First Posted: 11/24/2008 6:14:29 AM | Last Updated: 11/24/2008 6:14:29 AM
By Columnist Jeff Wallner
Somewhere, Glenn Sample must have been smiling.
The day before the largest crowd in Nippert Stadium history would revel in one of UC's grandest football victories, one of the Bearcats' most revered fans and ambassadors died.
Sample, who died Nov. 21 at Mercy Hospital in Western Hills, would've enjoyed seeing the sea of red-clad fans launching oranges symbolizing a potential Orange Bowl berth, then storming the field in celebration following a 28-21 victory over Pitt.
He would've been humbled by the standing ovation given in his honor prior to the Bearcats' basketball and football games that day, both played a short stroll from Glenn Sample Way.
There was no moment of silence. No tears. Sample wouldn't have wanted that.
A reporter in the press box Saturday night at Nippert Stadium commented that a person couldn't help but smile when they encountered Sample.
Sample's enthusiasm and optimism were truly infectious.
Great American Ball Park will not be the same next season without Sample's positive presence, without his baritone voice eminating throughout the press area.
The Reds have lost some good ones lately -- Nuxy, Chief, and now Glenn.
For 30 years, Sample served as the Reds' official scorer.
He wasn't the greatest scorer, but it didn't matter.
There were times, of course, when Sample's rulings would send the press corps, heads in hands, to exasperation.
"Base hit, base hit …"
We'd laugh when Sample occasionally would refer to Edwin Encarnacion as "Concepcion".
Nobody minded. That was just Glenn.
"Pitching line on Harang …"
Sample was one of the most accomplished athletes in this city's history.
He graduated in 1949 from Western Hills High School, where he was a standout in football, baseball and basketball.
Sample was a two-sport star at UC, excelling at baseball and earning All-American honors as a linebacker under legendary coach Sid Gillman.
Following a stint in UC's athletic department, he would later become the all-time winningest baseball coach in Bearcats history, compiling a 391-333-7 record.
The 2009 season would've been Sample’s 30th as Reds official scorer.
"Six to four to three DP."
"Our baseball family is stunned and saddened by the news of Glenn's passing," said Reds director of media relations Rob Butcher in a statement. "Glenn was a fixture in the press box at Reds games. He was a remarkable person who touched all of our lives through his unwavering devotion to the Reds, the University of Cincinnati and our city."
I interviewed Sample for a column in 2005.
Never have I had a subject so accommodating, so appreciative, so humble.
Sample loved UC, the Reds, and the city of Cincinnati. But, mostly he loved life.
It's been reported that Sample died Friday of an apparent heart attack.
A person who spoke with him hours before his death said Sample was a picture of health, his usual hopeful, jovial self.
"Two base-hit, RBI, two base-hit, RBI."
Sample treasured his each and every day on earth, through to his last.
It would've been nice to have had the chance to say goodbye to Glenn.
To share one last laugh, and smile. To say thanks.
To hear "Attention press …"
one last time.
Jeff Wallner is a frequent contributor to Pulse, the Cincinnati Enquirer, MLB.com, Associated Press and Sports XChange. E-mail him at Wallner@CinciPulse.com.