September 21, 1889: Four ninth inning errors by the St. Louis Browns allow the Cincinnati Red Stockings to score four runs and win the game, 5-4.
Keep in mind, it was not uncommon for teams to make lots of errors in games back in 1889. In fact, the average team would make about four fielding errors per game. However, four in one inning was excessive even at that time.
The 1889 American Association Red Stockings would finish the season 76-63 in fourth place, 18 games behind the Brooklyn Bridegrooms. The Red Stockings’ best player of the year was 29-year-old rookie pitcher, Jesse Duryea who went 32-19 with a 2.56 ERA (155 ERA+). 22-year-old Lee Viau finished the year 22-20 with a 3.79 ERA. The leading hitter was 23-year-old rookie outfielder Bug Holliday, who batted .321 and led the AA with 19 home runs to go with 104 rbi.
September 21, 1955: Gus Bell goes 4-4 including a double, a grand slam home run, and eight rbi to lead the Cincinnati Redlegs to a 14-5 win over the Milwaukee Braves.
Bell’s grand slam came in the bottom of the first inning with one out and the Reds never looked back. Teammate Ted Kluszewski also had four hits on the day including a home run. Pitcher Johnny Klippstein went the distance to get the win.
The 1955 Redlegs finished the year in fifth place at 75-79. Kluszewski hit .314 with 47 homers and 113 rbi and Wally Post also contributed 40 home runs, all the while batting .309 with 109 rbi. Catcher Smoky Burgess hit .306 with 20 home runs. The Redlegs’ best starting pitcher was Joe Nuxhall while reliever Hersh Freeman was 7-4 with 11 saves and a 2.16 ERA.
September 21, 1957: Redlegs shortstop Roy McMillan hit his only home run of the year in the bottom of the 10th inning with Don Hoak aboard to give the Redlegs 9-8 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Redlegs had taken an early 4-0 lead when Frank Robinson hit a solo home run in the first inning and Hoak hit a three-run shot in the second. The Cardinals battled back, scoring five runs in the seventh and eighth innings to take a 7-5 lead in the middle of the eighth inning. The Redlegs pulled within one in the bottom of the eighth inning on an Ed Bailey double and then tied pinch hitter deluxe Jerry Lynch tied it in the bottom of the ninth inning with a two-out pinch home run to send the game into extra innings.
The Cardinals took an 8-7 lead in the top of the tenth inning when Del Ennis drove in a run on a sacrifice fly setting the stage for McMillan’s heroics. Cardinals reliever Herm Wehmeier, the eighth Cardinal pitcher of the day, retired the first two batters before walking Hoak. McMillan, known for his Gold Glove defense at shortstop, then connected for his only home run of the year to give the Redlegs the win.
The 1957 Redlegs finished the year 80-74, in fourth place, 15 games behind the eventual World Champion Milwaukee Braves. Robinson was the best hitter, batting .322 with 29 homers, 75 rbi (135 OPS+). First baseman George Crowe had a career year, batting .271 with 31 homers and 92 rbi. Redleg catchers Bailey and Smoky Burgess teamed to form a phenomenal tandem. Bailey batted .261 with 20 homers in 122 games (119 OPS+) and Burgess batted .283 with 14 homers in 90 games (137 OPS+). Brooks Lawrence was the Redlegs best pitcher (16-13, 3.52 ERA, 116 ERA+), but the rest of the Redleg staff performed below average for the season. The Redlegs averaged giving up 5.1 runs per game, one-half run more than any other team in the league.
September 21, 1964: In one of the most ill-advised plays in Reds history, Chico Ruiz steals home with Frank Robinson at the plate in the sixth inning of a 0-0 tie to score the only run of the game in a Reds 1-0 win over the league leading Philadelphia Phillies. The win pulled the second place Reds to within 5 1/2 games of the Phillies in the championship race.
With one out in the sixth inning, rookie Ruiz singled and went to third on Vada Pinson’s single to right field with Pinson making the second out of the inning trying to reach second base on the play. Reds star slugger Robinson was at the plate when Ruiz raced home with the only run of the game. The steal attempt surprised everyone and startled Phillies starting pitcher Art Mahaffey into making a wild throw home in an attempt to stop Ruiz. The one run was enough for Reds starter John Tsitouris who pitched a six-hitter to record the win.
Ruiz was a career .240 hitter who stole a total of 11 bases in 1964 (he stole 34 in his eight year career). “The Legend of Chico Ruiz” is told as just another reason why the Phillies suffered for so long at baseball. A novel, (called “’64 Intruder,” by Gregory T. Glading) has been written explaining how Philadelphia history would have changed if Ruiz had been called out at home.
The 1964 Reds did overtake the Phillies, but did not win the pennant as the St. Louis Cardinals were also involved in one of the most exciting pennant races in history. The Reds finished tied for second at 92-70, one game behind the Cardinals.
September 21, 1973: Reds Hall of Fame first baseman Tony Perez goes 5-5, including a three-run 10th inning home run to lead the Reds past the rival Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-1, in Los Angeles.
The Dodgers scored their only run in the second inning on a Von Joshua double, and the score remained 1-0 until George Foster tied it in the top of the ninth inning with a lead-off home run off Dodgers starter Claude Osteen. The Reds scored the winning runs in the 10th when pinch hitter Phil Gagliano led off with a bunt single. One-out later, Joe Morgan singled to center field and Perez followed with his home run to give the Reds a 4-1 lead.
The Dodgers threatened in the bottom of the inning when their first two hitters reached base off with a single and a walk off Reds closer Clay Carroll. Reds starting pitcher Ross Grimsley was called to make one of his only two relief appearances of the year to retire Steve Garvey and and Willie Davis. Pedro Borbon was called to retire Joe Ferguson for the final out of the game.
The win gave the 1973 Reds a 5 1/2 game lead over the Dodgers. They eventually won the National League Western Division by 3 1/2 games before losing to the New York Mets in the League Championship Series. For the season, Perez batted .314 with 27 homers and 101 rbi with a .919 OPS (159 OPS+). Morgan batted .290 with 26 homers, 82 rbi, a .406 OBP, and an OPS of .899 (154 OPS+). MVP Pete Rose batted .338 with a .401 OBP (138 OPS+). Youngster Foster, who hit the game tying home run, batted .282 with four homers in 17 games during a September call-up. Borbon had an outstanding year in relief, finishing the year 11-4 with a 2.16 ERA and 14 saves in 121 innings of relief (ERA+ 159). The starting staff was led by Jack Billingham (19-10, 3.04 ERA, 16 complete games and 7 shutouts).
September 21, 1976: The Reds clinch the National League Western Division title with a 9-1 victory over the San Diego Padres. Reds rookie starter Pat Zachry went the distance allowing no unearned runs. Zachry finished his rookie season 14-7 with a 2.74 ERA and was named Rookie of the Year. George Foster was the hitting star in this game, collecting three hits including a double and a triple.
The 1976 Reds finished the season 102-60 and then swept the Philadelphia Phillies in the League Championship Series and the New York Yankees in the World Series. For the year, Foster hit .306 with 29 home runs, 121 rbi, an .894 OPS (150 OPS+). Second baseman Joe Morgan was MVP and had an incredible season batting .320 with 27 homers, 111 rbi, 60 steals, a .444 OBP, a 1.020 OPS (186 OPS+). Pete Rose batted .323 with 58 extra base hits, an OBP of .404 (OPS+ of 141), and Ken Griffey, Sr., batted .336 with 34 steals, an OBP of .401 (OPS+ 140).
September 21, 1998: Tony Tarasco hits his only home run as a Red, a seventh inning grand slam, to give the Reds an 8-5 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Tarasco played only 15 games with the Reds in an eight year major league career. His grand slam came after the Reds had loaded the bases without a hit (a hit batsman, a walk, and a fielder’s choice bunt) off Phillies starter Mark Leiter. Tarasco batted .208 in 28 plate appearances. These were also his only four rbi as a Reds. For his career, Tarasco batted .240 with 34 home runs.
The 1998 Reds finished the year 77-85 in fourth place in the National League Central Division, 25 games behind the Houston Astros. The 1998 Reds were led by shortstop Barry Larkin who hit .309 with 61 extra base hits, 26 steals and a .901 OPS (134 OPS+).
September 21, 2009: Baseball-reference.com’s bullpen section:
21-year-old Cuban left-hander Aroldis Chapman, who pitched in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and is said to possess a 100 mph fastball, has established residence in the tiny European principality of Andorra after defecting in July. This allows him to bypass the amateur draft and offer his services to all major league teams as a free agent. Bidding is expected to be fierce.
As we all know, Chapman signed with the Reds and made his major league debut late in 2010. Through his first 10 games, he’s pitched 8 innings from the bullpen and is 1-1 with a 2.16 ERA, having struck out 11 thus far. His fast ball has been clocked as fast as 103 mph, faster than the 100 estimated a year ago.