The “save” didn’t become an official statistic in baseball until 1969, although it had been tracked for years. The definition of a save itself was defined in 1960 by Chicago sportswriter Jerome Holtzman but it has been redefined, examined and criticized since. (The first official “save” went to Bill Singer on Opening Day 1969, who […]

October 9, 1876: The first National League Cincinnati Reds team finished the worst season in Reds history with an 11-0 lost to the Hartford Dark Blues. The Reds, or Porkopolitans as they were sometimes called, went 9-56, a .138 won-loss percentage, and finished 42 1/2 games behind the first place Chicago White Stockings.

The first Reds team had a genuine superstar, Charley Jones, who batted .286 with a .724 OPS (154 OPS+) and was second in the league with four home runs. Those were the only home runs the Reds hit all season. Jones was the only Red to have a slugging percentage over .279. Over the next decade, Jones became one of baseball’s best known and very best players with several teams signing him to contracts, but that’s another story. The Reds most common pitcher (carefully chose the word “common”) was Dory Dean who finished the season 4-26 with a 3.73 ERA (ERA+ 59). He led the team in games pitched and innings pitched despite missing the first two months of the season. His .133 winning percentage is the worst ever by a one-year pitcher with a minimum of 20 decisions.

At least the Reds finished the season. The New York Mutuals and the Philadelphia Athletics quit the season with two weeks to go and found their teams expelled from the National League. The nation’s two largest cities did not have major league baseball teams for at least the next five seasons. Philadelphia did not get another major league baseball team until 1882 when the American Association granted them a franchise. The National League granted a franchise to Philadelphia in 1883 in response to the AA move. The National League and American Association both granted New York franchises for the 1883 league seasons.

October 9, 1898: The Reds’ Dusty Miller collects eight hits in a Reds doubleheader with the Cleveland Spiders. The Reds won the first game, 12-5, but the second game resulted a 6-6 tie with the game called after seven innings due to darkness.

In the first game, Miller was 5-5 with five singles against Hall of Famer Cy Young. In the second game, he had a single, a double, and a triple. For the season, Miller batted .299 and led the Reds with 99 runs scored and 90 rbi. Miller played seven major league seasons, five with the Reds. His best Reds season was 1895, when he batted .335 with 10 homers, 112 rbi, 103 runs scored, 31 doubles, 16 triples and an .888 OPS (124 OPS+). The best hitter for the 1898 Reds was Mike Smith, a former 34-game winning pitcher for the Red Stockings in 1887. Smith batted .342 with an .858 OPS (139 OPS+).

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October 4, 1902: The Pittsburgh Pirates set a new major league record with 103 wins as they defeat a disinterested Cincinnati Reds team, 11-2, in Pittsburgh. Rain had dampened the grounds in Pittsburgh and the Reds did not want to play, but the Pirates insisted on playing the game to have a chance at playing the record. The Reds played many players out of position in protest of playing the game.

Pitchers were first baseman Jake Beckley and star outfielders Mike Donlin and Cy Seymour. Seymour and player-manager Joe Kelley were reported to have been smoking cigarettes in the game. The catcher was pitcher Rube Vickers who set a modern major league record (still standing) of six passed balls in one game.

October 4, 1919 Jimmy Ring fires a three-hitter as the Reds take a 3-1 World Series lead over the Chicago White Sox with a 2-0 victory.

Both Reds runs came in the fifth inning when they took advantage of two errors by White Sox starting pitcher Eddie Cicotte. With one out, Reds outfielder Pat Duncan reached second base when Cicotte threw wildly to first base after fielding Duncan’s ground ball. Larry Kopf then singled to left to score Duncan and was safe at second base when Cicotte dropped a throw at second base as Kopf was trying to stretch the single into a double. Greasy Neale then doubled to left field to score Kopf and provide the last run of the game.

Ring walked three and struck out three, while Cicotte allowed five hits and walked no one.

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September 24, 1924: Reds starting pitcher Carl Mays wins his 20th game of the season as the Reds defeat the Philadelphia Phillies, 9-6.

Oh, wait…may be this happened on September 20th….baseball-reference.com’s bullpen says it’s the 24th of September, as does “Redleg Journal” (by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder), but baseball-reference.com’s team pages say it was September 20th. Nevertheless, Mays becomes the first pitcher to win 20 games with three different teams. Mays won 22 and 21 for the Boston Red Sox in 1917-18, won 26 and 27 for the New York Yankees in 1920-21, and won 20 for the Reds in 1924. Only two other pitchers won 20 or more games with three different teams, Hall of Famers Grover Cleveland “Pete” Alexander and Gaylord Perry.

Mays finishes his 1924 Reds season with a 20-9 record and a 3.15 ERA (119 ERA+). Mays had one another excellent Reds season, going 19-12 with a 3.14 ERA and leading the league with 24 complete games in 1926. For his career, Mays was 208-126 with a 2.92 ERA; with the Reds over five years, Mays was 49-34 with a 3.26 ERA. Mays is best known or an unfortunate incident, for he’s the only major league pitcher to kill a batter with a pitched baseball. Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman was hit in the temple by a Mays pitch (Mays was with the New York Yankees at the time) and died the next morning. Mays wasn’t a popular player and this made things worse and some teams called for him to be banned from baseball. Mays said repeatedly the incident was an accident, but the beaning may have been what has kept Mays out of the Hall of Fame. More about Mays can be read here.

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September 19, 1883: Within nine days, Cincinnati Red Stockings star first baseman John Reilly twice hits for the cycle and becomes the first Cincinnati player to homer twice in the same game.

The hot streak began on September 10, when Reilly hit two inside-the-park home runs as the Red Stockings defeated the Pittsburgh Alleghenies, 12-6. Reilly was second on the team in home runs with nine in 1883, trailing team leader Charley Jones who had 10.

His first cycle came on September 12, 1883, when he and left handed third baseman Hick Carpenter both went 6-7 in a 27-5 win over the Pittsburgh. The Red Stockings collected a club record 33 hits in the game. Charley Jones had five hits in the game. This is the only game in major league history that two players from the same team had six hits in the same game. Three other Cincinnati players have collected six hits in a game: Tony Cuccinello (1931), Ernie Lombardi (1937), and Walker Cooper (1949).

Reilly’s second cycle came seven days later on September 19 as the Red Stockings defeated the Philadelphia Athletics 12-3 in Cincinnati. For the season, Reilly led the Red Stockings with a .311 batting average, a .485 SLP, an .810 OPS, and an OPS+ of 150. He scored 103 runs in only 98 games and collected 79 rbi.

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August 4: Another day where a few short stories may best serve the day. Apparently, August 4 hasn’t been a good day for those with bad tempers in Cincinnati. These stories are pretty much taken from “Redleg Journal” by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder:

1960: “Billy Martin punches Cubs pitcher Jim Brewer in the face during a brawl at Wrigley Field. Brewer suffered a fracture of the orbit bone around the right eye. Brewer touched off the incident with a high inside pitch that caused Martin to hit the dirt. Martin swung at the next pitch, but the bat slipped out of his hands and sailed toward the mound, landing about 15 feet from Brewer. Martin walked out to retrieve the bat, and after an exchange of words, the pair begun swinging at each other. The Cubs won the game, 5-3.

On August 5, Martin was fined $500 and suspended five days by National League President Warren Giles. Two weeks later, Brewer and the Cubs hit Martin with a $1,040,000 damage suit, inspiring Martin’s classic response: ‘How do they want it? Cash or check?’ the claim was settled out of court six years later, with Martin paying an amount reported to be between $10,000 and $25,000.”

Another quote attributed to Martin about the incident is found at baseball-reference.com’s bullpen section: “How can they ever collect it? I haven’t got that kind of money.”

Martin had been acquired in the offseason from the Cleveland Indians to man second base for the Reds. The fight with Brewer was his second major brawl of the season, having been involved in a serious fight on May 15 with Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Larry Conley. Martin only played one season for the Reds, batting .246 in 103 games after having played seven seasons for the New York Yankees, the team he would later manage several times (and be fired several times).

For the August 4th game, an Ernie Banks home run had staked the Cubs to a 3-2 lead after six innings, but the Reds tied it in the top of the seventh when super pinch hitter Jerry Lynch singled home Gordy Coleman to tie the game. The Cubs scored what proved to be the winning run in the bottom of the seventh when Sammy Taylor singled off with one out off Reds pitcher Cal McLish and pinch hitter Don Zimmer followed with a double, Taylor stopping at third. Reliever Bill Henry entered the game to face Bob Will, who singled to left scoring two runs to finalize the scoring.

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July 8, 1962: The Reds score two runs in the bottom of the 13th to erase the third Houston lead of the game and sweep a double header from the Colt .45’s, 12-8 and 13-12. The wins move the Reds 10 games above .500 for the first time since May 17 and keep them in fourth place.

In 1962, the Reds were attempting to defend their National League pennant, and it was the first year of expansion for the National League. The New York Mets and the Houston Colt .45s had been added to the league. During the expansion draft, the two new teams demonstrated two different approaches toward building their rosters. The Mets, with their large media market, went after aging “name” players such as the Reds’ Gus Bell, the Dodgers’ Gil Hodges, and purchasing former Phillie great Richie Ashburn from the Cubs. Meanwhile, the Colts preferred younger players just past their prime age such as Roman Mejias, Al Spangler, and Turk Farrell hoping to get a few productive years from them while the Colts developed young players.

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July 2, 1961: Reds first baseman Gordy Coleman gathers eight hits including two doubles and a game-winning home run as the first place Reds sweep a doubleheader from the Braves at County Stadium in Milwaukee. In the first game, Coleman went 5-6 and won the game with a three-run homer in the top of the […]

On May 21, 1963, 23 year old Jim Maloney tied the Cincinnati Reds club record for strikeouts with 16 in a 2-0 win over the Milwaukee Braves at County Stadium in Milwaukee. 1963 was Maloney’s fourth year in the majors, having won 2, 6, and 9 games in his previous three big league seasons. It […]

Today, a quote from reliever-writer, Jim Brosnan, who kept a journal during Cincinnati’s 1961 National League pennant winning season. The book, appropriately titled “Pennant Race” was his second book. His first offering, of similar nature, was The Long Season” written in 1959, the year he was traded from the St. Louis Cardinals to Cincinnati. “When […]

January 30, 1959: The Cincinnati Redlegs trade Harvey Haddix, Smoky Burgess, and Don Hoak to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Whammy Douglas, Jim Pendleton, John Powers and Frank Thomas.

First things first…the Reds were called the Redlegs during this time period. As the fear of Communism rose in the world, the Reds’ management felt it best to not be called the “Reds” during this time. The distinction was even more important during the 1961 World Series against the New York “Yanks.” (my Little League baseball team was the “Redlegs” as late as 1972–probably the same recycled wool uniforms”)

I think I know what the Reds were trying to do with this trade…the Reds were two years removed from their record-tying 1956 season when they hit 221 home runs and attendance soared past one million for the first time. The 1956 season had snapped an 11-year run of sub-.500 seasons, and they had finished third. Two years later (in 1958), the Reds finished below .500 again, and their power numbers dropped so they decided to get more pop. Their runs scored had dropped from 775 to 695 in those two seasons.

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