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Hometown baseball hero Todd Frazier will join fans from his native Toms River for an evening of baseball talk on Friday, January 19, 2018. Along with moderator Russ Salzberg, Todd will discuss his experiences playing baseball and growing up in Toms River, all the way through his current Major League Baseball success.
Known just as much for his down-to-earth personality and perpetually sunny disposition as his All-Star play, Todd Frazier is no stranger to the public eye.
Todd first gained international fame at age 12 when he led Toms River, N.J., to the 1998 Little League World Series title by going 4-for-4 with a home run in the championship game. A first-round draft pick of the Reds in 2007, Todd quickly endeared himself to the Reds fan base after reaching the majors, whether through his walk-up music (Frank Sinatra, in a nod to his New Jersey roots), rescuing a choking stranger with the Heimlich maneuver (May 2012) or following through on a promise to homer for Teddy Kremer, an adult with Down syndrome who was a guest batboy for a Reds game in April 2013.
Todd was an All-Star for the first time in 2014 and in 2015 was voted to start for the National League at third base. After finishing as runner-up in the Home Run Derby the previous year, Todd was determined to win the 2015 title in front of his home fans in Cincinnati. In the first Derby with a clock, Todd beat the buzzer to win each of his three rounds. It was the highest-rated Home Run Derby in six years.
As The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote that summer, “With lights on and the media throng centered on him, Frazier settled into his comfort zone. Many athletes tolerate these events because they have to and others arrive only so they won’t get fined, but Frazier loves it. He embraces it. He’s built for it.”
Todd was traded to the Chicago White Sox after the 2015 season and proceeded to steal the hearts of Chicago fans ever since. Then, before the 2017 trade deadline, the white Sox dealt Todd to the New York Yankees.
In New York, Todd established himself as a positive clubhouse presence and a key player in the Yankees’ push to the playoffs and, against the odds, journey to the seventh game of the AL Championship Series. Todd was behind the calling card of the 2017 Yankees; when a Mets fan reacted to Todd’s home run at Citi Field with a “thumbs down” gesture, Todd started repeating it after every hit, and the entire team soon followed.
“For a guy who’s becoming a more accomplished player — a two-time All Star and a run producer and a really nice third baseman — Todd is also just a regular guy,” Cincinnati manager Bryan Price told ESPN. “He’s not the big Johnny Ballplayer [who says], ‘I’m important and I don’t do XYZ anymore because I’m an All-Star.’ He comes across as a much more original, genuine, normal human being than a lot of players turn into when they start to get some acclaim.”
Wrote the New York Post, “Frazier [provides] benefits perhaps only a team that has him can fully appreciate — his passion, confidence, high baseball IQ and fearlessness in huge spots elevating his overall value. … Frazier is a baseball gym rat, endlessly enthusiastic about the game, willing to be a spokesman, a well-regarded teammate.”
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