From Cincinnati.com: The entire article is a good read, but about last year’s “big two” on the bench (Valdez/Cairo): Actually, to describe the performances of Valdez and Cairo as ‘‘holes’’ is kind. Valdez may have had had the worst offensive season in Reds history — and Cairo wasn’t far behind. For players with a minimum […]

Former Cincinnati Red, Walker Cress, apparently is the “biggest loser” of any player in baseball history at the start of his career. Cress went an entire season plus two games worth of appearances before appearing in a winning major league baseball game. The streak covered 32 pitching appearances. In his 33rd game, the Reds won, […]

July 16, 1902: The Reds sign outfielders Cy Seymour, Mike Donlin, and Joe Kelley, late of the American League’s Baltimore Orioles, to join Sam Crawford and Dummy Hoy and give the Reds possiby the best collection of outfield talent in their history.

The American League was called the Western League and was one of the best minor leagues through 1900. In 1901 the Western League renamed itself the American League proclaiming itself a major league with the hope of restoring the family and gentlemenship element to baseball. The National League games had become rather rough, dangerous to the umpires, full of profanity, alcohol, and gambling. The American League and it’s president, Ban Johnson, desired to have a clean game, but needed players. They decided to raid the National League of it’s players by paying more than the $2400 salary cap the NL had for each player. The AL began offering as much as $4000 per season to entice established NL stars such as Cy Young, Jimmy Collins, Nap Lajoie, and John McGraw to jump to the new league (info from “The Cincinnati Reds” by Donald Honig).

John Brush, owner of the Reds and the guilty party who traded Christy Mathewson to Brush’s future team, the New York Giants, still had controlling interest in the Reds in 1902 despite having already purchased the Giants. Brush joined another ownership group which bought the American League franchise rights to the Baltimore Orioles (later became the New York Highlanders and eventually the Yankees). Upon buying the Baltimore team, Brush and crew released their best players who were eventually signed by National League teams. Released included future Hall of Famers McGraw, Joe McGinnity, and Roger Bresnahan as well as three players signed by the Reds: Seymour, Kelley, and Donlin (info from Honig’s “The Cincinnati Reds”). In fact, according to “Redleg Journal” (by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder), Donlin was in jail at the time of his signing. In March, Donlin had been sentenced to six months in the slammer for assaulting an actress and her escort. (Donlin was a vaudeville entertainer who sometimes missed extended periods or entire seasons because he made more money on Broadway and in Hollywood than playing baseball.)

Continue reading

Finally. Opening Day is upon us, and I couldn’t be more excited. Yeah, I’m pretty excited every year at this time, but this year seems, I dunno, different. The Reds have had nine straight losing seasons; by all rights, we should be dreading the start of another baseball campaign. This year, however, there seems to […]