Opening Day starter Scott Feldman was booed 10 minutes after the game started on Monday at Great American Ballpark. For those of you in attendance that day, I understand your frustration. When Cincinnati manager Bryan Price named Feldman as the starter on that sacred day, I instantly sank into a depression. Nothing personal against Feldman, […]
This is my last Billy Hamilton-related post for the foreseeable future, I promise. And this one really isn’t about how awesome Billy is. It’s about other stuff, too. No, really…I mean it! Hamilton, Cincinnati’s center fielder, has kinda been the talk of the town lately. I accept a tiny part of the blame and/or credit […]
First, the truth. When Nation editor Steve Mancuso asked for a quick 100-word prediction of the 2016 Cincinnati Reds, I almost wrote: “I hope these Reds aren’t as bad as the team in 1982.” The train wreck in 1982 resulted in a record of 61-101. The Engineer of that debacle was General Manager Dick Wagner. […]
We asked the writing staff to offer up to 100 words in answer to the question: What would you consider a successful season for the 2016 Cincinnati Reds? They were told they could frame their answers in terms of wins and losses or otherwise. Please add your own answers in the comments section. Here’s […]
Opening Day. Opening Day is one game, at one place and at the Sanctuary City of Baseball on the banks of the Ohio River. To Reds fans and the City of Cincinnati, Opening Day is close to sacred. This is nothing new to readers of this web site or to Reds fans in general. 29 […]
I love the Cincinnati Reds. I shouldn’t actually have to say that, since I’ve been writing about the Reds — and demonstrating my obsession with this infernal team — nearly every single day here at Redleg Nation for the last nine seasons. But make no mistake: I love the Cincinnati Reds National League Baseball Club, […]
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 […]
December 10, 1982: The Cincinnati Reds, seeking to boost their outfield team, traded prospect pitcher Scott Brown to the Kansas City Royals for injured Royals phenom outfielder, Clint Hurdle. In March, 1978, Clint Hurdle made the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine as baseball’s next phenom (see here). He was one of the most hyped rookie […]
December 7, 1983: The Reds signed their first “major” free agent of the free agency period when they signed Dave Parker to to a three-year contract.
While with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Parker was one of baseball’s biggest superstars of the late 1970’s. Parker won the MVP for the Pirates in 1978 when he hit .334 with 20 homers, 32 doubles, 12 triples, and a 117 rbi. He led the league with a .585 SLP, a .979 OPS, and a 166 OPS+. Parker had finished third in MVP voting in both 1975 and 1977 while receiving MVP votes for five consecutive years from 1975-79. As a right fielder, Parker was known for his powerful arm and won three consecutive Gold Gloves from 1977-79.
In 1969, I was eight-years-old, and I decided I wanted to be a sports fan. It’s odd to think of it that way, but I was the oldest of four boys. My father wasn’t a sports fan; my mother was, but she was kind of busy having four boys between the ages of five and eight at the time. We kept busy in my small town in Kentucky (Hodgenville, birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, if you didn’t know) by reading, playing in our fenced backyard, watching “Lost in Space,” “Gilligan’s Island,” and “Hogan’s Heroes” on television. We had fun, but I noticed my friends were starting to talk about sports, and if the television news thought it was important enough to give time to sports, I thought it must be important. So, I made a conscious decision to become a sports fan.
I checked my World Book Encyclopedia and looked up the major sports to find which teams were best. I had that option, you know. There were no professional teams in Hodgenville, Kentucky, so I chose the Boston Celtics for the NBA, the Green Bay Packers for the NFL, and the Los Angeles Dodgers for baseball. I know; the Dodgers selection seems at odds with my other choices, but I never wanted to go to New York so I couldn’t choose the Yankees. It was easy to choose the University of Kentucky Wildcats for they always won. Looking back, the Packers weren’t such a good choice at the time, but the loyalty paid off when Brett Favre and Reggie White joined the team.
By 1970, I was watching every baseball game I could on the Saturday NBC Game of the Week. Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek kept talkiing about how great the Cincinnati Reds were as a baseball team. They had this great catcher in Johnny Bench, and he and the Reds slugging third baseman, Tony Perez, were absolutely destroying the league (the Reds were 70-30 in their first 100 games). They had a rookie pitcher named Wayne Simpson that no one could hit, the “Big Bopper,” Lee May at first base, a speedster named Bobby Tolan who could do it all, and Jim Merritt was on his way to winning 20 games AND he could even hit home runs. Bernie Carbo and Hal McRae made for a nearly unstoppable “platoon” in left field, a reliever named Wayne Granger could pitch nearly every day, and their manager, George Anderson, had a cool nickname (Sparky). They had even more: they were led by the player that embodied baseball and was baseball’s best ambassador, right fielder Pete Rose, who played every game like a man on a mission. Wait, that’s an understatement. He was on a mission.
I was hooked. As a nine-year-old I could change teams and the Reds were winning. I watched the 1970 all-star game in vivid wonder as Rose bowled over catcher Ray Fosse to score the winning run. To me, it was an easy decision for Rose to attempt to score. Why play the game at all if you aren’t trying to win? And, anyway, for any critics of the all-star move, Fosse was playing to win, too. He didn’t have to be blocking home plate, if it was just an “exhibition game” to the players. It was a tough, but fair play.
May 31–The 1981 season may have been one of the most disappointing seasons in Reds history. Not because of their play on the field; to the contrary, the Reds had baseball’s best record, 66-42, but were left out of the playoffs due to the “split-season” format necessitated by the player strike. The Reds finished second in both the first half and second half and were left out of the post-season championship run.
With free agency still being somewhat new, and the Reds not wanting to participate, they made several off-season moves post-1981. CF Ken Griffey Sr. was traded to the Yankees; LF George Foster was traded to the Mets; RF Dave Collins was granted free agency; 3B Ray Knight was traded to the Astros; C Joe Nolan was traded to the Orioles. SP Paul Moskau was traded to the Orioles in a separate deal, and RP Doug Bair was traded to the Cardinals. In return, we received an aging Cesar Cedeno, 3B Wayne Krenchicki, failed OF prospect Clint Hurdle, C Alex Trevino, RP Jim Kern, and two swing men, Bob Shirley and Greg Harris.
Two last inning home runs by Wayne Krenchicki and Brad Gulden, in the bottoms of the ninth and 14th innings, respectively, save the Reds from a near loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-4, on May 30, 1984. After spotting the Pirates a 3-0 lead, the Reds had rallied for two runs in the bottom of […]