About 1,200 people filled the Duke Energy Convention Center in downtown Cincinnati to honor the new inductees into the Reds Hall of Fame: Chris Sabo, Pedro Borbon and Tony Mullane.
After several tributes, the night's program ended with Sabo, Borbon and Mullane's relative, Cairril Mills, making their final speeches of an event-filled weekend in Cincinnati.
While many former Reds were in attendance, perhaps the most touching tributes came to and from those not present. Sabo thanked Pete Rose for helping make his career, crediting Rose for believing in him when he was in the Minor Leagues. Meanwhile, the recognition of Borbon included a recorded message from former manager Sparky Anderson.
"He's a great human being who gave everything he had to this game, and they'll never take it from him because he gave you everything he had," Anderson said. "People don't understand that means so much to a ballclub: when a player is willing to give you everything he has in his body. And that was Pedro."
But the night wasn't just about the new Hall of Famers, as the long, storied history of the Reds franchise was tied together. Members of the 1975 and '90 World Series championship teams spoke on stage, along with video interviews with Anderson about the '75 team, Lou Piniella about the '90 team, and Rose on his record-breaking hit in '85.
All current members of the Reds were in attendance, except for third baseman Scott Rolen, who missed the weekend's games against the Rockies because of an illness. Each was introduced to the crowd to kick off the evening, followed by entrances of a host of Reds Hall of Famers, from Johnny Bench and George Foster to Barry Larkin and Tom Browning.
With the current team fighting for first place and a possible playoff berth, the players were given a taste of some of the past champions' memories.
"When I caught that last out, we were in heaven," former center fielder Cesar Geronimo said of the '75 World Series. "That was something the Cincinnati fans were waiting for for a long time. That moment I thought about my childhood, because I was a Cincinnati Reds fan since I was 2 or 3 years old."
As the night went on, showcasing Reds history, the final half hour welcomed the three new Hall of Famers as immortalized members of team history, and Borbon and Sabo received their official Hall of Fame jackets.
Perhaps it's not as high of an honor as the National Baseball Hall of Fame, but with his dry sense of humor, Sabo made sure to highlight how much of an honor it is to be included as one of the 78 Reds enshrined.
"Obviously I'll never get into Cooperstown," Sabo joked, "but the Reds Hall of Fame is very special. ... It's probably the last thing I'm ever going to get in baseball, so I'm going to take it for all it's worth."
Matt Brown is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.