After the 1973 season, Sparky Anderson urged Reds General Manager Bob Howsam to trade Ross Grimsley. Sparky was tired of Grimsley’s attempts to grow long hair and not shave and was spooked by the lefthanded pitcher’s belief in black magic. Howsam initially didn’t want to do it but he eventually traded Grimsley to the [...]
Thank God for Tony Cingrani. The lefthanded rookie hurler kept the Redlegs from getting swept out of Washington, DC with a true gem this past Sunday. Six innings of work, no runs, 11 strikeouts and a win. And this didn’t come against the Marlins or Cubs, either.
Reds and lefthanded pitchers who are successful [...]
December 4, 1973: The Reds trade young staring pitcher Ross Grimsley and minor league catcher Wally Williams to the Baltimore Orioles for reserve outfielder Merv Rettenmund minor league second baseman Junior Kennedy, and minor league catcher Bill Wood.
Grimsley was a Reds #1 draft pick in 1969 amateur draft and was 20-12 in his [...]
October 21, 1877: Does the curveball really curve or is it an optical illusion? It’s easy for us to see today with digital graphics, but even when I was a child, I would sometimes come across “scientific” sports articles discussing the physics of how a pitched baseball curved or whether it was actually an optical illusion.
Well, as is the case with most things, the magazine articles I read as a child weren’t exactly full of original ideas. Back in 1877, the folks managing the Cincinnati Reds team of the National League conducted a demonstration to prove that a pitched ball could curve. Unfortunately for the 1877 Reds, this may have been the high point of the season that had concluded on October 2. The 1877 Reds were 15-42 in their second year of existence, 25 1/2 games behind the league champion Boston Red Caps. On the flipside, the 15-42 season was an improvement. In 1876, the team had gone 9-56.
From “Redleg Journal” by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder:
A demonstration is conducted in Cincinnati prior to an exhibition game between the Reds and Boston to prove that a pitched baseball actually curves. A wooden stake was driven into the ground just in front of home plate. Boston’s Tommy Bond, a right-handed pitcher, threw from the right side of the pitcher’s box, and the ball curved around to the left side of the stake. To prove the ball was not influenced by the wind or any other atmospheric condition, Cincinnati’s left-handed pitcher Bobby Mitchell curved a toss around the right side of the stake.
It’s timely that or fortunate that the demonstration took place in Cincinnati in 1877. One of the Reds’ pitchers that year was Hall of Famer Candy Cummings, who is credited with having “invented” the curveball. Cummings was the most commonly used Reds pitcher that season, going 5-14 with a 4.34 ERA (61 ERA+). Cummings (career 21-22) is one of only three pitchers in the Hall of Fame with lifetime records under .500, along with modern day reliever Rollie Fingers (114-118) and Negro League star Satchel Paige who didn’t make his Major League debut until age 41 and went 28-31 (it’s thought his Negro Leagues record was 103-61).
Continue reading This Day in Reds History: Reds Sweep Yanks; the Curveball Curves; the Greatest Game; and Nolan Always Starts on 10-21
October 20, 1972: Pete Rose hit the first pitch of the game for a home run and the Reds later overcame a 4-2 deficit in defeating the Oakland A’s, 5-4, to stay avoid elimination in the 1972 World Series. The Reds now trailed the A’s three-games-to-two through five games.
Rose’s first inning homer gave [...]
October 15, 1892: Bumpus Jones pulls off one of the most improbable events in baseball history and pitches a no-hitter in his first major league game. In the last Reds’ game of the 1892 sesaon, Jones defeats the Pittsburgh Pirates, 7-1. It’s one of the only two wins in Jones’s career and the first [...]
October 10, 1961: In the National League’s first expansion draft, the Reds lose six players, four to the New York Mets and two to the Houston Colt .45′s.
The Mets selected pitchers Jay Hook and Sherman Jones, infielder Elio Chacon, and popular outfielder Gus Bell. The Colt .45′s selected first baseman Dick Gernert and pitcher Ken Johnson.
The expansion draft didn’t do a lot of damage to the Reds. Johnson was the probably the biggest loss. He had been acquired in trade for reliever Orlando Pena from the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League and made 11 second half starts for the Reds. Johnson was 6-2 with 3.25 ERA for the 1961 Reds, but went on to play 13 major league seasons going 91-106 with a 3.46 ERA (102 ERA+). He became a rotation starter through the 1968 season.
Bell was the surprise loss. One of the most popular Reds since 1951 and a four-time all-star, Bell had become a role player by the 1961 Reds World Series sesason. Bell picked up the first New York Met hit ever in 1962, but batted only .149 in 115 plate appearances before being dealt to the Milwaukee Braves where he played one season on the bench and pinch hit three times in each of the next two seasons.
Hook was a prospect that had not panned out for the Reds. Hook went 11-18 with 4.50 ERA in 1960 as a 23-year-old, but did not pitch well in 1961 going 1-3 with a 7.76 ERA in 62 innings, allowing 14 home runs. After the Mets started 1962 with an 0-9 record before winning the first game in Mets’ history.
October 10, 1967: In more damage control following the aftermath of the Frank Robinson trade, the Reds deal slugging first baseman Deron Johnson to the Atlanta Braves for outfielder Mack Jones, outfielder-1b Jim Beauchamp, and reliever Jay Ritchie.
Continue reading This Day in Reds History: Expansion and the Invisible Tag