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Retread Reds: Jeff Reardon picks up a Bic to pitch for Cincinnati

May 20, 2010
Jeff Reardon Cincinnati Reds 1994 Score Gold Rush No. XX

Jeff Reardon Cincinnati Reds 1994 Score Gold Rush No. 251

During Jim Bowden’s tenure as general manager with the Cincinnati Reds, he liked to acquire players that where reclamation projects or past their prime.

When Jeff Reardon drew interest from a only handful of teams following the 1992 season it meant the legendary reliever would have to make sacrifices to get a job. To sign a minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds, Reardon had to shave his trademark beard due to the team’s ban on facial hair at the time.

Reardon had a rough end to the season with the Atlanta Braves in the 1992 World Series. He surrendered game-winning hits to Ed Sprague in game two and Candy Maldonado in the third game en-route to Toronto Blue Jays’ series win in six games.

Entering the season, Reardon, 37, was baseball’s career saves leader with 357 saves. With the Reds, he was relegated to serve as set-up man for closer Rob Dibble.

Jeff Reardon Cincinnati Reds 1994 Score Gold Rush No. XX back

Jeff Reardon Cincinnati Reds 1994 Score Gold Rush No. 251 back

Reardon, whose fastball dipped into the mid-80 mph range, added a knuckleball to his repertoire during spring training.

After Dibble was forced onto the disabled list with a small hole in his right eardrum suffered from sitting close to speakers at Metallica concerts, Reardon temporarily resumed his familiar role as a closer.

Throughout the season, Reardon recorded eight saves with the Redlegs during a team-high 58 appearances. He only allowed one of 28 inherited runners to score which was the best in the National League. He went 4-6 with a 4.09 era and 35 strikeouts in 61.2 innings pitched.

During the season, Lee Smith, then of the St. Louis Cardinals, surpassed Reardon to become baseball’s all-time save leader with 358 on April 9, 1993.

Following the season, Reardon signed with the New York Yankees for his 16th and final major league season.

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