On June 21, 1954, the Redlegs score nine runs in the top of the first inning on only four hits, as Cincinnati sweeps a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Redlegs won the first game, 4-3, when Gus Bell doubled with two outs in the seventh off Phillies’ starter Bob Miller and Ted Kuszewski doubled him home to break a 3-3 tie. The Phillies had tied it in the sixth with three runs off Redlegs’ starter and winner Fred Baczewski, who went the distance to get the win. The Redlegs had taken an early 3-0 lead on the strength of a Jim Greengrass third inning two-run homer. For the season, Greengrass went on to bat .280 with 27 homers and 95 rbi in possibly his best major league season. Greengrass had placed sixth in Rookie of the Year balloting in 1953 after hitting .285 with 20 homers and 100 runs batted in the previous season.
The Phillies’ starter for game two was Herm Wehmeier, who had a cup of coffee with the Reds in 1945 as an 18-year-old. Wehmeier joined the Reds’ rotation on a permanent basis as a 21-year-old in 1948. In nine seasons with the Redlegs, Wehmeier went 49-69 with a 5.25 ERA in 222 games, 148 of them starts. Wehmeier had control issues, leading the National League in walks in 1949-50 and 1952, and walking more hitters than he struck out in those nine seasons with the Redlegs (852-794). He started the 1954 season with the Redlegs, but they sold him to the Phillies on June 12, after starting the season 0-3 with a 6.68 ERA over 12 games and 33 innings pitched.
His first appearance after joining the Phillies was against his former teammates, the Redlegs, who took advantage of his wildness to score nine first inning runs.
Bobby Adams led off the top of the first inning with a walk. Adams was caught stealing for the first out. However, Roy McMillan followed with another walk from Wehmeier, and Gus Bell singled McMillan to second. Wehmeier then uncorked a wild pitch, advancing the runners to second and third (Wehmeier had also twice led the National League in wild pitches while with the Redlegs). The Phillies decided to intentionally walk Ted Kluszewski to load the bases with one out. Greengrass worked a bases loaded walk, forcing McMillan home with the Reds first run. The Redlegs had patiently worked four walks and a single off their former teammate who was relieved after facing the first five batters he faced as a Phillie.
Another former Red, Jim Konstanty, relieved Wehmeier, and Johnny Temple greeted him with a single, scoring Bell. Wally Post drew a walk forcing in Kluszewski, and catcher Andy Seminick followed with a two-run single to left, scoring Greengrass and Temple. Murry Dickson relieved Konstanty for the Phillies.
Joe Nuxhall worked a walk off Dickson to reload the bases, the sixth walk of the first inning. Adams grounded back to Dickson, who throws wildly allowing both Post and Seminick to score, with Nuxhall advancing to third base and Adams to second. McMillan grounds out, runners holding, but Bell scores both Nuxhall and Adams with a double to centerfield. Lefty Ron Mrozinski becomes the Phillies’ fourth pitcher of the first inning, called on to face Kluszewski. The Phillies record the third out when Bell is thrown out trying to steal third base, which seems like an odd play to me since Bell didn’t have a lot of speed and Kluszewski batted lefthanded. So, the Redlegs scored nine runs on six walks, three singles, and a double, with two of their outs coming on failed stolen base plays.
The Phillies scored three times in the bottom of the first off Nuxhall to close the gap to 9-3, but the Phillies’ pitching control problems continued in the second inning. Kluszewski opened with a walk, and Greengrass followed with his second home run of the day, a two-run blast to leftcenterfield. Temple singled and advanced to second base as Post reached when Phillies’ catcher Stan Lopata missed a popup in the infield. Seminick flied to centerfield, but both runners advanced when Mrozinski uncorked a wild pitch with pitcher Nuxhall batting. Temple was then thrown out at home by Mrozinski with Post moving to third base (I’m not certain what happened on the play–it’s not marked as a caught stealing, but caught “advancing”–possibly the catcher’s toss on the wild pitch overthrew the pitcher, who tracked the ball down and threw back to Lopata to get Temple at the plate?). Nuxhall struck out to end the inning, the Redlegs leading 11-3, despite having three baserunners thrown out on the bases in the first two innings.
The Redlegs scored four more runs in the game, three on solo home runs from Adams, McMillan, and Seminick. Nuxhall didn’t make it out of the second inning, allowing six hits and four runs himself in 1 1/3 innings. Art Fowler pitched 7 2/3 innings of relief to get the win and improve his record to 5-3.