us together enjoying the great American past time.

  2. justcorbly

    I’m older than most of you guys. My first Reds game was as a wee child at Crosley Field in 1956, Frank Robinson’s rookie year. Robinson ran hard into the wall backpedaling on a fly ball. Don’t know if he caught the thing, but he sure took a spill.

    Also recall a game in the ’70’s sitting out along the third base line. While the Reds pitcher was happily at work, George Foster sat down to ties his shoes.

    Also saw the bizarre play in game 6 of the 1970 Reds-Baltimore series ar Riverfront that involved Bernie Carbo running for home and an umpire who found himself in the wrong place.

  3. John of Muncie

    When I was growing up, we never had the money to go to Reds games, and when we did, we always did something else on vacation because no one liked baseball but me. So I didn’t see any games until I was in my 20s.

    My best friend took me to a Reds-Padres game at Riverfront on July 18, 1998. Got to see Sean Casey, Reggie Sanders, Barry Larkin, and one Paul Konerko, who we all knew would be good. (But getting Mike Cameron was a good move for 1999.)

    Greg Vaughn, not yet a Red, hit one off the face of the moon. Reds lose 2-1. Had a blast though.

    Wasn’t until several years later that another buddy’s dad started getting us free tickets through work and taking us to UDF in Lawrenceburg after the game. Mmm…UDF…

  4. Fundy

    My earliest memory of going to Riverfront was in 1990 when I was 7 years old. I had been to games before that, but this game Ill never forget for two reasons. The first thing I always remember was watchind the wave go around that dinosaur. I dont know that there was ever a better stadium for a wave. The second is waiting in line for two innings on the first base side to get down a get an autograph from Marge Schott. Only kids were allowed to get in line, and I have no idea if it was something she regularly did, but when I finally got down to her and was second in line – she stopped signing autographs and we all had to go back to our seats.
    Ill never forget it, and ever since Ive hated old Margie.

  5. art

    In the early 50s, went w a Cub Scout pack. Reds play the Brooklyn Dodgers in the era of Kluszewski, Post, Bell, Temple, McMillan, etc. Temple on 1st stole 2nd. Jackie Robinson thought he was out (from where I sat, I thought he was to) and got himself thrown out of the game for protesting by kicking his glove, which came down at 1st base.

  6. Kevin

    I can’t believe everyone remembers theirs. I feel like a jerk! I must’ve been 5 or 6 though. I just remember the uniforms and the ball park! I think it was in ’92 or ’93.

  7. Dunner was cool

    i was like 6
    so i dont remember mine
    but we sat in the nose bleeds and i was afraid of falling
    we saw barry larkin who was my favorite player
    it was at good ol cinergy (blech)

  8. Kevin

    I also remember going into an alley with my dad and a scalper and being scaaaared out of my mind.

  9. pinson343

    My first experience with watching the Reds was on tv in a spring training game with the Yankees in 1959. I lived in Connecticut and the Reds were almost never on tv then. The Giants and Dodgers had departed and the Mets hadn’t come along yet. The Reds had a young outfieder, Vada Pinson, who had only played a few games in the MLs. He was safe at 3rd base on a close play, and Phil Rizzuto said: “Holy cow, can that kid run.” The first regular season game I saw of the Reds on tv was an easy win over I forget whom, Frank Robinson homered twice and Pinson also homered.

    First Reds games at the park: all 3
    games of a series with the Mets at Shea in 1975. The Reds played badly in the first two games, losing both. Then in the 3rd game they scored 2 runs off Tom Seaver in the first inning and held on to win, 2-1. Dave Kingman struck out 4 times with lots of men on base.

  10. pinson343

    PS That regular season tv win was either 1959 or 1960.

  11. per14

    First Reds memory was watching Rose get 4192. I was four years old. The very next day, we went to a Reds game (we lived about 100 miles away from Cinci). I don’t think Rose played. It was fun. I remember Nick Eskasy hit a grand slam, but now I’m thinking that might have been a few years later. Those early memories run together.

  12. renbutler

    I think my first was 8/30/1987, Cubs at Reds. I was just 11, but felt so cool to hang out with my older sister and her friends who drove us down there. They were there to see the Cubs (and my sister’s favorite heartthrob, Dave Martinez). But I was there to see my Reds and my hero, Eric Davis.

    Reds lost. 🙁

  13. Dave H.

    July 11, 1972. I was 13 and a huge baseball fan. Back then I could tell you every team’s starting lineup, pitching rotation, and most of their bench and bullpen. I had to look up the exact date in my 1973 Reds Media Guide to be sure, but I remember the details – Reds beat the Pirates 5-0, Billingham pitched, Cesar Geronimo was the offensive leader with a multi-hit game. This was my first major league game ever only because of a heart-breaking decision by my Dad not to go to a game in Atlanta, even though we had tickets, in late 1971. We had gone to Six Flags for a family vacation, and the day before the game that we were supposed to go to, someone got shot in the parking lot outside the old Atlanta ballpark and something like 80 cars had their tires slashed. I still thought it was worth the risk to go.

  14. preach

    It wasn’t my first memory but I remember going with a friend of mine and his family to see a game at Riverfront vs the Dodgers. We arrived a little late and I found out that Dusty Baker had hit a homerun that landed in my seat in the prior inning. We had seats in the outfield and I overlooked Dusty. While we were Reds fans, we rooted for Dusty throughout the rest of the game. He made an error in the eigth or ninth to cost his team the game….some things never change, I suppose….

    I also remember going to a game with my T-ball team and bringing my glove. We were in the nosebleeds just a few rows from the top. Needless to say, the glove was pretty useless that day.

  15. rob

    July of ’76 at Wrigley Field with my grandfather. I was 8 and don’t remember details of the game, except the Cubs won. As we all know the Reds didn’t do much losing in 1976!

  16. Chris W

    My first game may have been one of those with Chad. I was too young to remember my first game. I was probably younger than 5.

    Part of me wishes I had waited to take my little one to his first game so that he would remember it. Unfortunately, the chances of him remembering his first one are slim, considering he was just 2.5 months old when I took him! He’s been to at least 10-20 games now, and is still just 4 years old.

  17. Chris W

    Some of my fondest memories of my first games are: Looking out over the river at old Riverfront, smelling the food being prepared from outside the stadium, trying to get autographs in the underground parking, the OLD Mr. Reds race, and the clapping hands image on the score board. I loved those clapping hands. I also remember sitting in the blues one game out in left or right field down the line. My seat was on the edge, and I was constantly afraid I was going to drop my glove down onto the field and never get it back.

  18. Y-City Jim

    Also saw the bizarre play in game 6 of the 1970 Reds-Baltimore series ar Riverfront that involved Bernie Carbo running for home and an umpire who found himself in the wrong place.

    Guess the Armbrister call years later was the make-up call for that one.

  19. Y-City Jim

    My first professional game ever was a Columbus Jets game in Columbus, OH. I remember tons of foul balls being hit over the roof behind home plate. I not sure of the year. Some time in the 60’s. I often wonder what Pirates of the 70’s were on that team.

    Sadly, today was the final game to be played at Cooper Stadium. Next year, the Clippers move into the brand new Huntington Park.

  20. Dave H.

    My children’s first game was the very first interleague game against the White Sox June 13,1997. I drilled my then-7 year old daughter and 5 year old son on who the important players were – they still remember “The Big Hurt” and Barry Larkin, who my son was able to remember because he had a Reds Teddy bear named Beary Larkin.

  21. Dave from Louisville

    First game in attendance was in college, at Riverfront in 01 or 02 against the Cubs. I went with a big group of guys, most of whom were clubs fans. We were down several runs going into the bottom of the night and a carload of the Cubs fans left the game early.

    The Reds ended up winning in walk-off fashion. I called my buddeies to talk trash and they didn’t believe me that the Cubs lost. I got to harass all of my buddies about how the Cubs will always be losers. It was great.

  22. justcorbly

    Since we’re going down memory lane…

    Those who didn’t get a chance to sit in Crosley Field missed a fine thing indeed. Compact, grassy, it maxed out at something around 35,000. Players were close enough to reach out and touch. It looked, felt and smelled like a baseball park (peanuts, cigars, and beer: “Get Moody With Hudy”).

    Riverfront: Inside it, you really couldn’t tell what state you were in. At the height of summer, it was hot in that thing. And much worse on the artificial turf. Ground temperature in the park often peaked out around 120 or so. I remember Nuxhall interviewing Bench after he’d caught both ends of a doubleheader. The guy was exhausted and made no sense at all.

  23. Mike, Billings, MT

    My first game was, Thursday, June 8, 1967, just went to Baseball Reference to find the boxscore, great memories! I was 11 years old and a SF Giant/Willie Mays fan (It took 2 years for the Reds to win out in my loyalties). Saw Bobby Bolin start for the Giants, Sammy Ellis for the Reds. Willie Mays was in CF. Tony Perez hit a HR in a losing effort for the Reds. It was the first HR I saw Tony hit and he hit one each time I went for the next 5 or 6 years! Ollie Brown, Willie McCovey, and Tom Haller went deep for the Giants. Mays made a good catch in CF. Glad I saw this post and found the game results!


  24. PeteyHendrix

    My first game was at Riverfront, and I wish desperately that still had the ticket stub so I would know the exact date. My family was the poorest I knew growing up, but my friend from school, Jason, had a hotshot uncle who wrote books about sports cars. He took his nephew and me to a day game in which Dave Parker hit a home run to guide the Reds to victory. I had my first Frosty Malt. And the turf glowed so green that I felt I was in a magical place. I’ve kept every ticket stub since, and I have a logbook for my son that records every game he ever watches. I hope someday he’ll think it’s a nice thing to have. I sure like it.

  25. nick in va

    I know this is an old thread, but I meant to comment on it a long time ago. And hey, I’m working on my comment count. Regardless of how many comments I have, I still like my odds to win the most words typed with adding the least to the conversation.

    I don’t remember my first game exactly, but going to Riverfront was always a treat. My grandpa took me and my brother to quite a few games. He locked his keys in his car one game and missed almost the whole thing waiting on AAA.

    He took us to another where there was an incredibly long rain delay. We waited it out. I don’t remember for sure if the game was called or not. I mostly remember that my grandpa had the patience to wait with us. Of course, I think he loved being at the stadium as much as we did. It was always fun to listen to 700 on the way home and get a recap.

    I’ve still got two of the miniature bats from games. I wonder if they have the year on them? I’ll have to check. I used to always love stepping on the spongy stuff on the way to the gate.

    My dad got free tickets from Marathon promotion one time. He gave the tickets to a friend and we went with his granddaughter. She knew almost nothing about baseball. The seats were near the Jumbotron in almost dead center field. Good thing we had binoculars.

    Good times.