Bill Selby had one reunion two weeks ago at Jacobs Field in Cleveland. He's enjoying another this weekend at Dunn Tire Park.
The Buffalo Bisons' modern-era RBI leader, a mainstay on the club the last three years, is back in town for the weekend as the starting second baseman for the Louisville RiverBats.
It's not the scenario Selby envisioned following the 2000 season, when he spent the last two months with the parent Indians following his selection to the Triple-A All-Star Game.
"It's so great to see guys you've played with. I had three years here and they were probably the best three years I've had in baseball," Selby said before Saturday's game. "These two days have been completely strange for me. I saw people I knew who work at the stadium. It was weird coming from the other side of the field, going into this clubhouse and this dugout.
"Then you put on greys (road uniforms) and you're in this park. It's a strange feeling. I loved playing here, and I always loved to hit here."
Selby collected 223 RBIs for the Herd the last three seasons. He had 20 homers and 85 RBIs in 1999 and 21 homers, 86 RBIs last year before his recall to Cleveland. He expected to re-sign with the Tribe for this season but entertained other offers when Cleveland took him off its 40-man major-league roster over the winter.
Cincinnati farm director Tim Naehring, Selby's former teammate with the Boston Red Sox, and Reds general manager Jim Bowden called Selby in Mexico while he was playing winter ball and convinced him to switch organizations.
"My heart was with Cleveland. It always has been," Selby said. "Out of the blue, Tim Naehring called me. Then Bowden says, 'Hey look, I don't call six-year free agents, but I really want you here for the big-league team. I'm not calling about Triple-A. Tim speaks highly of you and we've seen your numbers and the way you play.' When a general manager calls you, that's a little different."
Selby, however, didn't get much of a chance in spring training as he had just 19 at-bats for the Reds. He admitted he felt like he had made a mistake not re-signing with Cleveland. But things changed in mid-May, when a slew of injuries got Selby to Cincinnati.
Selby hit .227 for the Reds with two homers and six RBIs. But his average in June was .282 before he was returned to Louisville as the Reds shuffled their roster to try to bolster their injury-wracked pitching staff.
Selby went 1 for 4 Saturday and is batting just .248 for Louisville this season. He has eight home runs, second on the team, and has 27 RBIs.
While with the Reds earlier this month, Selby started all three games of an interleague series at Cleveland and even hit his first major-league homer since 1996 to help the Reds win the series opener.
"Never once up there was I nervous," Selby said. "Then, we get to Cleveland and I knew I was going to play and my adrenaline was just flowing. It was fun. I spent five years with the Red Sox but the three years I spent in Cleveland, I truly felt like an Indian. I told (Tribe general manager) John Hart when I saw him, that I really appreciated the opportunity they gave me.
"I still feel like an Indian in a lot of ways. When I was in Cincinnati, I'd be on-line checking how Buffalo was doing and how guys like Johnny Mac (shortstop John McDonald), Mark Budzinski and Danny Peoples were going here."
Pawtucket designated hitter Izzy Alcantara blasted three homers Saturday night to lead the Pawsox past Durham, 8-7. Alcantara leads the IL in both home runs (21) and average (.346). . . . As expected, the Indians have called up Buffalo reliever Roy Smith (0-0, 1.10 ERA, six saves) to replace Steve Reed, who was sent to Atlanta Friday night as part of the John Rocker deal. . . . Buffalo utility man Trace Coquillette has been placed on the temporary inactive list so he can return home to California to be with his pregnant wife, who is due any day.