03/08/12 1:51 PM EST
Sean Casey: A Look Back at the Mayor
By / MLB.com
Reds fans undoubtedly remember the beginning of the 1998 season when Cincinnati was stunned by the news that Opening Day Pitcher, Dave Burba, was traded to Cleveland for a rookie prospect by the name of Sean Casey. Though some fans were skeptical of the move, Sean instantly became a fan-favorite, earning the nickname "The Mayor" and becoming a constant at first base for the Reds. Now, thirteen years later, Reds fans celebrate one of the most popular players to wear a Reds uniform with induction into the Reds Hall of Fame.
Born in Willingboro New Jersey, Sean Casey grew up in a suburb outside of Pittsburgh. Though an excellent ballplayer through his youth, Casey found it difficult to be recruited by Division I schools. Following his father's advice, he wrote letters to numerous schools expressing a great desire to play. The University of Richmond accepted him, giving him a chance to make the team. Casey proved his worth, leading Richmond to the Regional Playoffs and capturing a National Collegiate Athletic Association batting title.
In 1995, the Cleveland Indians made Sean the 53rd pick as he was selected in the second round. He made his Major League debut as an Indian in 1997 before the infamous trade that brought him to Cincinnati the following year.
In 1999, Sean played an integral part in would be a very memorable season in Cincinnati. The Reds went 96-65, recording the best record since the 1976 World Series team, and Sean Casey hit .332, the best single-season average of his career. During that season, Casey led the Reds in hitting, recording 197 hits with 42 doubles. He also hit his single-season career high in homeruns, knocking out 25. Casey played in the first of three All-Star games and was also awarded the Hutch Award; an award honoring those with the fighting spirit of player and former Reds manager Fred Hutchinson who passed away from cancer at age 46.
Casey hit over .300 for the next two seasons, but in 2002 he was limited by a shoulder injury. Casey's post-operative return in 2003 displayed his fighting spirit once again, hitting .291 for the season. Casey hit .324 and .312 respectively in his final two seasons with the Reds. In December of 2005, The Mayor was traded to his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates.
On January 27, 2009, Sean Casey announced his retirement after playing 12 seasons in Major League Baseball. During his career, Casey recorded 1531 hits, 690 runs, 735 RBI with a .302 batting average. He also hit 130 homeruns, smashing 118 while playing for Cincinnati. Currently, Sean works as an analyst for MLB Network. He also joined Fox Sports Ohio last year as a part-time Reds broadcaster.
The rookie, who once stunned the trading block news, is now being revered as one of Cincinnati's greatest and most loved players. Elected to the Reds Hall of Fame in 2011 by his fans, Sean will be inducted into this elite fraternity on Saturday, June 23, at a pre-game ceremony at Great American Ball Park.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.