Like the Walt Disney Company, we at RLN are careful not to open our vault too often. So this feature will now be a weekly treat, to be enjoyed with your Saturday coffee and all the bacon and eggs that you have.
The Reds play the Cubs today at 1:00 PM, Phoenix time. In honor of the teams’ shared
pain heritage, today’s first pick from the vault comes from spring training, 1977.
Fifty-one years ago Monday, Reds GM Bill DeWitt (described by Sports Illustrated as “of middling height and ample girth”) bought the club from the Crosley Foundation. DeWitt started in baseball selling soda at St. Louis Browns games as a 12 year old, talked himself into a job as Branch Rickey’s office boy, and eventually worked himself to the level of big league GM. When running the Reds, DeWitt brought both the 1961 NL pennant, and “promotional razzmatazz” like the annual off-season Caravan, Knothole nights and the “Sign Him Up” novelty contract for fans who catch foul balls in the stands. The guy knew his business, and did a lot to build the Big Red Machine. Then he went and traded the gentleman in the middle for Milt Pappas.
DeWitt’s son and grandson now own and run the Cardinals.
On March 27, 1879, Miller Huggins was born in Cincinnati, and later became the first graduate of the University of Cincinnati to make the major leagues. While a decent player, Huggins’ real accomplishment — the reason he’s in the Hall of Fame — was managing the Yankees from 1918-29, winning 6 pennants and 3 World Series titles.