April 3, 2017: Sean Casey, the former Reds first baseman, will lead the 98th Findlay Market Parade. Findlay Market president Neil Lukin named Casey grand marshal for Opening Day festivities during a press conference on Friday, March 17. Casey played for the Reds from 1998 until he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2005. Casey earned the nickname "the Mayor of Riverfront" because of his friendly demeanor while playing for the Reds. Case was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 2012 and a three-time All-Star during his baseball career.
March 31, 2014: Dave Concepción, the Big Red Machine shortstop and 2000 Reds Hall of Fame inductee, led the 95th Findlay Market Parade. Concepción played his first game with the Reds on Opening Day April 6, 1970 (also the final Opening Day at Crosley Field). The two-time Silver Slugger winner, nine-time All-Star and winner of five Gold Gloves played his last game at Riverfront Stadium in September 1988.
April 3, 2006: Mario Soto, the 2001 Reds Hall of Fame inductee and former pitcher, led the 87th Findlay Market Parade. Soto played for the Reds from 1977 to 1988. During the 1982 season, Soto struck out 274 hitters, the most single-season strikeouts by a Reds pitcher. He currently works for the organization as a special assistant for player performance.
April 4, 2005: Rudi Johnson, the former Cincinnati Bengals running back, led the 86th Findlay Market Parade. Johnson played in the 2004 Pro-Bowl after leading the AFC in rushing for the Bengals. He left the team in 2007 and finished his career with the Detroit Lions the following year.
April 5, 2004: Dave Parker, the former Reds outfielder and 1978 National League MVP, led the 85th Findlay Market Parade. The right fielder grew up near Crosley Field in Cincinnati and played for the Reds from 1984-1987.
March 31, 2003: Tom Browning, the 2006 Reds hall of famer and former pitcher, led the 84th Findlay Market Parade. This was the first year the Opening Day parade ended at Great American Ball Park. Browning played for the Reds from 1984 to 1994. He won the World Series in 1990 with the team and pitched a perfect game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988.
April 3, 2000: A six-year-old Covington resident and 12-year-old Cincinnatian led the 81st Findlay Market Parade. The pair were selected to lead the parade through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a non-profit organization that arranges experiences described as "wishes" to children with life-threatening medical conditions.
April 5, 1999: Joe Nuxhall, former Reds pitcher and broadcaster, led the 80th Findlay Market Parade. Nuxhall was the youngest player to ever appear in a Major League Game at the age of 15. He holds the Reds record for career games pitched for a left hander. After retiring from baseball, Nuxhall broadcast Reds games full time from 1967 through 2004. He died on Nov. 15, 2007 at the age of 79.
March 31, 1998: Linda Vester, former anchor for “NBC News at Sunrise” and FOX news host, led the 79th Findlay Market Parade. Vester grew up in Cincinnati. She left FOX news in 2005 to raise her children.
April 1, 1997: George Voinovich, former Republican governor of Ohio and United States senator, led the 78th Findlay Market Parade and 72nd parade in 1991. Voinovich was governor from 1991 to 1998. He served in the senate from 1999 until 2011 and was succeeded by Rob Portman. Voinovich died on June 12, 2016, at the age of 79.
April 2, 1996: Sparky Anderson, former manager of the Big Red Machine and Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, led the 77th Findlay Market Parade. Anderson managed the Reds from 1970 to 1978. The Reds won the World Series in 1975 and 1976 under Anderson. He also led the Detroit Tigers to a World Series win in 1984, making him the first MLB manager to win the championship in both the National and American leagues. Anderson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000 and died on Nov. 4, 2010 at the age of 76.
April 4, 1995: Joe Bare, past president of the Findlay Market Association, led the 76th Findlay Market Parade. The parade, with its zoo animals and marching bands, went on even though the Cincinnati Reds would not play their first game for almost a month, due to the MLB players' strike. Marge Schott begins the parade with sounding of a fire engine horn. Only about 125 entries made the parade, with one of the favorite being a wagon pulled by a young girl from Bridgetown with a banner stating, "Replacement Float".
April 4, 1994: As the Cincinnati Post headline read “Easter baseball lays egg for fans.” Due to a scheduling agreement with fledgling ESPN, the Reds actually played their season opener before the 75th Findlay Market Parade. The team played against the St. Louis Cardinals during a night game on April 3, Easter Sunday, at Riverfront Stadium that year. The city wouldn’t allow the parade to take place beforehand, so it was scheduled for the next day instead. You can read all about the curfluffle here.