John Erardi has this delightful article about the pitching staff of the pennant-winning 1961 Reds. That staff was comprised of four pretty good pitchers: Jim Maloney, Bob Purkey, Joey Jay and Jim O’Toole.

“As soon as we got Jay, I knew we were serious,” O’Toole recalled.

Said Jay: “(The Reds) had hired an ex-football player, Otis Douglas, to run the physical part of training camp, and Mike Jennings taught us shooting. We got to the point where we could shoot the tin foil out of the hole in a Lifesaver. Other than hand-eye coordination, I don’t know what it had to do with baseball, but it must have helped.

“Pete Whisenant was our rah-rah guy. The whole thing was unique. New general manager, new outlook, new team. It was like they were expecting us to be (National League) champions, and we were.”

After a rocky start (Jay lost his first three decisions), Jay finished the season with a league-leading 21 victories.

I wish the current Reds had a staff like that one.

2 Responses

  1. Shawn

    That was a no-name staff, with no ace, but a lot of capable pitchers. Sort of like the 2002 Angels staff.

  2. mike

    The 61 staff was just the right fit and got hot at just the right time but really wasn’t a very good staff, not even for the Reds.

    The staff doesn’t make the top 25 Reds staffs in history based on ERA above league average.

    the top 5
    ERA YEAR DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE
    1 Reds 1882 1.04 1.65 2.68
    2 Reds 1883 1.03 2.26 3.30
    3 Reds 1925 0.89 3.38 4.27
    4 Reds 1940 0.80 3.05 3.85
    5 Reds 1923 0.78 3.22 3.99

    The 25th best Reds staff in history was the 1946 staff, which was .34 better than league average.
    The 1961 staff was .25 better than leageu average.

    .25 better than league average is a good staff.

    mike