October 8, 1904: Rookie second baseman Miller Huggins strokes three triples in an 8-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis. The Reds’ win enabled them to sweep a doubleheader as they won the first game, 6-0.
The Reds were second in the league in 1904 with 92 triples, 10 behind Pittsburgh’s 102. Cy Seymour and Joe Kelley both tied for third in the league with 13 triples. Rookie Huggins finished with seven. For the season, Huggins batted .263 with a .377 OBP (OPS+ 110). Over six seasons with the Reds, Huggins batted .260 with a .362 OBP. He played 13 major league seasons, but is most famous for managing the New York Yankees to their first six World Series titles.
The 1904 Reds finished the season 88-65, in third place, 18 games behind the New York Giants. Seymour was their most effective hitter, batting .313 with 26 doubles and 13 triples (134 OPS+), while manager-1b Kelley batted .281 with 21 doubles and 13 triples (OPS+ 121). The Reds’ asset was their pitching, for they had six starting pitchers with ERA+ of 112 or higher. The Reds were third in the league with an ERA of 2.34. Jack Harper was 23-9 with a 2.30 ERA; Noodles Hahn was 16-18 with a 2.06 ERA; and Tom Walker was 15-8 with a 2.24 ERA. Win Kellum was 15-10 with a 2.60 ERA.
October 8, 1919: The Chicago White Sox get a complete game victory from Ed Cicotte and two run singles from both Shoeless Joe Jackson and Happy Felsch as they pull within four games to three by defeating the Reds, 4-1, in the seventh game of the World Series. The major principals for the White Sox were all later said to have been in on the Black Sox fix for the Series. Dolf Luque pitched four innings on one-hit shutout baseball in relief for the Reds.
October 8, 1939: The Yankees score three times in the tenth inning to sweep the 1939 World Series from the Reds. The Reds made four errors in the final game of the 1939 Series, and included the play noted for “Lombardi’s Snooze.”
Paul Derringer started for the Reds and had allowed only one hit through six innings, before Charlie Keller and Bill Dickey both homered off him in the top of the seventh inning. The Reds took the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning with runs scoring on a Wally Berger ground out and singles by Willard Hershberger (pinch hitting for Derringer) and Billy Werber. The Reds made it in 4-2 in the eighth on an Ernie Lombardi single.
The Yankees tied the game on an unearned run in the ninth against league MVP Bucky Walters, now pitching in relief of Derringer. Keller and Joe DiMaggio singled, with Keller advancing to third base. Keller scored when Reds shortstop Billy Myers mishandled the throw at second base on Dickey’s ground ball with everyone arriving safely. DiMaggio advanced to third base on a fly to right, and then scored on Joe Gordon’s infield single to tie the game at 4-4.
The Yankees won it in the top of the ninth inning, again off Walters. Frankie Crosetti led off with a walk and Red Rolfe sacrificed him to second base. Keller reached base when shortstop Myers misplayed his ground ball, allowing Crosetti to advance to third base. DiMaggio then singled to right field where the Reds Ival Goodman couldn’t come up with the ball allowing both Crosetti and Keller to score on the error. Goodman’s throw to the plate arrived at the same time as Keller and Keller and Lombardi collided at home. Lombardi was hit in the groin and was laid motionless on the ground with the ball on the ground about five feet away. Pitcher Walters had failed to back up the play and DiMaggio came all the way around to score, giving the Yankees a 7-4 lead.
The Reds threatened in the bottom of the ninth. Goodman and Frank McCormick opened with singles, but the next three hitters were retired in order as the Yankees won their fourth consecutive World Series and their second straight World Series sweep.
October 8, 1940: The Cincinnati Reds scored twice in the bottom of the seventh inning to erase a Detroit Tigers as the Reds won their first World Series championship since 1919 with a 2-1 win.
Both starting pitchers, the Reds’ Paul Derringer and the Tigers’ Bobo Newsom went the distance on the mound. Newsom was pitching on one day’s rest in the same Series where his father had died the morning after he had pitched Game One.
The Tigers scored their only run in the third inning. Billy Sullivan singled and Newsom sacrificed him to second. One-out later, Barney McCoskey walked and then Charlie Gehringer reached on an infield hit with Sullivan scoring on Billy Werber’s throwing error from third base.
The Reds scored both of their runs in the seventh. Frank McCormick led off with a double and Jimmy Ripple doubled him home to tie the game. Tigers shortstop Dick Bartell had a chance to throw out McCormick at home, but did not hear his teammates calling for him to throw as McCormick had broken late from second waiting to see if Ripple’s line drive would be caught. Jimmie Wilson sacrificed Ripple to third. Sore-ankled Ernie Lombardi (Wilson was playing for him) was sent up to pinch hit for Eddie Joost (playing for Lonnie Frey with the broken toe) and Lombardi was issued an intentional walk. Frey, broken toe and all, was sent in to pinch run for Lombardi. Billy Myers then lofted a sacrifice fly scoring Ripple with what proved to be the winning run. Derringer gave up a lead off single in the eighth inning then retired the final six Tigers in order as the Reds won the World Series title.
October 8, 1957: The Redlegs purchased the contract of Steve Bilko from the Chicago Cubs.
It may not seem like a big deal to day, but Bilko was sort of a cult hero and possibly the most popular player in California up until the time the major leagues moved teams to the West Coast.
“No doubt, he was the most popular player in L.A. history in any sport up to the time the Big Leagues got here.” – Dick Beverage, president of the PCL Historical Society
The “PCL” stands for Pacific Coast League. As a point of reference, the PCL is the league where Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams got their starts. Bilko was more popular than both of them.
With the Los Angeles Angels from 1955-57, Bilko batted .338 with 148 home runs. In 1956, he won the PCL Triple Crown, batting .360 with 55 homers and and 154 rbi. Comments from Hall of Fame manager Tommy LaSorda who pitched against Bilko:
“If he were playing today, without question, you’d see a guy hitting 50, 60 home runs. Easy. “Headlines every day. I remember one day I pitched against Hollywood and shut them out. He didn’t do anything. The next day, the headline was, ‘Bilko fails to get a hit.'”
The problem with Bilko was that he struck out a lot and that was not acceptable at the time. After four cups of coffee with the St. Louis Cardinals, he became their starting first baseman in 1953 and he batted .251 with 21 homers and 84 rbi. Bilko’s OPS as a 23-year-old was .746 (93 OPS+), but he struck out a major league leading 125 times and was essentially replaced at first base by Joe Cunningham. Cunningham only struck out 40 times in part time play in 1954. For comparison, in 1953 Ted Kluszewski (age 28) batted .316 with 40 home runs and 34 strikeouts for the entire season. Bilko was sold to the Cubs who eventually sold him to the Redlegs.
Injuires had beset the Redlegs’ Kluszewski by the end of 1956 and George Crowe had filled in admirably in 1957 (.271 with 31 homers), but the Reds had concerns about his age. Crowe was 37-years-old in 1958 and slumped to .275 with seven homers, sharing time with 35-year-old Walt Dropo (.290 with seven homers) and the 29-year-old Bilko (.264 with four homers). After 100 plate appearances with the Redlegs, he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers who were glad to take on the local hero, but sent him to the minors where he was drafted in the Rule 5 draft by the Detroit Tigers. Eventually, the Los Angeles Angels drafted him in the expansion draft and he finished his major league career in the town that loved him, Los Angeles. He hit the last home run ever in the Los Angeles Angels home park, Wrigley Field, in 1961.
Bilko hit 313 career minor league home runs with a career minor league average of .312. “The Phil Silvers Show” made it’s television debut in 1955 with a character named for Bilko, “Sergeant Bilko.” Bilko and Phil Silvers were photographed together in publicity shoots. Bilko played parts of 10 major league seasons, batting .249 with 76 home runs (103 OPS+).
October 8, 1961: The New York Yankees take a 3-1 game World Series lead as Whitey Ford and Jim Coates combine to throw a five-hitter in a Yankees, 7-0, win over the Reds. Reds catcher Darrell Johnson had two of the Reds’ five hits, both singles. Johnson had been 17-54 (.315) during the season for the Reds. He only played 22 major league games with the Reds.
October 8, 1972: The Reds evened the NLCS at one game apiece by defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates, 7-1, in Pittsburgh.
The Reds opened the game with five consecutive hits chasing Pirates starter Bob Moose without retiring a batter. Pete Rose and Joe Morgan singled to open the game and Bobby Tolan scored both of them on a double. Johnny Bench doubled with Tolan stopping at third base. Tony Perez followed with another double, scoring both runners, giving the Reds a 4-0 lead, and chasing Moose. Morgan socked an eighth inning home run for an insurance run. Tom Hall pitched 4 1/3 innings of two-hit baseball to get the win in relief of Jack Billingham, who had been relieved in the fifth inning.
October 8, 1973: The New York Mets take a 2-1 game lead over the Cincinnati Reds in the 1973 NLCS with a 9-2 win in New York. This game is best known for the fight at second base between Pete Rose and Mets shortstop Bud Harrelson.
From “Redleg Journal” by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder:
In the fifth inning, Rose slid hard into Harrelson in an attempt to break up a double play, and the two exchanged punches. Players from both sides rushed onto the field, and play was held up for several minutes. Pedro Borbon battled Mets pitcher Buzz Capra, and after the fight was over, Borbon accidentally donned Capra’s cap. Recognizing his mistake, Borbon took a bite out of the headgear. Neither Rose nor Harrelson were ejected. When Rose returned to left field, fans began throwing bottles and other assorted debris at him, prompting Sparky Anderson to pull the Reds off the field. After the umpires threatened a forfeit if the fans activity continued, Yogi Berra, Willie Mays, Tom Seaver, Cleon Jones, and Rusty Staub went out to left field and pleaded with the fans to desist. The appeal was successful, and the game continued.”
Unfortunately for the Reds, the game was over in the first few innings before the fight. The Mets chased Reds starter Ross Grimsley with a five-run second and never looked back. The Reds’ runs both came in the third inning on a Denis Menke home run and a Joe Morgan single.
October 8, 1990: The Reds take a 2-1 game lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NLCS with a 6-3 victory in Pittsburgh.
Mariano Duncan’s three run fifth inning homer drove in what proved to be the winning runs. 1990 was one of Duncan’s best major league seasons as he batted .306 with 10 homers, 22 doubles, a league leadiing 11 triples, and an .821 OPS (120 OPS+).
The Reds had scored first on Billy Hatcher’s second inning two-run homer, but the Pirates had tied it with two runs of their own in the fourth. Hatcher went 3-4 with the home run and a double in the game. Reds relievers Rob Dibble, Norm Charlton, and Randy Myers pitched 3 1/3 innings of one-hit baseball, striking out seven to seal the win for Reds starter Danny Jackson.