July 20: I’ve been trying to avoid listing several events on the same day, but July 20 deserves an exception.
First, probably the most important event was July 20, 1916, when the Reds traded for three Hall of Famers on the same day. The Reds traded their shortstop player-manager Buck Herzog and outfielder Red Killefer for future Hall of Fame outfielder Edd Roush, infielder and future Reds Hall of Fame manager Bill McKechnie, and Hall of Fame pitcher and newly appointed Reds manager for 1916, Christy Mathewson. One of the most important acquisitions in Reds history, Roush becomes one of the very best deadball hitters of all-time, leads the Reds to a 1919 World Series victory, accumulates a .323 lifetime batting average, and is named to baseball’s Hall of Fame. For more info, please read the link above (three Hall of Famers).
July 20, 1894: one of the more unusual and disturbing “rooter” (fan) events in Reds history occurs in a 7-6 extra inning victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. This story is better left told by the Greg Rhodes and John Snyder, authors of “Redleg Journal“:
“Aided by zealous bleacherites, the Reds pull out a dramatic 7-6 win over the Pirates at League Park in the ten innings. Pittsburgh scored in the top of the tenth to take a 6-5 lead, but a homer by Farmer Vaughn tied the game and then Germany Smith followed with another ball into the bleachers. According to the ground rules of the day, Pittsburgh left fielder Elmer Smith was permitted to jump into the stands to retrieve the ball and attempt to retire the Cincinnati baserunner on a throw back to the infield. Several overzealous fans held Smith down, and center fielder Jake Stenzel rushed to his teammate’s defense. The outfielders slugged their way free, but vacated the premises in a hurry when a fan displayed a revolver hidden in a coat pocket, and threatened to use the weapon if the Pittsburgh players continued their pursuit of the elusive horsehide.
There was certainly a much different code of sportsmanship in operation a year ago. The Enquirer termed the incident ‘excusable.’ ‘It would be a poor (fan), indeed.’ opined the paper, ‘who would not turn a trick to help out the home team….They would not have been loyal Cincinnati rooters had they acted any other way.’
For those keeping score of old-timer’s nicknames: Farmer Vaughn’s given name was Henry; Germany Smith’s given name was George; Elmer Smith’s given name was Elmer, but he sometimes went by Mike; and Jake Stenzel’s given name was Jacob. Prior to play the outfield for the Pirates, Elmer Smith had been a Reds pitcher, winning 34 games for the 1887 Reds and leading the American Association with a 2.94 ERA. Red Killefer’s given name was Wade. Christy Mathewson was known as “Big Six.” Buck Herzog’s given name was Charles. McKechnie was known as “the Deacon” for his low-key disposition.
July 16, 1884: Charley Jones, one of the earliest baseball stars in Cincinnati history, sets a Reds record with three triples in a 17-5 win over the Indianapolis Hoosiers. Jones’s record was later tied by Long John Reilly in 1890, Bid McPhee in 1890, Jake Beckley in 1898, Mike Donlin in 1903, Miller Huggins in 1904, and Herm Winningham in 1990. Jones had five hits in this game and led the American Association in on base percentage in 1884 with a .376 mark. Jones tied for fourth in the AA in 1884 with the 17 triples, while Reilly placed second with 19 behind the 23 of league leader Harry Stovey of the Philadelphia Athletics. Jones is one of the most interesting players in baseball history; he was criticized in the press for carousing, he was a professional model, and he sued baseball over the reserve clause. Click the links for some interesting reads, and it’s odd to see Winningham’s names included with players from a century ago.
July 20, 1970: A more recent example, the Big Bopper, Lee May, hits a grand slam home run in the top of the 10th inning to account for every run in a 4-0 extra inning win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Tony Cloninger started for the Reds and pitched four-hit baseball for eight innings, his second consecutive four-hit eight inning performance in a season where he went 9-7 with a 3.83 ERA.
Cloninger’s best season came with the Milwaukee Braves in 1965 when he went 24-11 with a 3.29 ERA, but he’s best remember for his 1966 hitting antics. In 1966, he batted .234 with 5 homers and 23 rbi, but twice he hit two home runs in the same game as a pitcher. In one game, he became the first National Leaguer, and the only pitcher, to hit two grand slams in the same game. He also contributed a run-scoring single in the game giving him nine rbi in the Braves’ 17-3 win over the San Francisco Giants. Cloninger was acquired by the Reds along with Clay Carroll and Woody Woodward in the trade that sent Milt Pappas to the Braves.
May’s grand slam was hit off Bob Chlupsa with one out, making a winner out of reliever Wayne Granger, who went on to set a Major League record (since broken) with 35 saves in 1970. No baserunner had reached third base in the game until the Cardinals’ bottom half of the ninth when pinch hitter Carl Taylor grounded out to second base, advancing Leron Lee and Julian Javier to third and second bases, respectively. Granger induced pinch hitter Jim Beauchamp to ground out to end the threat. The Reds then loaded the bases in the tenth off Chlupsa on two singles and an intentional walk.
The Reds swept the doubleheader from the Cardinals, as May provided the game-tying hit in the first game when he doubled with two outs in the eighth to score Tony Perez and Johnny Bench to knot the game at 3-3. The Reds won it in the top of the ninth when Bobby Tolan singled in winning pitcher Gary Nolan, who had the started the rally with a two-out ninth inning single. Granger pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up a save.
Oh, one more piece of trivia. Milt Pappas was born with the name “Miltiades Pappastediodis.” Charley Jones was born with the name “Benjamin Wesley Rippay.” As for more names and nicknames: Bid McPhee’s given name was John Alexander and Woody Woodward’s given name is William. Charley Jones was known as “Baby,” Mike Donlin was “Turkey Mike,” Jake Beckley was “Eagle Eye,” Lee May was “the Big Bopper”, and Tony Perez was “Doggie.” Miller Huggins used his given name.