Even some longtime Reds fans have forgotten over time about the big one that got away from wearing a Cincinnati uniform — Vida Blue. That’s right, Vida Blue. In one of his final moves as the Reds General Manager, Bob Howsam traded for the star lefthanded pitcher of the Oakland A’s in December of 1977. […]

For two generations of Reds fans in the Nation, Riverfront Stadium was our home for baseball. It was our ballpark, our home away from home and it was the face of the Cincinnati Reds. More than that, for better or worse, it was the face of Cincinnati. Both politically and from a geographic sense, Cincinnati […]

[This post was written by John Ring, who is the Nation’s correspondent from Afghanistan, where he is serving the entire nation.] It’s all quiet —- some would say too quiet -— on the Reds front. No news on Arroyo. Choo is gone. No trades. Nothing. So while we collectively ponder the state of the current […]

(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.

As I watched the feed of the ceremony from GABP stream to my computer screen many miles away, one thought took front and center: I know I’ll never see their like again. Growing up in the 60s and 70s, with no Internet and no cable TV, I would impatiently wait all week until Saturday, when […]

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 […]

Thank God for Tony Cingrani. The lefthanded rookie hurler kept the Redlegs from getting swept out of Washington, DC with a true gem this past Sunday. Six innings of work, no runs, 11 strikeouts and a win. And this didn’t come against the Marlins or Cubs, either. Reds and lefthanded pitchers who are successful don’t […]

Major League Baseball is once again forcing the World Baseball Classic down our collective throats. For this, we can be most ungrateful. And this “Classic” comes from the same entity that gave us a tied All-Star Game, the designated hitter and day/night doubleheaders. I omit the time Major League Baseball took away Vida Blue from […]

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 […]

John Erardi does it again today, with a short interview with former Reds great reliever, Wayne Granger:

The Reds’ acquisition of second baseman Joe Morgan before the 1972 season is regarded as the crowning glory of the late Reds’ general manager Bob Howsam, because it laid the groundwork for the speed-and-power of the Big Red Machine.

But the forerunner of that deal – and arguably the best deal Howsam made up until that time – was before the 1969 season. He traded an aging but still popular superstar, Vada Pinson, for center fielder Bobby Tolan and relief pitcher Wayne Granger from St. Louis.

(snip)

if you ask most Reds fans older than 50 what they remember of Granger, they’d probably say for giving up a grand slam to Baltimore Orioles pitcher Dave McNally in the 1970 World Series, which the Reds lost 4 games to 1. It is the only time in World Series history that a pitcher has hit a grand slam. Even Granger brought up that pitch when he was asked what were his most indelible memories from his three years as a Red, all of them pitching for the late Reds manager Sparky Anderson.

“Sparky came out and said, ‘Throw strikes,’ and so I did,” recalled Granger. “It was a strike, all right, but it was probably the worst pitch in baseball history.”

(snip)

“I gave up some game-winning home runs when I was here,” he recalled. “I probably cost us the pennant in ’69.”

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I’ve been a Reds fan since the late ’60’s, with my luck of being able to attend plenty of games at Riverfront during the BRM era. I was sitting in the Green Seats in the OF when Pete came home in ’84 and was in the Red seats when Glenn Braggs reached over the fence in ’90 to beat the Pirates. I have had many favorites from Jim Maloney to Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Adam Dunn, and Jay Bruce.

Asterisks (*) in this case indicate that neither item turned out to be true…

December 9, 1965: Future Hall of Famer Frank Robinson was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for prospect outfielder Dick Simpson, all-star starting pitcher Milt Pappas, and star reliever Jack Baldschun. The Reds traded former and future MVP Robinson for they thought he was an “old 30” after thinking he was in decline* (notice the asterisk again).

Reds owner Bill DeWitt worked for legendary baseball general manager Branch Rickey as an office boy at age 14 for the St. Louis Cardinals and later followed him to the St. Louis Browns. Rickey, best known for his role in developing farm systems and his leadership in the integration of baseball through Jackie Robinson, had learned an important Rickey adage, that it was better to trade a player a year too early than a year too late. He took that role in trading Robinson for other talents. I described the players the Reds received in trade (Pappas, Baldschun, and Simpson) the way that I did because, in theory, it’s quite likely that DeWitt made a quality trade. He was addressing a Reds need (pitching), he was trying to make room for the Reds future (Tony Perez and Lee May) and he felt that Deron Johnson would be able to repeat his 130-rbi seasonal performance. Coupled with the fact that Robinson wasn’t playing at the same level he had from 1961-63, he thought Robinson was in decline.

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For November 29th, three brief notes of historical significance…. November 29, 1966: According to baseball-reference.com’s bullpen section, on this date a Chicago circuit court jury awarded pitcher Jim Brewer $100,000 in damages as a result of an on field fight with former Reds second baseman Billy Martin back in 1960. I have seen various reports […]