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This Day in Reds History: The Cream Rises, Missed Opportunities, and more Chico Surprises

October 2, 1877: The Reds finish one of their worst season in Cincinnati baseball history, by losing to the Chicago White Stockings, 13-1. The 1877 Reds, who had disbanded and restarted at mid-season, finish the year 15-42 in last place, 25 1/2 games behind the first place Boston Red Caps. The Red Caps were remnants of the original Cincinnati Red Stockings team, led by George Wright and managed by brother Harry Wright. The 1877 Reds won-loss percentage of .263 was tied for second worst of all time.

The 1877 Reds were led by superstar Charley Jones, who batted .310 with an .819 OPS (168 OPS+) in 55 games. He had the second highest WAR (wins above replacement rating) in the league in 1877 (3.2), not that he knew that at the time since it’s a recently developed metric. Shortstop-manager Jack Manning batted .317 (OPS+ 151) and outfielder-manager Lip Pike (142 OPS+) also had strong years. The Reds used three different managers during the season. Pitching was the Reds’ downfall as their staff ERA (4.19) was nearly a run worse than any other team in the league.

October 2, 1892: The St. Louis Browns score eight runs in the top of the first inning, but the Reds come back to win the first game of a double header, 12-10. The Reds also win the second game, 4-1, to sweep the Browns. The 1892 Reds go on to finish in fifth place.

October 2, 1919: The Reds win the second game of the 1919 World Series, 4-2, over the Chicago White Sox in Cincinnati. The Reds now led the best of nine series, two games to one.

The Reds struck for three runs in the fourth inning when White Sox starter Lefty Williams ran into control problems. Williams, who had averaged 1.8 walks/9 innings for the season, walked three Reds hitters in the inning leading to three Reds runs on a single by Edd Roush and a triple by Larry Kopf. The Reds added an insurance run in the sixth when Greasy Neale singled home Roush. The White Sox scored their two runs in the seventh when Ray Schalk singled to score two, aided by two Reds throwing errors on the play.

Slim Sallee, a 21-game winner in 1919, was the winning pitcher, scattering ten hits, walking one, and allowing no earned runs. For 1919, Sallee was 21-7 with a 2.06 ERA (135 ERA+). For the season, he pitched 227 innings and walked only 20 batters while striking only 24 batters for the entire year.

Some weird things were already happening inside and outside the foul lines of the 1919 World Series. From “Redleg Journal” by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder:

A bizarre incident occurred in the seventh inning when a stuffed dummy was dropped out of a low-flying airplane and landed between second and third base. This was apparently a practical joke; no players were injured, nor was anyone ever arrested.

After the game, several White Sox engaged in a heated argument. Manager Kid Gleason fought Chick Gandil and catcher Ray Schalk battled with Lefty Williams. Both (Ed) Cicotte and Williams ignored many of Schalk’s signals.

October 2, 1920: The Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates play a triple header in Pittsburgh, with the Reds winning the first two games (13-4 and 7-3) before losing to the third game, 6-0.

The three games were played at the end of the season for third place and prize money for finishing third was at stake. The first game (13-4 Reds win) featured nine Reds stolen bases and 18 hits as the Reds’ Ray Fisher (10-11, 2.71) went the distance for the win. The Reds scored seven times in the seventh inning to win the second game. Pitcher Hod Eller played second base in this game and went 3-4 with two rbi. In the third game of the day, the Pirates scored three times in each of the first and sixth innings to win before the game was called on account of darkness. Eller, who was 13-12 with a 2.95 ERA as a pitcher, played first base and batted third in this game, going 1-3. He finished the season batting .253.

The Reds lost their last game of the season in extra innings, but finished the year in third place at 82-71.

October 2, 1940: The Detroit Tigers open the 1940 World Series with a 7-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds and Paul Derringer (20-12, 3.06 ERA during the regular season).

After retiring the Tigers in order in the top of the first inning, Derringer ran into immediate trouble in the second. Hank Greenberg and Rudy York both singled to start the inning and Bruce Campbell reached first safely when on third baseman Billy Werber’s poor throw on his sacrifice bunt attempt to load the bases. Pinky Higgins singled to center field to drive in two runs and Billy Sullivan walked to load the bases. Pitcher Bobo Newsom grounded into a force play for the first out of the inning, but Dick Bartell singled to center to score two runs and Barney McCoskey singled to left to score Newsom and give the Tigers a 5-0 lead and chasing Derringer.

The Reds’ offense did get two hits each from Ival Goodman and Eddie Joost. Relief pitcher Whitey Moore went 6 2/3 innings in relief of Derringer, striking out seven.

1940 Reds World Series team was playing without two of their stars. Light hitting Joost was playing in place of star second baseman Lonnie Frey who had a broken toe and lacerated foot after a metal cover of a water cooler had fallen on his foot in the dugout just five days before the World Series was to begin. Later in his career, Joost became an offensive star at shortstop, regularly surpassing 100 walks with 20 home run power, but his OPS for 1940 was .567 as compared to Frey’s .732. Both were good fielders, as manager Bill McKechnie loved to have shortstops playing all over his infield (third baseman Werber was also a former shortstop).

Former 1938 MVP catcher Ernie Lombardi had a severely sprained ankle, so the Reds were playing without his powerful bat (.319, 14 homers, .871 OPS, 138 OPS+). Lombardi’s backup, Willard Hershberger (.309, .725 OPS) had committed suicide earlier in the year, so the Reds activated 39-year-old coach Jimmie Wilson to catch for them along with 29-year-old rookie Bill Baker. Wilson was an 18-year veteran all-star who had played 1525 games and had served as player-manager for the Philadephia Phillies from 1934-37. However, he had only played in 23 games in the last three seasons, and 62 in the last four. However, he was to become an unlikely World Series star as he batted .353 for the Reds during this World Series.

October 2, 1964: On a day of missed opportunity, the Reds lose to the Philadelphia Phillies, 4-3, in Cincinnati. A win would have put the Reds in first place with one game remaining in the season. Instead, the Reds blow a 3-0 seventh inning lead and wind up finishing the season in a tie for second place. Future Red Alex Johnson drove in the winning run a four-run Phillies eighth inning. Johnson also started a Phillies triple play in the fourth inning when he caught a Deron Johnson line drive in left field and returned it to the infield to catch both Vada Pinson and Frank Robinson off base.

It was a bad turn of events for the Reds. “Redleg Journal” writers Greg Rhodes and John Snyder tell this story very well:

The turning point came in the Reds half of the seventh, when Leo Cardenas as hit by a Chris Short pitch. Cardenas headed toward the mound, bat in hand, but was stopped by teammates (and Phillies catcher Clay Dalrymple). In the eighth, Cardenas let Frank Thomas’s bloop hit fall for a single to start Philadelphia’s rally (it fell between shortstop Cardenas and second baseman Pete Rose, but was apparently closer to Cardenas). After the game Jim O’Toole and Cardenas had violent words in the clubhouse. Cardenas went after O’Toole with an ice pick after the pitcher threw him against a wall.

Through 7 1/3 innings, O’Toole had allowed just three hits and one walk in pitching a game that, with a win, would’ve put the Reds in first place. The Reds had just come off a nine-game winning streak which moved them into first, but they staggered at the end of the season, losing four of their last five games to end the year. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals were losing, so the Reds still weren’t out of the race as they now trailed by 1/2 game, and the Phillies were in third place one game behind. The San Francisco Giants won on this day, but were still mathematically eliminated from the race.

The Reds had struck first, Robinson doubling home Rose in the first inning. The Reds stretched their lead to 3-0 in the sixth with the help of three Philadephia errors. Pitcher O’Toole led off with a single, but Rose struck out. Chico Ruiz forced out O’Toole at second base on a groundball to third. Pinson reached on a misplayed ground ball by Phillies second baseman Tony Taylor. Then, with two outs, Robinson batting, and Ruiz in scoring position, Ruiz again surprises the Phillies by trying to steal a base for the second time in 12 days. Ruiz steals third and scores on third baseman Richie (later Dick) Allen’s error. Pinson also scores on the play, all the way from first base, as an error was also charged to Phillies shortstop Bobby Wine on the play.

All things changed in the Phillies eighth after the bloop single. Johnson drove in the go ahead run, but the big blast of the inning was a two-run triple by Rookie of the Year Allen to tie the score at 3-3. Phillies closer Jack Baldschun retired the Reds in order in both the eighth and ninth innings to seal the victory.

October 2, 1969: For the second time in two years, Pete Rose wins the batting crown on the last day of the season. Leading Roberto Clemente by .0008, Rose bunted for a single to clinch the crown. Rose finished the season batting .348 while Clemente finished at .345. Outfield teammates Alex Johnson (.315) and Bobby Tolan (.305) also finished in top ten.

Before the game against the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta on this day, Chico Ruiz decides to wrestle Braves mascot Chief Noc-A-Homa. From “Redleg Journal”:

Chico Ruiz interrupted the pre-game routine of Chief Noc-A-Homa, who led the Braves out of the dugout on his way to a tepee located in left field. With a padded knife in his teeth and an improvised Indian costume made of towels, Ruiz wrestled Noc-A-Homa to the ground near second base. To the embarrassment of the Reds infielder, Noc-A-Homa retaliated by flipping Ruiz.

The Reds won that day, 8-3, with pitcher Jim Maloney improving his record to 12-5. It was star Maloney’s last win as a Red and his last career win as he was hurt the next year and never won another major league game.

October 2, 1979: The Reds lose the first game of the 1979 National League Championship Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates won the game, 5-2, in 11 innings, with the winning blow coming on a three-run homer by Willie Stargell in the top of the 11th off Reds closer Tom Hume. The Reds loaded the bases in the bottom of the 11th with two outs, but Ray Knight struck out to end the game. The Pirates now led, one game to none.

October 2, 1982: The Red lose their 100th game for the only time in their history, 4-2, to the Houston Astros. The Astros score four times in the sixth inning of Reds starter Mario Soto to win the game. Soto struck out nine batters in the game to set the Reds single season record of 274 strikeouts. The Reds also lost the next game, too, to set the club record at 101 losses in a season.

October 2, 1987: Dave Collins scores five runs to tie a club record in a 12-7 win over the Houston Astros. From “Redleg Journal”:

From October 1 through October 3, Collins reached base in 12 consecutive plate appearances with five singles, two doubles, three walks, and two hits batsman. He was cut by the Expos just prior to the start of the season, and was out of baseball until the Reds signed him to a minor league contract on June 19. Two weeks later, the Reds brought him to the parent club.

Collins had two stints with the Reds. He originally joined the team in 1978 was the primary centerfielder and lead off man for the Reds from 1979-81, batting .318, .303, and .272 and stealing as many as 79 bases in 1980. He was primarily a pinch hitter in his second stint from 1987-89. For his 16 year major league career, Collins batted .272 (93 OPS+). With the Reds, Collins batted .284 (97 OPS+).

8 thoughts on “This Day in Reds History: The Cream Rises, Missed Opportunities, and more Chico Surprises

  1. Dave Collins was an excellent player and an innovative coach. He was the first firstbase coach to use a stopwatch to time opposing pitchers’ moves to the plate, finding the perfect moment for the runner to steal. The Reds should really get him back in the fold to work with the minor leaguers and teach them how to steal bases

  2. That October 2, 1964 game was one of the wildest and most disappointing games in Reds history. The Reds lost the game because Cardenas and then O’Toole lost their tempers, and it cost the Reds the 1964 pennant.

  3. The October 2, 1979 extra inning loss to the Pirates in the first game of the NLCS was also very disappointing. Their manager John McNamara was criticized for removing Tom Seaver after “only” 8 innings.

    It was the first season after Pete Rose left, and Ray Knight had replaced him at 3rd base. Knight had an excellent regular season, but an awful game that nite, 0-5 with multiple stranded runners, and a misplay at 3rd base.

  4. they lost that friday game because alex johnson of all players helped in a triple play for the phillies

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