One of the best parts about starting The Haught Corner is talking to the “baseball people” who have meant so much to me. It’s great to be able to tell them that, and give them back a little something with an interview or a story.
I just finished a phone interview with former MLB manager Dave Bristol, and it was a great, great thrill.
I love baseball “lifers.” And there is no bigger baseball lifer than Dave Bristol.
When Dave got the Reds job in midseason 1966, I was a kid getting ready to start junior high school (remember that term?). I was also just starting to really get into baseball — and what a team the Reds were to learn from: Rose, Helms, Lee May, Bench, Pinson, Maloney, Nolan — on and on.
That’s the team that became The Big Red Machine.
And no one — no one — had more to do with that team’s development than Dave Bristol.
Want to learn the game? Here’s how you play: hard-nosed, fundamentally sound baseball. Dave taught the players, in the minors and in Cincinnati, and he educated us fans, too.
Dave is 85 now, and still sharp as a tack. It is not easy to keep up with him in conversation because he still remembers so much, even after all these years. And he still coaches high-school players!
It was great to see Dave honored with induction into the Reds Hall of Fame July 21. It was long overdue, and it was a tossup whether Dave or his family was happier to see the outpouring of love and affection and respect his players have for him.
And they all talk about how Dave made them better people as well as better players.
I will be posting a couple of stories about Dave soon, and I will write a biography of him for the SABR BioProject.
It is my honor to do so.
Thanks for everything, Dave. Can’t wait until we can talk baseball again!