Public Papers

Remarks Congratulating the Cincinnati Reds on Winning the World Series


Well, please be seated. Great fall day in the Rose Garden. And, Marge, welcome to you and Lou Piniella, the players, the coaches, and the official family of the 1990 Cincinnati Reds. I want to look around at our dignitaries here, but Senator Glenn is here, Congressman Gradison, Congressman Luken, Paul Gillmor from Ohio. And then from across the river -- whoops, I don't see him, I thought -- there he is, modestly in the second row, Jim Bunning, played good old country hardball in his day. And another one, Vinegar Bend, I did see over here. Welcome, all of you and all the rest. And I want to welcome our umpires, Larry Barnett, Rocky Roe, Jim Quick, Ted Hendry, Frank Pulli, Randy Marsh, and also Bruce Froemming, who can't be with us today. Seldom do the players and families cheer the umpires, but we're glad you're here. Delighted you're here.

Just a minute. A little dissent -- I think I can handle it. [Laughter] Listen, I might mention that this is the 40th anniversary of the Babe Ruth Baseball League. And we're lucky to have the four Babe Ruth cham-pionship teams of 1990 with us today: Staten Island; Youngstown, Ohio; and yes, two from a city whose team visited here last October -- Oakland, California. Why don't you guys all stand up, if you would. Here we go. Welcome. Welcome, all of you. You guys better watch out for your jobs -- some of these people. And best wishes we bring you from the most charismatic member of the Bush family, the MVP, the Most Valuable Pooch. Schottzie -- tell her Millie sends her love and in a minute we'll bring out the dog so you can at least say hello, because we missed them. Let me welcome all of you to the White House and to this most appropriate salute to the Cincinnati Reds, a team of heart which achieved its impossible dream.

Marge, I know that I risk this because I know Bobby Brown is president of the American League, but let me tell you about a story, how as a player for the Yanks he roomed with one of my favorite philosophers, Yogi Berra. And Bob and Yogi were reading late at night in their hotel room. Bobby was studying a medical journal, and Yogi, a comic book. And finally, Yogi put the magazine down, turned off the light, and said, ``Bobby, my book had a happy ending. How did yours come out?'' Well, to members of this newest Big Red Machine, the story of the 1990 Reds had the happiest of endings: a world championship for America's oldest baseball franchise, for some of America's best baseball fans, for a team that looked its opponent in the eye and made the opponents blink.

Today we're talking baseball and a team that won 91 games in the regular season, leading wire to wire the first time in league history. We're talking the team that beat a marvelous Pirates club in the playoffs. And they were good. And I hope our guided missiles are as straight as Eric Davis' throw to nab Bobby Bonilla. This is the team that swept the defending champion Oakland A's in an unforgettable World Series. And what moments you have given all of us that love baseball. And what memories we have of one of the greatest bullpens in baseball's tide of times. You know how the Reds spell relief: N-A-S-T-Y. [Laughter]

And of the Series' most valuable player -- Jose Rijo -- yielding all of 1 run in 15-plus innings. Maybe you can help us with the interest rates -- you get the ERA [earned run average] down, now it's the interest rates. [Laughter] And then Billy Hatcher -- seven straight hits. Nine for twelve in the Series. And yes, Eric the Red, whom I wish continued recovery. And when I talk to Mr. Gorbachev about offensive weapons, I'm going to tell him number 44's bat is not negotiable. [Laughter]

Go anywhere -- they love the Reds. Go to Dayton or Louisville or Des Moines or Siler City, and they'll tell you about heroics too numerous to mention. Glenn Braggs and Barry Larkin fielding brilliantly. Joe Oliver winning game 2 with a memorable base hit. And Chris Sabo, he's off in Japan, but his three home runs are still in orbit someplace. And Paul O'Neill and, yes, Tom Browning, the man who combined a World Series and the birth of a son -- batting a thousand along the way. And each of these men and so many others were dedicated to a cause -- bringing the world's championship back to the banks of the Ohio. You achieved that goal. And to you, Lou -- Lou Piniella -- let me say you've been an inspiration to all of us that love the game. All of us you showed why two of the most beautiful words in any language -- all of you showed us -- play ball!

Reds broadcaster Joe Nuxhall often says that ``This is the Old Left-hander rounding third and heading for home.'' And this year home for one of sports' greatest franchises was the 1990 world championship. So let me leave you by quoting another Reds announcer, Marty Brennaman: ``This one belonged to the Reds.'' And when it comes to baseball, Cincinnati is truly number one. Thank you for coming here, congratulations, and God bless the United States. Thank you all.

Note: The President spoke at 1:33 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to team owner Marge Schotte, manager Lou Piniella, and Representative Jim Bunning.