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 […]

So how bad is it? It snowed on April 9. In the first week of the 2018 season, the Reds lost as many starting players (2) as they had wins. Manager Bryan Price was still making some head-scratching decisions. Some were saying the season is over after just 8 games. It hasn’t gotten better, as […]

[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 […]

(This is the second in a series of articles about Cincinnati Reds pitchers to throw no-hitters. Twelve Red hurlers have thrown no-hitters, including Homer Bailey’s gem against the Pittsburgh Pirates last season. Bailey’s no-hitter was the first thrown since Mr. Perfect, Tom Browning, beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 in 1989, retiring all 27 hitters […]

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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September 3, 1969: Jim Maloney hurls his 9th career two-hitter as the Reds beat the Cubs, 2-0. The loss cuts the Cubs lead over the eventual World Champion Miracle Mets to four games.

The Cubs had led the newly formed National League Eastern Division by as much as nine games as last as August 16 when they were 75-44, but would finish the season 17-26 and finish eight games behind the New York Mets.

The Reds’ only runs come on a fifth inning home run by Alex Johnson with Bobby Tolan on base. Tolan had led off the inning with a bunt single. The win kept the third place Reds 1 1/2 games behind the division leading San Francisco Giants and only a half-game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. The fourth place (and eventual division champion) Atlanta Braves were three games behind at the time.

The Reds would actually move back into first place within the week, moving a half game ahead of the Giants after sweeping the Giants in a doubleheader on September 8 by identical 5-4 scores. However, the lead was short-lived and Reds finished third in the division, four games behind the Braves.

For his career, Maloney hurls nine two-hitters, five one-hitters, and three no-hitters. During his career, Maloney’s best months were at the start of the season (April) and the end of the season (Sept-Oct). We’ve already mentioned him now for September 1st, 2nd, and 3rd for having standout performances on those dates. Splitting out the months, Maloney’s record for September was 28-19 with a 2.76 ERA, an opponents’ batting average of .194, and his highest K/rate by month at 8.8 (opponent OPS+ of 76). For April, he was 13-4 with a 2.19 ERA, an opponents’ batting average of .190, a K/rate of 7.6 (opponent OPS+ of 74). His worst month was June, when he was 23-19 with a 4.03 ERA, an opponents’ batting average of .244, and a K/rate of 7.5 (opponents OPS+ of 125). Overall for his career, Maloney was 134-84 with a 3.19 ERA with 30 career shutouts.

1969 was Alex Johnson’s last year with the Reds. After being acquired from the Cardinals for Dick Simpson (the failed outfield prospect from the Frank Robinson trade), Johnson twice contended for the National League batting crown. He finished fourth in 1968 with a .312 average (Pete Rose won with .335) and Johnson finished sixth in 1969 with .315 (Rose won again, this time with .348). Johnson won the 1970 American League batting title with a .329 after being traded to the California Angels along with Chico Ruiz for Jim McGlothlin, Pedro Borbon, and Vern Geishert.

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On June 11, 1967, Reds’ bonus baby Don Pavletich hits a grand slam home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to cap a five run rally and salvage the second game of a doubleheader. The Reds’ 8-4 win over the Houston Astros maintained the Reds 2 1/2 game 1st place over the eventual World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.

The Reds had entered the day with a 3 1/2 game lead over the Cardinals after rookie lefty Mel Queen had raised his record to 7-1 (2.20 ERA) following a 9-4 victory over the Astros. However, as the Cardinals swept a doubleheader from the Dodgers, the Reds and Milt Pappas (6-4) had lost the first game of their doubleheader to the Astros and Mike Cuellar (7-2) by a score of 7-4. The Reds reached Cuellar for 14 hits, but scored only four runs, one on a home run by backup catcher Pavletich, his second of the year.

The second game wasn’t faring much better for the Reds. With the score tied 1-1 in the third inning, the Astros’ Jim Wynn (a former Reds’ farmhand) blasted a two run homer off Reds’ starter Sammy Ellis to give the Astros a 3-1 lead and the Astros’ Bob Aspromonte had a solo homer in the fourth to make it 4-1. The Reds had been in first place since April 23rd, and were in danger of seeing their first place lead drop to 1 1/2 games if they were to be swept by the Astros on this day.
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Summarizing the Redleg Trade Review series, today I’ll list my ten worst Reds trades ever. You can search all the trades that were reviewed by going to the Redleg Nation search engine at the upper right corner of the page. I don’t know if it’s a matter of perspective or exactly why it seems this way, but it sure seems that we’ve made a bunch of, let’s just say, not-so-profitable trades over the years.

1. December 15, 1900….Christy Mathewson traded to the New York Giants for pitcher Amos Rusie. I’ll make it simple: Christy Mathewson is one of the five best pitchers of all time, winning 373 lifetime games. He won one with the Reds. Amos Rusie is also a Hall of Fame pitcher. He won 245 lifetime games, zero with the Reds.

2. December 9, 1965: Frank Robinson is traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Baltimore Orioles for Jack Baldschun, Milt Pappas and Dick Simpson. Unfortunately, this is one of the most famous baseball trades of all time with no good light shining on the Reds.

3. December 13, 1934: Johnny Mize is purchased by the Cincinnati Reds from the St. Louis Cardinals.
April 15, 1935: Returned to the St. Louis Cardinals by the Cincinnati Reds following previous purchase.
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January 1967: Bob Howsam is named Reds General Manager, hired from similar position with St. Louis Cardinals. January 11, 1968: Alex Johnson is traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Cincinnati Reds for Dick Simpson. November 25, 1969: Alex Johnson is traded by the Cincinnati Reds with Chico Ruiz to the California Angels for […]

December 9, 1965: Frank Robinson is traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Baltimore Orioles for Jack Baldschun, Milt Pappas and Dick Simpson. In probably the second best known trade in Reds history (only to the Joe Morgan trade), the Reds deal Hall of Fame outfielder Frank Robinson to the Baltimore Orioles and proceed to […]