2013 is looking good so far.
Despite injuries to their #1 starter, starting leftfielder and cleanup hitter and catcher, the Reds are thick in the race for the Division as Memorial Day awaits. Their MVP is a Boy Named Choo, Votto is hitting like Votto and Bruce looks like he is in the beginning [...]
All right, you expert Reds fans. What’s the significance of this lineup?
Pete Rose Bobby Tolan Tony Perez Johnny Bench Lee May Jimmy Stewart Tommy Helms Darrel Chaney Wayne Granger
Those were the Reds on the field on June 30, 1970 during the final inning played at Crosley Field. Cincinnati defeated the San Francisco [...]
It’s my belief that baseball is a game that is made up of more small moments that craft themselves into great and memorable moments than any other sport in the world.
The game’s natural movement from step A to step B enables small dramas to be inserted into contests throughout the season, and the years. This is what shapes our baseball memories, small moments, significant to us and often to the history of the game On the franchise level, the Reds grabbed the golden ring as summer kicked off with a bang when one player became the 27th Red to perform a rare batting feat…a feat that is so rare that only 23 players in the long history of the franchise have achieved it. A feat that Ted Kluszewski accomplished, Frank Robinson as well… why, Gus Bell did it twice!
Heck George Foster did it….and even Pete did it.
But ya know what?
Joe Morgan never did it. Ken Griffey Jr., Tony Perez and Adam Dunn never did it. Lee May, Wally Post: nope.
But Chris Heisey has.
Continue reading Another Moment in Time
Asterisks (*) in this case indicate that neither item turned out to be true…
December 9, 1965: Future Hall of Famer Frank Robinson was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for prospect outfielder Dick Simpson, all-star starting pitcher Milt Pappas, and star reliever Jack Baldschun. The Reds traded former and future MVP Robinson for they thought he was an “old 30″ after thinking he was in decline* (notice the asterisk again).
Reds owner Bill DeWitt worked for legendary baseball general manager Branch Rickey as an office boy at age 14 for the St. Louis Cardinals and later followed him to the St. Louis Browns. Rickey, best known for his role in developing farm systems and his leadership in the integration of baseball through Jackie Robinson, had learned an important Rickey adage, that it was better to trade a player a year too early than a year too late. He took that role in trading Robinson for other talents. I described the players the Reds received in trade (Pappas, Baldschun, and Simpson) the way that I did because, in theory, it’s quite likely that DeWitt made a quality trade. He was addressing a Reds need (pitching), he was trying to make room for the Reds future (Tony Perez and Lee May) and he felt that Deron Johnson would be able to repeat his 130-rbi seasonal performance. Coupled with the fact that Robinson wasn’t playing at the same level he had from 1961-63, he thought Robinson was in decline.
Continue reading This Day in Reds History: Robby is an Old 30* and Vida Blue becomes a Red*
For November 29th, three brief notes of historical significance….
November 29, 1966: According to baseball-reference.com’s bullpen section, on this date a Chicago circuit court jury awarded pitcher Jim Brewer $100,000 in damages as a result of an on field fight with former Reds second baseman Billy Martin back in 1960.
I have seen various [...]
November 26, 1962: Chances are no one outside of the Reds’ organization noticed it at the time, but on this date the Reds lost one of their best talents in the latter half of the 20th Century when the Houston Colt .45′s drafted Jim Wynn from their Class D minor league team.
November 23, 1968: The Reds trade all-star shortstop Leo Cardenas to the Minnesota Twins for lefty starting pitcher Jim Merritt.
The Merritt-Cardenas trade came in the post-1968 season, the so-called Year of the Pitcher, when baseball offense reached it’s nadir and baseball pitching reaching it’s dominant peak. Leo Cardenas was coming off his fourth all-star selection during the year of his 29th birthday, but he batted only .235 with seven home runs, his lowest batting average since 1963. He had made the all-star team batting .206 at all-star time, along with two other National League shortstops, the Pirates’ Gene Alley and the Cubs’ Don Kessinger who started the game. Alley and Kessinger both batted in the .240′s in 1968.
In other words, nobody hit; that is seemingly nobody except for the Reds’ Pete Rose and the Pirates’ Matty Alou who were duking it out for the batting championship (Rose won, batting .335 to Alou’s .332). The Giants’ Willie McCovey batted .293 with 36 homers and was the only National Leaguer to pass 100 rbi (105). McCovey hit, too, but the league shortstops did not.
And, Cardenas had reached the magic trade age, age 29, the age when baseball general managers use famed GM Branch Rickey’s adage about trading players before they reach 30, before they have so many “miles” that they have no trade value. And, anyway, shortstops have even shorter career spans since very few shortstops hold on to starting jobs past the very early 30′s; the position is too demanding.
There’s something to the age 29 theory, since most hitters “peak” at ages 25-29. The peak age crept up through the steroid years as steroid became the magic “anti-aging” drug for players. However, that change in peak years has/is been returning back to normal as fewer “elder” players are now able to play later in their careers. Frank Robinson was traded after his age 29 season; so was Vada Pinson. Lee May was traded after his age 28 seasons. It turns out that Robinson and May had a lot more to give; Pinson was nearing the end.
Continue reading This Day in Reds History: Cardenas for Merritt