- Cincinnati Reds Legends by Mike Shannon
The Cincinnati Reds are the longest-surviving franchise in major league history. Few teams have enjoyed such a glorious and interesting history. From 1869, when the cricket-playing Wright brothers (Harry and George) founded the Cincinnati Red Stockings, to the present, Cincinnati fans have enjoyed watching dozens of players worthy of legendary stature.
Author Mike Shannon, a transplant from Jacksonville, Florida, readily adopted the Cincinnati Reds in the 1970s. A prolific author, Shannon has written over twenty books on baseball and is well versed to profile the forty players who best fit the definition of “legend” in Cincinnati’s diamond history. From the Wright Brothers, Edd Roush, and Eppa Rixey to Johnny Vander Meer, Bucky Walters, and Ted Kluszewski; from Frank Robinson, the Big Red Machine of Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, George Foster, and latecomers Barry Larkin, Ken Griffey Jr., and Tom Browning, the legends go on and on.
Shannon encapsulates the greatness of each of these Reds in deft vignettes that are remarkable as much for their insight as their interest. One might question, however, whether Sean Casey, Brandon Phillips, and Joey Votto qualify for legendary status prior to their retirements.
What sets this coffee-table book apart is the outstanding original artwork of three gifted baseball artists. They portray full-page color images that are joyful and insightful to behold. Chris Felix’s beautifully executed portraits present a dignified look of an old master artist. Scott Hannigs brings to life the glory of Reds’ baseball history. The digitally [End Page 138] created artifacts by Donnie Pollard are arresting to the reader’s eyes. This trio of artists, with rigorous attention to detail and artistic design, have captured these stellar athletes in true form, either in action or still-life poses. A listing of the portrayals identified by each author would have been appropriate.
These four literary and artistic contributors have combined to provide a well-written and sculpted portrayal of forty great performers who have added significant luster to the Cincinnati Reds’ wonderful history.