Out of Bounds: The summit, part deux
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Last week I started imagining who the real ‘legends’ of Cincinnati sports folklore would be.’
If there were to be a monument modeled after Mt. Rushmore of Cincinnati sports heroes, who would they be?’ Last week I uncovered two: Oscar Robertson and Pete Rose.
Here are the next two.’
Not one citizen has impacted the city as Paul Brown has.’ His spot on the mountain comes following his falling out with Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell.’ Last year, a movie about Syracuse Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis graced the silver screen.’ What you may not know about the first black Heisman winner is that then Browns head coach Paul Brown made a trade for him in 1961 from Washington without the owner, Modell’s knowledge.’
This put an already questionable working relationship on ice.’ Brown was fired and after years of receiving a paycheck from the Browns for basically golfing, he convinced the American Football League to create a new franchise in 1967 in the city of Cincinnati.’
From there, futility always had a home.’ ‘
Sorry, I couldn’t help it.’
In all seriousness, the Bengals have provided fans of the city with the brand of excitement only the NFL can bring and the city an economic engine that makes Cincinnati relevant.’ Easily, Brown is a man that deserves to be looked at as one of the city’s biggest icons.
Ken Griffey Jr. is a first-ballot Hall of Famer.’ Although he was born in Donora, Pa, he grew up in Cincinnati and attended Moeller High School where he stood out as a phenom talent on the diamond, the ‘kid’ of Ken Griffey Sr. of the Big Red Machine.’
Another Moeller graduate, Barry Larkin, won an MVP in 1995, took the Reds to the post-season three times, once winning a world championship.’
Neither of them would have their mug on my mountain.
Marty Brennaman’s would.
Brian Kessler once wrote, ‘The more we write the less we die.” It means that our words will live on forever after we pass; that our thoughts, when documented, are immortal.’
Those words struck me poignantly one day as I sat and waited for friends before a game outside of Great American Ballpark.’ Over the speaker I heard a compilation of years of Reds baseball through the sound of a voice that has been able to make millions feel at home with just one word.’ ‘
Junior and Barry may have provided us with the great moments, but Marty has been the one to paint all of them for us.’ And since 1974, and after Marty decides to leave the booth, a win will forever signify that ‘this one belongs to the Reds.’
Marty, if he were writing this column, would probably argue that his partner for 30 years would be a better fit on the monument.’ To be honest, I find it hard to argue with putting ‘Nuxy’ on a mountain for our visitors and natives to see for miles across the valley.’
But that’s Marty, and that’s why he belongs among Cincinnati’s immortals.’ He has always given us everything exactly as he saw it, and I see him among our city’s greatest heroes.