Take a look at who Kyle Schwarber thinks are all-time 1A and 1B local players

Philadelphia Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber, the starting design hitter on the Enquirer’s all-time All-Cincinnati team, returns home this week when the Phillies open a four-game series Monday night at Great American Ball Park.

But he never actually left.

The former Middletown High two-sport star, whose father was formerly the city’s police chief, married his high school sweetheart Paige, and they are raising children in their hometown.

And if you tell him you just took a job in Cincinnati after spending more than a decade in Chicago, he’ll probably ask, “What do you think of God’s country?”

Whether or not that makes Schwarber one of Cincinnati’s greatest baseball greats, it certainly makes him a popular attraction this week at GABP – the first major league ballpark he played in as a pro (Futures Game MVP 2015) and where are For any visiting player, twelve home runs are the most in his career.

The two-time All-Star, fourth overall draft pick of the Chicago Cubs in 2014 and 2022, National League home run champion once hit a playoff home run atop the right field video board at Wrigley Field and played just as impressively in a high school choir video that went viral in baseball circles. the time the home run landed.

We recently caught up with the only current major leaguer to crack our All-Cincinnati team’s starting lineup (lineup below):

What did you think of our All-Cincinnati 40-man roster?

“Did you put one out?”

Well. What if I told you you were in the starting lineup?

“That’s a compliment because I know there’s a lot of good players from Cincinnati – there’s some really good players from Cincinnati. So that’s a compliment. Thank you.

“What have you projected for us, win-wise?”

By pitting you against other cities, you will make it to the play-offs. I don’t know if you know this, but St. Paul, Minnesota has four Hall of Famers (Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor, Jack Morris, Joe Mauer).

“I know. That’s pretty good.”

So they have a horse in Morris, but they don’t have a bullpen.

“We have to get their starter out.”

So who in your opinion is the best player to come out of Cincinnati – or maybe the best three?

“I’m biased because I grew up watching the Reds. I’d say Griffey and Larkin are like 1A and 1B just because they grew up. And it’s hard not to put Pete in there just because he’s the hit king.

“But the two guys I grew up watching were Griffey and Larkin, and as a kid I wanted to be those guys. And then getting the chance to meet them too and talk to them, just great people too.

When did that happen?

“I met Larkin when I was in Double-A and he was floating around (as a Reds instructor), and I even interrupted an interview. Since it was almost game time, I interrupted him, and he stopped the interview and took the time to say hello and talk to me. It was amazing.”

Did he know who you were?

“I don’t know. Maybe not. I just introduced myself and said, ‘Hey man, I’m from around here. Thanks for playing the way you played; I looked up to you.’

“And then I met Griffey for the first time with Team USA (last year at the World Baseball Classic).

“And when Pete Rose said I had no chance of getting a hit in the World Series, it was pretty funny too.”

(Note: Schwarber suffered a season-ending knee injury in his second game in 2016, but made an early, surprise return for the World Series, going 7-for-17 with a double and three walks in the four games for which he was medically cleared was approved to play for the Series-winning Cubs as the DH).

Why is it that every team you join makes the playoffs (eight out of nine years in your career)?

“I think I’m lucky to be on talented teams. When I brought it up (in 2015), you look at the teams we had in Chicago, where we were talented. I went to DC and was traded (at the 2021 deadline to Boston), but I felt like our DC team was also very talented. Everyone was injured. …Then I was able to go to Boston, and I got into a really good situation where we were in first place. And it’s clear that here (in Philadelphia, in the third year of a four-year contract) you want to go to a place that wants to win. And it starts from top to bottom. You look at ownership, and Mr. (John) Middleton tells us every year he wants to win. And then you look at Dave (Dombrowski)’s track record as head of the front office. … And you look around the room. The year I was a free agent, you came away from the fact that Bryce (Harper) was the MVP and (Zack) Wheeler might have been the Cy Young winner. And (Aaron) Nola, JT (Realmuto), Rhys (Hoskins), (Jean) Segura.”

You’re not giving yourself much credit here

‘And I’m not going to do that. If you have really talented players and they are also really good people, then that is a recipe for success.

“One thing I learned in Chicago: We were all young and we all become (division and World Series champions) and there are a lot of people who get recognized early in their careers. Listening to some of those guys and talking as we got older and older and older, talking about how hard it is and you don’t want to take it for granted.

“If you’re known as a winning player, you’re probably doing something good on the field; you’re probably doing something good in the clubhouse or on defense or on the bases or whatever to contribute to a win. And ultimately, that can provide for your family.

“That was Jon Lester’s one piece of advice: If you focus on winning and be known as a winner, you’ll get paid in the game.”

That may apply to more than just baseball or even just sports.

“I have seen a lot. A lot of crap has happened to me in my career, where I’ve seen the best parts of it and I’ve seen some not the best parts of it.

“I feel like that’s part of being better, learning from experiences and learning from failure and being able to come out the other side of it. I feel like I’ve been very lucky throughout my career that we won. And I was able to come out on the other side of some failures.”

What would you have done with your career if baseball wasn’t your thing?

“I probably would have tried to give football a shot — and I know I probably wouldn’t have made it, especially when I look at some of these Eagles rolling through here — or probably would have done the first responder or the military thing done. I grew up in such a household.

“My dad was the (police) chief when I was in high school. My sister was in the military; now she is a police officer. I have a couple of cousins ​​who served, an uncle who was a police officer, and a cousin who was a firefighter.

(Note: Schwarber established a Neighborhood Heroes fund early in his career to support local first responders).

So wait, football? We’ve all seen the high school video: Are you a better dancer or football player?

“If we asked 17.5-year-old Kyle, he would probably say football player. But if you ask now, I should probably say dancer. Because I don’t think I could hit anyone in the NFL.”

Finally, going back to the Reds, how much have you ever dreamed of playing for them, or have you even thought about it now?

“Growing up as a child is the most normal thing in the world. Watching Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Larkin, Pokey Reese, Jason LaRue, even when I first got to the big leagues. In high school I watched Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, (Zack) Cozart, (Drew) Stubbs, Jay Bruce – all those guys. And then opposite Mike Leake and opposite Aroldis Chapman. Those are great moments for me. Suddenly you’re playing against the players you watched in college and high school.

“For me, I’m not really focusing on the future of it all right now, just because you never know what the hell could happen, where your career could end (suddenly) or if you could play for another ten years.

“If one day I’m still involved in baseball and I end up with the Reds, maybe you can ask me that question.”

Starting lineup for all of Cincinnati

  1. 1B Pete Rose (S), Western Hills HS -No one bans the hit king from this hall of all-timers on our watch.
  2. SS Barry Larkin (R), Moeller — Larkin, one of three Hall of Fame players on the roster, might have been the best shortstop in the game in his prime after taking over from Ozzie Smith.
  3. CF Ken Griffey Jr. (L), Moeller – You couldn’t have a “greatest player in the game” debate for most of the 1990s without including Griffey, who at the time received the highest percentage of votes for Hall of Fame induction (99.3).
  4. LF Jim Wynn (R), Taft – “The Toy Cannon,” who grew up a few blocks from Crosley Field, made three All-Star teams during a 15-year career with 291 home runs and 1,224 walks in 8,011 at-bats (15.3 percent).
  5. RF Dave Parker (L), Courter Tech – One of the most feared hitters of his era, “The Cobra,” won three Gold Gloves, two batting titles, an MVP and made seven All-Star teams – including in 1979, when he made one of the most famous throws in All-Star made. Star history to catch Brian Downing at the plate from right field at Kingdome in Seattle.
  6. 3B Buddy Bell (R), Moeller – One of the best third basemen of his generation, the father of major leaguers David and Mike Bell and son of All-Star Red Gus Bell probably deserves a nod to the Hall of Fame.
  7. DH Kyle Schwarber (L), Middletown – One of the worst non-tender decisions in baseball history: Schwarber was released by the Cubs six years after being drafted fourth overall – then immediately made an All-Star team for Washington the following season, going to the playoffs after a deadline trade to Boston and then signed with Philadelphia, where he won a home run title, made another All-Star team and played in the 2022 World Series.
  8. C Jim Leyritz (right), Turpin — Leyritz hit 90 home runs in 903 regular season games, but hit eight in 28 career postseason games, including the game-tying three-run shot in the eighth inning of Game 4 of the 1996 World Series for the Yankees.
  9. 2B Josh Harrison (R), Princeton – Some believe Josh is only the second-best athlete in his own family (his brother Vince, a local prep legend, is the Reds’ Dayton affiliate manager). But Josh has two three All-Star selections and three playoff appearances.