Wednesday, January 11, 2012

'90 Reds Took it Down to the 'Wire'

The 1990 Reds became the last World Series winner from before the wild card era to get a guy into the Hall of Fame, but they got their guy yesterday when Barry Larkin earned a golden ticket to Cooperstown.

The team had some great, fiery personalities, from skipper Lou Piniella to the knucklehead bullpen trinity known as the Nasty Boys, in Rob Dibble, Randy Meyers and Norm Charlton.

Piniella gave the team its identity, says Larkin.

Reports the NY Times:
Larkin said that Piniella, a former Yankee, made some people nervous because he had not talked with many players before spring training in Plant City, Fla. In his first meeting with the team, Piniella surveyed the clubhouse and said, in salty language, that he hated to lose and would not accept it. Then he left the room.

“[Coach] Jackie Moore says, ‘O.K., boys, let’s go to work,’ ” Larkin said. “We went wire to wire that year.”

Wire to Wire means, of course, jumping out to first place from the get-go, and staying there for the remainder of the season. Not easy to do. It's also used in less dramatic fashion to describe a single game: taking the lead early on, and holding on for the win.

Wire to wire presumably takes its name from running races, and the metaphor is used in other sports too. Just last month, duffer Lee Greenwood went wire to wire in Thailand.

Reports the AP:
Lee Westwood completed a wire-to-wire victory in the Thailand Golf Championship, shooting a 3-under 69 in windy conditions Sunday to beat Masters champion Charl Schwartzel by seven strokes.
The third-ranked English star finished at 22-under 266 at Amata Spring Country Club.

The phrase is familiar enough, at least in baseball, to grace the cover of the book about, yes, the 1990 Reds.

It sounds as though baseball's newest Hall of Famer might even own a copy of it.