My story isn’t much different from any other.
I’ve never been a casual fan of baseball; from the beginning, I was head-over-heels crazy about it. I didn’t get into sports until I was 14. Up to that point, I was the quintessential bookworm, and if you wanted to find me you would just have to check the library.
My grandfather was a World War II vet, and he followed the old Reds teams while serving in the Coast Guard in a forward unit in the Pacific. He got a chance to see Johnny Mize and Joe DiMaggio when they hit the Pacific Rim with their traveling All-Star teams, and I would later play ball on one of the fields that they had visited more than fifty years previously. He would talk about players like Johnny Vander Meer, Stan Musial, Johnny Bench and Rogers Hornsby, players who spanned the decades from his early adulthood to the late-60’s. His way of recollecting the game and its legends naturally appealed to my abiding interest in history, and drove my interest in learning as much as possible about players he had seen in the flesh, but only existed for me in my imagination.
The 1989 season would be the year I chose to follow the Cubs and the Blue Jays. Toronto was just beginning to hit its stride after being competitive in the mid-80’s, while the Cubs hadn’t been to a World Series in decades. All these years later, I can’t imagine picking more appropriate teams to follow. Maybe that’s just nostalgia talking, but I’m guessing that’s how a lot of fans feel about their team. Ken Burns came out with his series just a few years later, and that fed into my passion. By the mid-90’s I was reading everything I could find by Roger Angell or Peter Golenbock, and anything even remotely related to the early history of baseball was worth its weight in gold to me.
Longish story short, in 2008 I joined the half of Earth’s population that was into blogging. In 2012, I figured I’d try to make my way into sports writing. Since then, I’ve written specials for newspapers in five different states and worked for numerous websites, as well as contributing photos to a local minor-league team, the Class-A Lexington Legends. This year, I was fortunate enough to be included in their team baseball card set. That alone meant a great deal to me.
Minor-league baseball is my primary focus, now. Every player has a story, and I want to write about those stories. I’ll be covering the Cincinnati Reds minor league system and keeping an eye out for the top prospect performances in the organization. I’m happy to be a part of the work being done here, and I hope you’ll enjoy what we have to offer you.
Doc Riddle has been writing for sites such as SB Nation's Minor League Ball, Fansided's Kings of Kaufmann, The Crawfish Boxes, and Grading on The Curve, and Baseball Magazine, for the past eight years. He has been a contributing writer and photographer for various newspapers. He has also been a credentialed photographer for the Class-A Lexington Legends since 2015. His primary interest is in those stories not often told, and the lives of athletes away from the ball field. A 20+ year medical background has given him an understanding of the significance of sports-related injuries, as well as how they might affect a player's future performance.