Even though the Reds are playing the “Nye Mets” this weekend, it’s a Dodger-centric week here in the vault.
This week in baseball history:
April 5, 1934 – The Reds hire Red Barber from WRUF (the University of Florida’s radio station) to broadcast their games on radio. Barber’s Opening Day broadcast was the first major league game he’d ever seen. Barber would call Reds games for five seasons, until Reds president Larry MacPhail left to lead the Dodgers, and took Barber along. Barber became a New York institution, calling the Dodgers games until a 1953 salary dispute led him to leave the club. (The job went to his protege, Vin Scully.) Barber then broadcast Yankees games until 1966.
RED BARBER, then Dodger broadcaster, interviews LEO DUROCHER, Brooklyn manager, for a handful of privileged TV owners. In the background are (left) Manager Bill McKechnie of the Reds, and Dixie Walker, Dodger outfielder Aug. 26, 1939 at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Sporting News/Sporting News via Getty Images)
On April 7, 1969, Bill Singer of the Dodgers recorded the first official Save in major league history, as the Dodgers beat the Reds 3-2. Interestingly, Singer was a starter both that year and throughout his career (308 of 322 career appearances were as a starter). Presumably, he relieved Don Drysdale only because as the Dodgers fourth starter, Singer wouldn’t make his first start until April 12. Also, “The Singer Throwing Machine” is a far better nickname than “Trouty” or “Miggy.”
Singer pitches in the 1971 All-Star Game.
Maury Wills #30 of the Los Angeles Dodgers tracks a pop-up during an Major League Baseball game circa 1962 at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Wills played for the Dodgers from 1959-66 and 1969-72. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Ticket stub from that first game.
This week’s Reds birthdays:
April 6 – Bret Boone
April 6 – Ernie Lombardi
Ernie Lombardi, catcher for the Cincinnati Reds shows off his swing during a spring training workout in 1933 at Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)
April 9 – Hal Morris
Hal Morris #23 of the Cincinnati Reds bats during a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs on May 1, 1991 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
April 10 – Ken Griffey Sr
Ken Griffey #30 of the Cincinnati Reds steps into the pitch during a 1978 season game. (Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images)