The sun is shining a lot more on Cincinnati these days, which means baseball is just around the corner.
Former Cincinnati Reds pitchers Bronson Arroyo and Danny Graves will lead the traditional Opening Day parade through downtown as grand marshals on March 30. officials from the Reds and the Findlay Market parade committee announced on March 8. They will be joined by various former athletes, marching bands and other groups that will make up the contingent.
Parade and game
The opening day parade steps off at noon from Findlay Market. The group will head south on Race Street before turning east on 5th Street and ending at the Taft Theater (see full itinerary). On the day of the parade, the city center is usually very crowded. According to the committee, about 130,000 people took part in the 2022 parade.
In addition to Arroyo and Graves, former athletes participating will include Reds outfielder George Foster, Bengals kicker Jim Breech, Bengals lineman and offensive lineman Anthony Munoz, former Bengals defensive end Ken Anderson and Olympic track star of Athletics Mary Danner Weinberg. There will also be a host of other veterans from the Reds, Bengals, FC Cincinnati, University of Cincinnati and MMA fighters.
Non-athletes will also be on hand. Otis Williams of Charms and the King Records Legacy Foundation, Miss America 2000 Heather French Henry, the current Miss America representatives from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, the Cincinnati Bird Barons and all three Reds mascots. According to the website of the parade, about 160 people will take part in the event (see the full list of participants).
After the parade, fans can walk south to Great American Ball Park, where The Reds host the Pittsburgh Pirates at 4:10 p.m.
Bronson Arroyo spent eight consecutive seasons with the Reds from 2006-2013. After that, he spent one final season in Cincinnati in 2017 before retiring.
During his time in the big leagues, Arroyo was a pitch eater and a shutout, and he had at least four pitches — a slider, a chain-up, a moving fastball and a curveball — that served him well. As a redshirt, he has pitched over 200 innings in every season but two, even hitting 240 2/3 innings in 2006. Arroyo has also been good for strikeouts, regularly throwing more than 120 in a Reds season with the exception of 2017. Arroyo had 1,157 career strikeouts for the Reds, a feat accomplished by only five other pitchers on the club.
The pitcher’s big moment in the 2012 postseason endeared him to Queen City fans forever. As the Reds’ starter in Game 2 of the National League Division Series, Arroyo pitched a perfect game through five innings and the team defeated the San Francisco Giants 9–0 (Cincinnati ended up losing the series in five games).
Arroyo won a World Series championship with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and was traded to Cincinnati in 2006. An avid music lover, Arroyo’s Bronson Arroyo Band has performed regularly throughout Greater Cincinnati since his retirement.
Arroyo was announced as the Reds’ first 2023 inductee into the Hall of Fame in October, was chosen by Reds fans, alumni and the media. In 2023, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame for the first time but did not receive enough votes to remain on future ballots.
Danny Graves was traded to the Reds in July 1997, where he would spend the most productive years of his career. The following season, Graves began to make his mark with eight saves and a 3.32 ERA. It was a taste of what was to come as Graves became the Reds’ career save leader with 182 saves. In five full seasons as the team’s closer, Graves led the team in saves, one of six Cincinnati pitchers to do so for four or more consecutive seasons. In 2004, he had 41 saves, the third-most by a Reds pitcher in a single season.
Graves finished in the MLB top 10 in saves four times during his career. In 2003, Graves was a starter for one season before returning as the dominant player he has become. He earned MLB All-Star honors in 2000 and 2004. In addition to his pitching prowess, Graves also gained notoriety behind the plate. Coming up in an era where National League pitchers hit for themselves, Graves knocked out homers in 2000 and 2001. He played for the Reds until they traded him in 2005.
Graves was selected by the Reds’ Hall of Fame Veterans Committee for induction.
Along with late general manager Gabe Paul, Arroyo and Graves will be inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame this summer as the Class of 2023, with events are scheduled for July 15 and 16.
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