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Dunn, Bristol, Norman feted at Reds HOF gala

Night culminates with trio of 2018 inductees receiving ceremonial red blazers
MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- A weekend of celebrations to honor the three Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame inductees, Adam Dunn, Dave Bristol and Fred Norman, culminated with a gala on Sunday night. Reds legends past and present gathered at the Duke Energy Convention Center for an evening of fun and fellowship as the trio received their red jackets at the end of the evening.

Roughly 1,000 people attended the gala, which is held every two years. The entire Reds active roster and coaching staff were in attendance, as well as roughly 20 current Reds Hall of Famers and their families. 

CINCINNATI -- A weekend of celebrations to honor the three Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame inductees, Adam Dunn, Dave Bristol and Fred Norman, culminated with a gala on Sunday night. Reds legends past and present gathered at the Duke Energy Convention Center for an evening of fun and fellowship as the trio received their red jackets at the end of the evening.

Roughly 1,000 people attended the gala, which is held every two years. The entire Reds active roster and coaching staff were in attendance, as well as roughly 20 current Reds Hall of Famers and their families. 

Reds president and chief operating officer Phil Castellini announced at the beginning of the event that the Reds were kicking off a $5 million capital campaign to modernize the Reds Hall of Fame. Castellini also said next month the Reds will unveil a logo and plan for celebrating the 150th anniversary of professional baseball in 2019.

Tweet from @Reds: Introduction of Reds past and present. #RedsHOF2018 👏 pic.twitter.com/Lv7gLqR9Fr

Several who played with or for Dunn, Bristol and Norman were in attendance and told stories of fond memories. Barry Larkin told a tale of he and Dunn fishing together and having a close encounter with an alligator that Dunn hooked with a fishing line.

"Adam is an outdoorsman and he is teaching me while he does his thing," Larkin said. "He decides to take his treble hook, throws it over the back of the gator and starts reeling the gator in on the side of this nine-foot boat."

Larkin called it one of the more uncomfortable times of his life as he laughed at the memory.

"But I wouldn't want to do it with anyone other than the Big Donkey," Larkin said with a smile.

Johnny Bench recalled Norman being traded to the Reds from San Diego in 1973 and bringing a 1-7 record with him, only to throw back-to-back shutouts in his first two outings and take an attempt at a third consecutive shutout to the ninth inning.

"Freddy was just one of those competitors we all admired and respected because he had grit and he had guts," Bench said. " He threw 26 1/3 innings of shutout baseball because he knew that we were backing him and we accepted him as a teammate."

Norman was an instrumental piece to the Big Red Machine's starting rotation and was invaluable to their back-to-back World Series runs in 1975 and '76.

Former Reds infielder and manager Tommy Helms recalled playing under Bristol as he introduced him on stage. Helms credits Bristol for teaching him the fundamentals of baseball.

"If you play for Dave Bristol you will be fundamentally ready to get to the big leagues," Helms said. "You are going to be a better person because of Dave Bristol. All the dreams you can have about playing in the big leagues, he will give you that chance to be a big leaguer. He taught so many people. People don't realize how many friends he has."

Tony Perez added that he would never have made it to the National Baseball Hall of Fame if it were not for Bristol.

Bristol recalled Helms being the only player in Spring Training he would request to work with throughout the season.

"I thought I could make him a better player," Bristol said. "It turns out he made me a better player."

Dunn thanked his family and friends and told a story about his wife Rachael suggesting that he hit right-handed after a game in which Dunn struggled mightily.

"I didn't know how to respond to that," Dunn said as the crowd laughed. "She is a good one and I am really blessed to have her."

The night culminated with the trio of inductees receiving their ceremonial red blazers signifying their induction into the Reds Hall of Fame, joining the 89 members of this prestigious club and etching a place into the history of baseball's first franchise.

"Congratulations to Adam Dunn, Dave Bristol and Fred Norman," Castellini said. "I can promise you that your legacy will live on forever at the Reds Hall of Fame."

Brian Scott Rippee is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Reds