UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave about a few different things on my mind:
RECEIVED SOME terrific and humbling news this week, totally unexpected and unworthy.
I will be added in September to the Dayton Region Walk of Fame in the revitalized Wrght-Dunbar district on West Third Street.
Like Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, inductees have their own plaque imbedded in the sidewalk. It was breathtaking when I took a stroll and saw some of the inductees I will join in cement: Wilbur and Orville Wright, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Erma Bombeck, Martin Sheen, Arthur Beerman, Jonathan Winters, Gov. James M. Cox, Mike Schmidt, Bing Davis, Phil Donahue, Bob Schul and many, many more outstanding Daytonians.
There will be eight of us inducted in September, including legendary University of Dayton basketball coach Don Donoher, who sat next to me during Friday’s announcement. I covered Donoher’s Dayton Flyers in the late 1960s and early 1970s before I began covering baseball.
During the announcements they talked about my baseball background as a beat writer covering the Cincinnati Reds for 43 years. When they were finished, Donoher leaned to me and whispered with a smile, “I guess being a beat writer covering the Flyers didn’t count for much, huh?”
Yeah, coach, it meant a lot — especially my good fortune to watch in person while you worked and coached.
OF COURSE, MY good friend and driver, Ray Snedegar, knew exactly how to keep me in my place when he said “I knew some day I would be able to walk all over you.”
FOR THOSE WHO like baseball books, Bret Boone’s new offering, “Home Again,” is a great read. Just like its author, who played second base for the Reds in the mid-1990’s, the book is cocky, bluntly honest, highly-opinionated and intense.
It is about three generations of big league players — Bret’s grandfather, infielder/scout Ray Boone, Bret’s father, catcher/manager Bob Boone and Bret’s brother, infielder Aaron Boone.
Mostly, though it is an autobiography about Bret. One time I walked into the Reds clubhouse just in time to see Boone marching stark naked around the room, except for pitcher Jeff Brantley’s cowboy boots on his feet. Another time Boone asked me about catcher Joe Oliver’s watermelon-sized head, “Which would you rather have — a million dollars or Joe Oliver’s head full of nickels?”
SPEAKING OF BOOKS, here is shameless plug. My book, ‘The Real McCoy,’ is in its third printing in less than a year and is still available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, New and Olde Pages Bookshoppe in Englewood and other book stores.
And speaking of my friend and driver, Ray Snedegar, we’re still accepting donations on my web-site, halmccoy.com, for gas money to keep us afloat. Check out halmccoy.com. Please.
IT WAS WITH sadness that I missed the last meal served at The Barnsider Saturday night. Even in its dying days I enjoyed meals at the North Main Street eatery, which served good Friday night perch specials (a favorite of Nadine’s mother, Lucille) and the Monday night prime rib specials.
It is almost as sad as when the Italian restaurant, Dominic’s, closed its doors. The garlic-infested salad dressing was the world’s best, even if it did stay with you for days. I loved it so much that one waiter, Bill Lee, would put my dinner salad in a bowl big enough to hold a truck tire.
BUT WE ARE fortunate in Dayton. There is still my favorite Italian restaurant anywhere, Mamma DiSalvo’s in Kettering. Bobby DiSalvo, a huge Reds fan who often wears his Reds cap in the kitchen, always makes certain my table is amply furnished with their fantastic sausage and meatballs appetizer. By the time I’m finishing wiping the sauce clean with the bread who needs an entrée?
And for lovers of Mexican food you can’t beat La Fiesta on North Main. Our favorite waiter Mike (also known as Ishmael) always knows Nadine will order fish tacos and before we sit down he has Nadine’s wine, my margarita and the chips and salsa on the table.
The other favorite place to feed our faces is the venerable Oakwood Club on Far Hills, where I have never, ever, received a bad meal. It is so good that I have bragged about it so much to owner Lance Stewart that he has my testimonial on his web-site.
And don’t confuse our Oakwood Club with the Oakwood Club in Minnesota. That’s a nudist colony which, if you’re interested, has a wine and cheese party coming up soon.