My city is a city in which we throw a parade on the first day of baseball season. Also that parade features a giant fiberglass rooster, one which is carefully slotted into a car wash bay so as to look its best as it makes its way through the heart of downtown. My city is […]

December 8, 1987: Four years and one day after making him the Reds first big free agent acquisition, the Reds trade outfielder Dave Parker to the Oakland A’s for starting pitcher and future Reds ace Jose Rijo and reliever Tim Birtsas.

Parker’s best Reds season had come in 1985 when he finished second in MVP balloting after hitting .312 with 34 home runs and 125 rbi, 42 doubles, a .551 SLP, and a .916 OPS (149 OPS+). He led the league in rbi, doubles, total bases, and intentional walks. He finished fifth in MVP voting in 1986 when he hit .273 with 31 home runs and 116 rbi, again leading the league in total bases, but his OPS+ slipped to 117 (OPS was .807). He slipped a little more in 1987 when he hit .253 with 26 homers, 97 rbi, and a .744 OPS (92 OPS+) and his defensive performance had also been declining now that he was 36 years old.

Parker still had a few more productive years remaining and finished 11th in MVP voting in the American League while with the Oakland A’s in 1989 (.264/22/97 with .741 OPS) and 16th in MVP votes with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1990 (.289/21/92 with .781 OPS). His final season came in 1991.

The Reds had young outfielders in place ready to replace Parker, namely Kal Daniels, Eric Davis, Paul O’Neill, and Tracy Jones. All the outfield prospects were at least a decade younger than Parker and all were talented players.

For Parker, the Reds received their next ace pitcher in Jose Rijo. Rijo had reached the majors at age 19 with the New York Yankees in 1984, but had struggled in his first four major league seasons, going 19-30 with a 4.75 ERA (83 ERA+) with the Yankees and Oakland A’s before joining the Reds.
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October 14, 1952: The Reds trade outfielder Cal Abrams, catcher Joe Rossi, and first baseman Gail Henley to the Pittsburgh Pirates for outfielder Gus Bell. Bell becomes a four-time all-star and one of the favorite players in Reds history.

October 14, 1968: During the National League’s second expansion draft of the 1960’s, the Reds lose six players. The Montreal Expos select centerfielder Mack Jones, lefty pitcher Dan McGinn, and infielder Jimy Williams, while the San Diego Padres select lefty pitchers Billy McCool and Fred Katawczik, and catcher Fred Kendall.

Only Jones, McCool, and McGinn played on the 1968 Reds. Jones was the team’s fourth outfielder, and a good one, who batted .252 with 10 homers (124 OPS+). McCool was still only 23-years-old, but had begun losing effectiveness (3-4, 4.97), and McGinn was a 24-year-old lefty prospect. Kendall later became a regular Padres catcher in the early 1970’s, Williams never made it back to the majors (except as a manager), and Katawczik never made the majors.

October 14, 1970: The Reds hold on for one more day as they win the fourth game of the 1970 World Series, 6-5, in Baltimore. Lee May provided the winning runs with a three-run eighth inning home run.

The Reds had scored single runs in the second, third, and fifth innings. Dave Concepcion drove home May with a second inning triple, May scored Bobby Tolan on a third inning single, and Pete Rose homered off Jim Palmer in the fifth inning for the Reds’ first three runs. However, the Orioles had reached Reds starter Gary Nolan for a Brooks Robinson second inning solo home run, and for three runs in the third on run-scoring singles by Brooks Robinson and Frank Robinson with Elrod Hendricks singling home the third run off Reds reliever Don Gullett in the same frame. The Orioles made it 5-3 in the sixth when Brooks Robinson singled with one out and scored all the way from first base when Hendricks singled to right field and scored on Pete Rose’s errant throw to third base. Rose had earlier gunned down Brooks Robinson at the plate to prevent a run in the third.

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July 22, 1995: Former strike replacement player Rick Reed makes his Reds debut and pitches 6 1/3 no-hit innings in a 4-3 win over the Chicago Cubs.

The players had gone on strike during the 1994 season with a couple of surprise teams in first place. The Reds had an injury filled 1993 season and finished in fifth place in the National League Western Division with a 73-89 record. The divisions were realigned for the 1994, the Reds were healthy, and the Reds were in first place in the National League Central Division when games were halted on August 11. The Reds were 66-48, 1/2 game ahead of the second place Houston Astros. Meanwhile, the Montreal Expos were having their best season ever with a 74-40 record, good enough for first place in the National League East. After a couple of weeks the owners voted to lockout the players and cancel the remainder of the season. Only two owners voted against this: Reds owner Marge Schott and Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos (Orioles were second in the American League East).

There was still no agreement between the players and the teams as the 1995 spring training season began. The major league owners decided to hire strike replacement players and proceed with the season. There was much disagreement from baseball management on how to approach the situation. Here’s a report from Jason Robertson at Baseball Almanac.com

Baltimore did not field a strikebreaking team that spring. Team owner Peter Angelos refused to do so due to some connections with other union(s). The Toronto Blue Jays planned on playing regular season games in their spring training home in Dunedin, Florida, due to Ontario labor laws preventing the use of strikebreaking employees. Bob Didier filled in as manager for Cito Gaston during the strike. Tom Runnells was named interim manager of the Detroit Tigers, after Sparky Anderson refused to manage the team and continually insulted the quality of players and the integrity of baseball that spring. Due to Quebec labor laws, Montreal was the only team that could hire strikebreaking players from outside the US or Canada, giving them a larger pool of players to choose from.

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April 5, 1996: Eduardo Perez is traded by the California Angels to the Cincinnati Reds for Will Pennyfeather. November 10, 1997: Dmitri Young traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Cincinnati Reds for Jeff Brantley. February 5, 1998: Roberto Petagine is traded by the New York Mets to the Cincinnati Reds for Yuri Sanchez […]

July 21, 1995: Deion Sanders traded by the Cincinnati Reds with David McCarty, Ricky Pickett, John Roper and Scott Service to the San Francisco Giants for Dave Burba, Darren Lewis and Mark Portugal.

July 31, 1995: Traded a player to be named later, Dave Tuttle (minors) and C.J. Nitkowski to the Detroit Tigers. Received David Wells. The Cincinnati Reds sent Mark Lewis (November 16, 1995) to the Detroit Tigers to complete the trade.

The Reds had finished the strike-shortened 1994 with the best record in the Central Division, 66-48, one half game ahead of the Astros. The Reds led the league scoring with 5.30 runs per game, and their pitching staff was third in fewest runs scored, allowing 3.78 runs per game…that’s almost a 1 1/2 run per game differential. The Reds were leading the way in 1995, too, with a 6 1/2 game lead over the Astros on July 21st.

The Reds had taken the lead through a strong offense; they finished second in scoring this season behind the Colorado Rockies, but their pitching was allowing about a half run more than the year before. Continue reading

If you’re like me, you grew up as a big fan of Eric Davis. Well, MLB.com is running a series of “Where are they now?” retrospectives, and for the Reds, they take a look at Eric the Red. Always good to read anything about Davis. Also, if you’re interested, the Cleveland entry into this series […]