23rd annual Reds Legends camp starts Monday

MARIETTA?- A new twist is coming to the annual Reds Legends Youth Baseball Clinic, which will take place Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at V.F.W. Field.

For the first time in 23 years running the camp, Mike Wagner said there will be softball instruction as well.

“We’ve always had girls at this camp,” Wagner said. “We have a nice group of girls that will be doing softball workouts this year. Jenn Castle, from Marietta College, and Brittany May, from OVU, will be coming to work with girls. I can’t say enough about these two outstanding ladies. I’m looking forward to learning a little bit myself.”

Attendance-wise, “we’re about where need to be,” Wagner said. “There’s probably about 10 spots left. The phone’s been ringing.”

As usual, the clinic will feature an all-star cast of former Reds players. Back for his 20th year as a camp instructor is Leo Cardenas, a Reds infielder from 1960 to 1968.

Also back are 1990 World Series champions Todd Benzinger, Ron Oester and Tom Browning.

Benzinger played three seasons with Cincinnati from 1989 to 1991 while Oester donned a Reds uniform his entire 13-year MLB career from 1978 to 1990.

Browning is most famous for throwing a perfect game in 1988, but was a fixture on the Reds’ pitching staff from 1984 to 1994.

Alongside those four will be former Reds all-stars Dave Parker and Scott Williamson.

Parker was the big bat in the Reds’ lineup in the mid-1980s. Able to hit for power and average with a cannon for an arm, Parker was a tremendous all-around big leaguer. He last attended the Reds Legends camp in 2011.

“He’ll work with kids on swing and stride,” Wagner said.

“For such a big guy, he was an all-around player. For him to hit with the power and average that he did in the ’70s and ’80s was pretty phenomenal.”

Parker will be in Marietta Monday.

Coming Tuesday and Wednesday will be Williamson, a pitcher who was the 1999 National League Rookie of the Year. Primarily a reliever in his career, Williamson was a Red from 1999 to 2003. He is a newcomer to the Reds Legends clinic.

“He was a very good pitcher,” Wagner said. “He played in a good era. He didn’t have a long career, but was pretty productive.”

Wagner, who will have a 19-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter attending the camp, is “thankful to be able to do this another year.

“Any advice you can get from a guy who’s played on the biggest stage in the world, you can’t go wrong.”

The clinic will go from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day.