Cincy's Hall inductees set for Red-carpet treatment
Club to enshrine Griffey Jr., Parker, Oester, Beckley in special weekend
CINCINNATI -- Major League Baseball's oldest franchise has 75 players enshrined in its Hall of Fame. That number will increase by four on Sunday evening, when Ken Griffey Jr., Dave Parker, Ron Oester and 19th century first baseman Jake Beckley are inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame during a gala following Cincinnati's series finale with the Marlins at Great American Ball Park.
They will join baseball luminaries such as Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Frank Robinson and others already enshrined, and the weekend will be packed with celebratory events to honor their careers.
Before Friday's 2-1 Reds loss to the Marlins, Griffey Jr., Parker and Oester were on hand for a meet and greet at the Reds Hall of Fame, which is adjacent to the ballpark. Immediately following the game, the three were introduced, along with more than 20 other Reds legends, on the field before fireworks lit up the sky.
On Saturday, the three players will again participate in a meet-and-greet session, and will be honored in a ceremony on the field before the Reds-Marlins contest. The master of ceremonies will be longtime Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman, and Griffey Jr., Parker and Oester will each address the crowd and throw out ceremonial first pitches.
The induction gala on Sunday will have a very local feel to it, as the three living inductees all have ties to the Queen City beyond baseball.
Griffey Jr., the son of Reds Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Sr., grew up in Cincinnati while his father played for the Reds as part of the Big Red Machine that won back-to-back World Series championships in 1975 and '76. Griffey Jr. was drafted by the Mariners out of Cincinnati's Moeller High School in 1987 and after 11 seasons with Seattle, was traded to his hometown Reds, for whom he played from 2000-2008.
Griffey Jr. is sixth on the career home run list, having belted 630 homers over his 22-season career. The 1997 American League MVP, 13-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove-winning center fielder hit 210 homers with the Reds, including his 400th, 500th and 600th.
Parker grew up in the shadow of Crosley Field, the Reds' home prior to the construction of Riverfront Stadium. He attended Courter Tech High School before being drafted by the Pirates in 1970. After winning the 1978 National League MVP award and helping Pittsburgh to a World Series championship in 1979, the right fielder joined the Reds in 1984. In four seasons with Cincinnati, he was a two-time All-Star and led the NL with 42 doubles and 125 RBIs in 1985.
Oester was born and raised in the Queen City, attending Withrow High School before being drafted by the Reds in 1974. He spent his entire 13-season career with Cincinnati, debuting in 1978 and winning a World Series ring in his final season as a member of the 1990 championship squad. The middle infielder was a career .265 hitter.
Beckley had a 20-year career from 1888-1907, playing for the Reds from 1897-1903. He batted .325 over his seven seasons with Cincinnati, batting over .300 in six of those seasons. When he retired in 1907, his 244 career triples ranked first all-time. He was posthumously inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.