Chapman joins Cuban tradition for Reds

By Rontina McCann – bio | email

CINCINNATI (FOX 19) -- Homer Bailey's debut in 2007. Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto in 2008. Now Aroldis Chapman.

As pitching debut's go in the Reds organization, this is huge.

Not since Rick Vaughn, "Wild Thing" in the movie Major League, has a pitcher entered from the bullpen with such crowd support, and that was a movie, this is real. Fans at their feet the entire inning he pitched Tuesday and Wednesday.

"Fans are fascinated by a guy that can throw that hard. Hasn't happened that much in baseball history to see it happen firsthand in Cincy great thrill," Chris Eckes says.

Eckes is the curator for the Reds Hall of Fame.

He attended Chapman's first game on Tuesday.

"Concession lines were empty everybody is racing into stands when Chapman comes to the mound. You hear that a lot with great hitters. Everyone wants to see the at-bats, but to have it happen for a pitcher that is unique and special."

Something else that sets Chapman apart, his heritage. Just two games in and the Cuba native joins a list of other successful Cuban Reds.

In 1911, two of the first Cuban members of the Majors were Reds, Rafael Almeida and Armando Marsans.

Then came pitcher Aldolfo "Dolf" Luque, short-stop Leo Cardenas and Big Red Machine's Tony Perez.

Regardless of what happens in the future for Chapman, his first two games, are already etched into the Reds legacy.

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