Lifelong Reds fan Al Taylor saw Marty Brennaman's first game and the last

Posted at 6:14 PM, Sep 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-26 18:29:38-04

CINCINNATI — Al Taylor was back at the Reds game Thursday to complete the circle.

The West Sider saw history in the making at Riverfront Stadium on April 4, 1974.

“That’s where Hank Aaron hit his record-tying home run - 714,” Taylor said Thursday.

It also was Marty Brennaman’s first game calling play-by-play for the Reds.

Forty-six years later, the lifelong Reds fan was at Great American Ball Park to witness Brennaman’s last game.

“Everyone didn’t know a whole lot about Marty Brennaman," in 1974, Taylor said.

Brennaman, who had been broadcasting games for the AAA Tidewater Tides in Virginia, was not widely known when he came to Cincinnati to replace Al Michaels.

But everybody knew Aaron was one homer away from tying Babe Ruth’s career record.

“We had standing-room tickets. We were standing behind the left field green seats in old Riverfront Stadium,” Taylor remembers.

“You could see the ball go over the fence. Everyone stood up and everything. It was a cool moment," Taylor said. "Packed house. Jack Billingham was on the mound for the Reds. I could probably tell you the starting lineup.”

Over the last 46 years, he has witnessed other memorable moments in Reds history.

“I was there when Tom Browning pitched a perfect game. I saw Seaver’s no-hitter,” Taylor said.

All called by Marty Brennaman.

Brennaman quickly earned Taylor’s respect.

"He’d always give a good description of what’s going on on the field,” Taylor said.

“He’s always been honest on the air, outspoken when he had to be. Those type of announcers are pretty much gone anymore.

"He’ll go out the same way he came in - from the heart.”