Jay Bruce’s biggest moment with the Reds

Former Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce announced on Sunday that Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays would be the last off-season takeover of the New York Yankees after 14 seasons in major leagues. After being traded by the Reds, Bruce jumped up in the league, but suffered a sharp drop in production after reaching his 30s.

The Reds selected Bruce with the 12th overall win in the 2005 MLB Draft, and by 2008 he was number 1 in all of baseball. Bruce might have been one of the most anticipated prospects in Red history. That same year he made his major league debut and was an integral part of the Reds line-up for nearly nine seasons.

While with the Reds, Jay Bruce was All-Star three times and won two Silver Slugger Awards. Bruce finished eighth all-time in Reds history with 233 home runs. No long ball was more important than a hit in the last week of September almost 11 years ago.

One of Jay Bruce’s fondest memories was a Reds uniform.

Cincinnati was in the middle of a fifteen year playoff drought. The Reds had been unlucky for years since the Great American Ball Park opened. Cincinnati had the luxury of having some really talented players, but the victories just never came. That was until 2008 when Dusty Baker was hired to turn the ship around.

Success did not come overnight as both 2008 and 2009 lost the season and Cincinnati ended up at the end of NL Central. The burden was lifted in 2010 with one blow of the bat by none other than Jay Bruce himself.

On September 28, 2010, Cincinnati saw themselves 2-2 against the Houston Astros in ninth place. Jay Bruce took the first place he saw Astros reliever Tim Byrdak and sent him screaming over the midfield wall to win the National League Central for the Cincinnati Reds, the first playoff spot in 15 years. Bruce fondly remembered that night:

“The weirdest thing is that I was 23 years old at the time and I thought that something like this happened all along, that was just part of it. Knowing that the only moment I’ll remember the most in my career was 10 or 11 years ago is pretty insane. In retrospect, I appreciate everything else more. “

That homerun, that one blow of the bat meant so much to the Reds’ faithful. The years as a basement dweller and a mockery of baseball were all wiped out in seconds. Bruce’s homerun rocked the city of Cincinnati all night. After all, Reds Country slept well and knew they had another winner.

Cincinnati fans know how it all turned out. It may not have ended in winning a World Series trophy, but it was worth it. Some of these teams, led by Dusty Baker, were undoubtedly talented enough to win a championship, in my opinion. It just didn’t quite work out and that’s okay.

Bruce had a hell of a career; A career to be proud of. There is no question that one day he will forever be anchored in the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame. Nothing would make me happier than seeing Cincinnati do the right thing and Bruce sign a one-day contract and let him retire as a Red where he belongs. Congratulations Jay and thanks for the memories.

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