The first two days of the Jim Riggleman era haven’t looked much different for the Reds (3-17), who are now one loss away from their worst start in franchise history. At the very least, the team showed some fight yesterday, battling back from a three-run deficit to tie the game in the seventh inning and […]

Editor: This is the third installment of a season-long series by our resident Reds historian, John Ring. The series will examine the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Cincinnati Reds, a team on the brink (of huge success) playing during a year that it seemed the world was on the brink. Enjoy! Part 1: Remembering 007’s […]

Who will be the next Reds Rookie of the Year? Will it be Nick Senzel? Jesse Winker? Shed Long? No one knows for sure. Most Cincinnati Reds who have won that award went on to have pretty good careers. There was Frank Robinson (1956), Pete Rose (1963), Tommy Helms (1966), Johnny Bench (1968). Pat Zachry […]

The Cincinnati Reds landscape is littered with pitchers who have contended with injuries. Are we living in a unique period, with fragile pitchers and unsure management? It’s worth remembering that even our most respected and beloved managers — including Fred Hutchinson, Dave Bristol. Sparky Anderson, Davey Johnson and Lou Piniella — have been as perplexed […]

Like baseball itself, Spring Training has changed and evolved over the years. Logistically, it sure has for Cincinnati. The Reds left Florida for Arizona in 2010, a move that probably still irks some in the Nation. Apparently, it came down to Sarasota and Goodyear and Reds Owner Bob Castellini didn’t want to pull the trigger. […]

(Editor’s note: As regular readers of RN will know, John is our correspondent from Afghanistan. This piece was written by John, and originally published in The Zephyr, a weekly newspaper in Galesburg, Illinois.)

It was 12:34 in the morning at Fenway Park in Boston when Pat Darcy took the mound to enter his third inning of work. Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, which had been delayed for three days because of rain in New England, had started four hours earlier between Darcy’s Cincinnati Reds and the Boston Red Sox.

Darcy had faced six Red Sox batters in the 10th and 11th innings and retired them all. The Reds and Boston were tied 6-6 in the 12th inning. Pat Darcy was the eighth Cincinnati pitcher that Sparky Anderson had used that night. Aside from Darcy, he had only two left. Don Gullett was being held for Game 7 if the Reds, who were leading the Series 3-2, were to lose. The only other pitcher left besides Darcy in the razor-thin Reds bullpen was Clay Kirby.

Pat Darcy was a 25-year old rookie pitcher during that 1975 season. He’d had a good year; an 11-5 record, a 3.38 earned run average and Sparky had used him primarily as a starter (22 starts) and long relief pitcher. That’s worth about $4 million a year by today’s standards. But Darcy pulled in $17,500 in 1975.

Darcy was always ready and there was always work with Sparky. Lots of work. After Gullett’s thumb was broken by a line drive in June and the Reds nursing a 3 and ½ game lead over the Dodgers in the National League Western Division, Sparky bragged to a close friend that his genius would really be seen by one and all now. It was. Sparky’s extensive use of the bullpen changed the landscape of baseball.

Anderson’s answer to young Don Gullett’s injury was to swarm the mound with relievers, pulling starters at the first sign of weakness. The Reds disowned complete games. Fresh arms ruled. In fact, it was Pat Darcy who stopped a consecutive streak of 54 incomplete games when he went the distance against the San Francisco Giants in August.

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Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

2013 is looking good so far. Despite injuries to their #1 starter, starting leftfielder and cleanup hitter and catcher, the Reds are thick in the race for the Division as Memorial Day awaits. Their MVP is a Boy Named Choo, Votto is hitting like Votto and Bruce looks like he is in the beginning of […]

Our friend Chris Jaffe over at The Hardball Times does these “day-versaries,” as he calls them. Today’s piece features a historical bit of interest to the Nation. Today is 15,000 days since Game One of the 1970 World Series, which featured maybe the most fouled up play in World Series history. It came when Bernie […]

Redleg Nation is the spouse in a bad marriage screaming, “I don’t know who you are anymore!”  Up and down the lineup, this team looks nothing like the club we fell in love with last year.  Fans are screaming for divorce.  Or at least a separation from Dusty Baker.  But, if you think you’ve never […]

December 1, 1972: The Reds trade hitter-formerly injured 2b-turned-outfielder Hal McRae and injured pitching phenom Wayne Simpson to the Kansas City Royals for reserve outfielder Richie Scheinblum and formerly injured pitching phenom Roger Nelson. It wasn’t a good deal for the Reds, but it was a good change of scenery for the participants. McRae had […]

October 22, 1920: The 1919 Chicago White Sox gambling conspirators are officially in trouble. From the bullpen section of baseball-reference.com: Eight members of the Chicago White Sox are indicted for supposedly throwing the 1919 World Series. Although considered heavy favorites to win the Series, the White Sox lost to the Cincinnati Reds in eight games […]

October 21, 1877: Does the curveball really curve or is it an optical illusion? It’s easy for us to see today with digital graphics, but even when I was a child, I would sometimes come across “scientific” sports articles discussing the physics of how a pitched baseball curved or whether it was actually an optical illusion.

Well, as is the case with most things, the magazine articles I read as a child weren’t exactly full of original ideas. Back in 1877, the folks managing the Cincinnati Reds team of the National League conducted a demonstration to prove that a pitched ball could curve. Unfortunately for the 1877 Reds, this may have been the high point of the season that had concluded on October 2. The 1877 Reds were 15-42 in their second year of existence, 25 1/2 games behind the league champion Boston Red Caps. On the flipside, the 15-42 season was an improvement. In 1876, the team had gone 9-56.

From “Redleg Journal” by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder:

A demonstration is conducted in Cincinnati prior to an exhibition game between the Reds and Boston to prove that a pitched baseball actually curves. A wooden stake was driven into the ground just in front of home plate. Boston’s Tommy Bond, a right-handed pitcher, threw from the right side of the pitcher’s box, and the ball curved around to the left side of the stake. To prove the ball was not influenced by the wind or any other atmospheric condition, Cincinnati’s left-handed pitcher Bobby Mitchell curved a toss around the right side of the stake.

It’s timely that or fortunate that the demonstration took place in Cincinnati in 1877. One of the Reds’ pitchers that year was Hall of Famer Candy Cummings, who is credited with having “invented” the curveball. Cummings was the most commonly used Reds pitcher that season, going 5-14 with a 4.34 ERA (61 ERA+). Cummings (career 21-22) is one of only three pitchers in the Hall of Fame with lifetime records under .500, along with modern day reliever Rollie Fingers (114-118) and Negro League star Satchel Paige who didn’t make his Major League debut until age 41 and went 28-31 (it’s thought his Negro Leagues record was 103-61).

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