Reds Hall of Fame program delights, engages senior community

January 30th, 2024

The Reds have long been known for their commitment to celebrating the franchise’s rich history and connecting the past with the present. The most effective means through which they do this is the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum presented by Dinsmore.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2024, the Hall of Fame welcomes tens of thousands of guests each year, informing and engaging them with an interactive and comprehensive stroll through the 155-year history of professional baseball’s oldest team. Through its membership program, ballpark and museum tours, educational programs and so much more, there is something for Reds fans of all ages at the Hall of Fame, whether they are diehards or just being introduced to the game.

One of the specific offerings from the museum is the Legends Remembered senior outreach and community engagement program. Launched in 2016, Legends Remembered was the brainchild of Dee Taylor, a former Reds Hall of Fame volunteer.

Taylor began her volunteer services with the Reds in 2011 when she worked at the door of the Hall of Fame greeting guests. One of her coworkers suggested she apply for a paid position after seeing the way she so positively interacted with fans, and by 2012, she was on the Reds’ staff.

While working at the ballpark, Taylor noticed most of the different events, programs and clubs provided by the Reds catered to youth. The fan club options were popular among kids and school tours were a regular occurrence, but there wasn’t much aimed at reaching the older generation of Reds fans.

“I thought we were missing the boat,” Taylor said. “We were hitting the youth but ignoring the seniors. The older people remember the Big Red Machine and beyond -- Ted Kluszewski, Joe Nuxhall and all those great players. So we needed to make an effort with that group of fans to try and engage with them like we do the younger generations.”

By the 2016 season, with Taylor as the driving force and the Hall of Fame lending its full support, Legends Remembered was born. The mobile program brings Reds baseball to the doorstep of local retirement communities and senior centers to interact with residents. Organizations that sign up for “Legends” receive three interactive components: a traveling artifact exhibit with a Reds mascot, a special guest visit featuring a Reds Hall of Famer or alumnus and either a baseball memories program or Hall of Fame trivia. A private Hall of Fame tour is also included.

Special guests have included Reds greats such as George Foster, Marty Brennaman, Todd Benzinger and the late Tom Browning, among others. The legends share stories, take questions and pose for pictures with the attendees.

Foster, who participated in 12 events in 2023, visited Traditions at Camargo in Madeira as his last stop late last fall. A natural storyteller and entertainer, the Reds’ single-season home run king told stories from his Big Red Machine days, talked about playing alongside and against legendary ballplayers and so much more.

“This program is amazing,” he said. “It gives people a chance to see players they wouldn’t be able to see. Being able to bring the program to people who are limited in what they can do or where they can travel is a great idea.”

As for Foster’s favorite part?

“Getting a chance to make that personal connection,” he said. “The players don’t really get a chance to do that with the fans. On the field, you see the fans up there, but now, you get a chance to interact with them, they can ask questions, and for me, that’s fun. I get a chance to get to know them, what they’re thinking and how they feel. The Reds are one of the heartbeats of Cincinnati. The fans live and die by what they do. So when I talk to players today, I let them know it’s important to interact with the fans.”

The program has meant a lot to so many people since its inception. Program attendees always show up for the events with smiles on their faces and often wearing Reds gear, eager to ask questions, share memories and relive some of the most celebrated eras in Cincinnati baseball history.

And as much as it means to them, it might mean even more to Taylor.

“I love the program, and I want to do this as long as I can,” she said. “When you deal with people for five or six years and know what they’re going through, they become family. It’s been really neat to meet these people and engage with them. It touches my heart each time we go to these locations, and it makes me keep going. I think it’s one of the neatest things we offer at the Hall of Fame. School groups and tours that come to us are great. But the seniors can’t come to us, so for us to go to them, I know how much it means to them, and it also means so much to me personally.”