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This Day in Reds History: Hit Records, 19 Scoreless Innings, and More

September 9, 1946 The Cincinnati Reds and Brooklyn Dodgers play a 19-inning 0-0 tie in Brooklyn, the longest 0-0 game in major league history. The game is eventually stopped due to darkness and replayed from the beginning on September 20 with the Dodgers winning, 5-3.

Using the “Game Score” statistic, Reds lefty Johnny Vander Meer pitches the best Reds game ever in this game (measurements available since 1920) by pitching 15 shutout innings, allowing only seven hits and walking two while striking out 14. His game score was 115 (second highest: Jim Maloney’s 106 vs. New York Mets in 1965; Tom Browning’s 1989 perfect game is 16th highest for Reds with a 94). While not receiving a decision in the tie game, Vander Meer is later the losing pitcher when the game is replayed, going five innings and allowing five hits, five walks, and four runs.

According to “Redleg Journal“:

“The Reds twice had a runner cut down at the plate. In the fifth inning, right fielder Eddie Lukon tried to stretch a triple into an inside-the-park home run and was thrown out. In the 15th, Dodger right fielder Dixie Walker threw out Reds center fielder Dain Clay when Clay tried to score from second on a single.”

Sidenotes: According to, Lukon’s nickname was “Mongoose” and Clay had the nicknames “Sniffy” and “Ding-a-Ling;” Vander Meer was “the Dutch Master.” Harry Gumbert (nicknamed “Gunboat”) pitched the final four innings of the game for the Reds, allowing one hit and striking out two.

For the season, the Reds finished the season in sixth place with a 67-87 record. Vander Meer was 10-12 with a 3.17 ERA and Gumbert was 6-8 with a 3.25 ERA. Lukon batted .250 with 12 homers and Clay batted .228. The Reds had an anemic offense in manager Bill McKechnie’s last season. At one point, from September 5th through the first game of a doubleheader on September 18, the Reds only scored 15 runs in 11 games. The Reds averaged 3.35 runs per game (last in the league), while allowing only 3.63 runs per game (second in the league).

September 11, 1955: Redlegs pitcher Johnny Klippstein fires a one-hitter in the first game of a doubleheader as the Redlegs defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers, 9-0. The Redlegs beat the Dodgers in the second game, 5-3, to sweep a doubleheader from the eventual 1955 World Series champion Dodgers.

Klippstein pitched 8 1/3 no-hit innings before Pee Wee Reese broke up the no-hitter with a line drive single. Klippstein walked four and struck out three in the game. Klippstein finished the season 9-10 with a 3.39 ERA. The second game featured two rookie lefty starting pitchers. Don Gross was the starter and winner for the Redlegs and finished the season 4-5 with a 4.14 ERA and career marks of 20-22 with a 3.73 ERA. Sandy Koufax started for the Dodgers and suffered the first loss of his major league career, pitching 6 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits, walking six, and striking out one. Koufax finished the year 2-2 with a 3.02 ERA and finished his career with a 165-87 record with a 2.76 ERA.

September 11, 1956: Redlegs rookie outfielder Frank Robinson tied the National League record for most rookie home runs with 38 in a Redlegs 11-5 victory over the New York Giants. Robinson would unanimously win the Rookie of the Year Award as he finished the season batting .290 with the 38 homers and 83 rbi. Robinson was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1982 after finishing his career with a lifetime batting average of .294, 586 home runs, and 1812 runs batted in. He played 10 seasons with the Reds, and batted .303 with 324 home runs and 1009 rbi during his time with the Reds.

The 1956 Redlegs would finish the season 91-63, in third place, two games behind the National League champion Brooklyn Dodgers. In contrast to the 1946 Reds, the 1956 Redlegs led the National League by scoring 5.0 runs per game, but were in the middle of the pack on defense, allowing 4.25 runs per game.

September 11, 1979: The Reds, led by manager John McNamara in his first year with the Reds, defeat the Houston Astros, 9-8, to move into first place in the National League Western Division. The Reds remained in first place for the rest of the season before being swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Championship Series.

Trailing 7-6 in the seventh inning, the Reds Hector Cruz walked to open the inning. Dave Collins reached on an error, with Cruz stopping at second base. Cruz was picked off second base by Astros catcher Bruce Bochy and Joe Morgan popped up for the second out of the inning. Dave Concepcion then slammed a two-run homer, and George Foster followed with another for back-to-back home runs to give the Reds a 9-7 lead.

The Astros entered the game in first place, 1/2 game ahead of the Reds, with this game featuring a match up of pitching aces J.R. Richard for the Astros and Tom Seaver for the Reds. The Reds struck for four runs in the fourth inning to take the lead, but Seaver couldn’t hold it as the Astros scored twice in both the top halves of the fifth and sixth innings. Seaver had been replaced by Doug Bair in the sixth, who was in turn replaced by Tom Hume in the seventh inning as the Astros scored three more times. The Reds needed that ninth run as Hume surrendered four ninth inning hits, but the Astros only scored once on a double play grounder as the Reds held on to win and moved into first place.

Foster had a huge 1979 for the Reds, batting .302 with 30 home runs and 98 rbi (155 OPS+), playing in only 121 games due to injury. For his 18 year career, Foster batted .274 with 348 home runs and 1239 rbi. In 11 seasons with the Reds, Foster batted .286 with 244 homers and 861 rbi. Concepcion had his best power season in 1979, batting .281 with 16 homers and 84 rbi (107 OPS+) and won his fifth Gold Glove Award. Seaver was 16-6 with a 3.14 ERA. The Hall of Famer career record was 311-205 with a 2.86 ERA. With the Reds, Seaver was 75-46 with a 3.18 ERA. Seaver finished fourth in Cy Young balloting for his 1979 season.

September 11, 1985 Reds manager-player Pete Rose strokes a first inning single to break Ty Cobb’s hit record in a 2-0 Reds win over the San Diego Padres. Rose later adds a triple and scores the game’s only runs in the victory.
The record breaking hit came exactly 57 years after Cobb played his final major league game.

Tom Browning was the winning pitcher, allowing five hits, walking none, and striking out six in the game, as he went 8 1/3 innings. John Franco and Ted Power each recorded one out in the ninth inning to preserve the victory. Rose made a diving stop of a Steve Garvey grounder in the ninth inning before tossing to Power at first base to get the game’s final out.

For a rather extensive litany of Rose’s accomplishments, you may want to click here to take you the bullpen. Rose finished with 4256 hits, a .303 batting average, and 2165 runs scored. In 19 years with the Reds, Pete Rose batted .307 with 3358 hits and 1741 runs scored (124 OPS+). Rob Neyer of’s “Sweet Spot” has published a blog entry on why he thinks Rose’s hit record will stand for some time. He also posted another entry on why a player like Ichiro Suzuki would be a likely candidate to break Rose’s record, if it was to happen.’s Rick Reilly has also posted a story on Rose’s night in Cincinnati.

Rose’s record breaking hit came off Padre starter Eric Show. has just published a story about Show’s tortured life which is worth a read. Show died of a drug overdose in 1994.

The 1985 Reds finished in second place in Rose’s first full year as manager of the team. The Reds went 89-72, finishing 5 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.

3 thoughts on “This Day in Reds History: Hit Records, 19 Scoreless Innings, and More

  1. Wow, that’s a lot of material. I’ll just comment on the 1956 Reds. Robby’s 36 HRs were part of the team’s 221 HRs, which tied the major league record at the time. The 1961 Yankees, in an expansion year, broke that record with 240 HRs.

    I may have known but forgot until it was mentioned the other day on a pregame Reds history broadcast that
    the 221 HRs stood up as the Reds team record until the 2005 Reds hit 222 HRs. Number 222 was hit by Austin Kearns on the final day of the season. He was the 3rd Red in a row to homer.

  2. Oh, one more thing. I remember the Seaver-Richards matchup in 1979. It was billed as a great pitcher’s matchup, fitting for the big showdown between the two teams. But neither pitcher had it that game.

  3. I wrote an awfully lot today….kind of consumed me.

    September has probably as more things happen than any other month. There’s the days the clinch first place, move into first place, fall out of first place…plus the expanded rosters lead to more extreme performances. I saw a graphic the other day that showed more no-hitters happen in September than in any other month.

    There’s big debuts, veterans last games….so much so much

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