This week’s respondents are Matt Habel, Steve Mancuso, Jim Walker, Tom Mitsoff, and Chad Dotson. Our Daily Reds Obsession: Which Reds player who played before you were born do you wish you had been able to watch? Matt: The player that comes to mind first is Joe Morgan. Looking at the WAR numbers make it […]

Earlier today, Steve discussed Joey Votto’s MVP candidacy, and took a sweet little trip down memory lane. The votes have now been tabulated, and the winner announced. Your 2017 National League Most Valuable player is Giancarlo Stanton. Well, maybe he’s your MVP. My MVP is Joey Votto. Votto finished just two points behind Stanton in […]

This was a pretty bad year for the Reds. Last year was a pretty bad year, too. But, you know, despite it all, we still got to watch Billy Hamilton catch everything and we still got to see Joey Votto hit like Joey Votto. And that got me to thinking, what are some of the […]

We’ve all been sentimental here at Redleg Nation about Johnny Cueto being traded to Kansas City. I’ve personally drowned my sorrows as much as anyone. Reds fans everywhere are waxing poetic about Cueto, what he has meant to the club, and how he will go down in franchise history. Mike Leake has now been traded […]

As Reds fans we are all sad to see Johnny Cueto go to Kansas City. I feel he ranks right up there with Jose Rijo and Mario Soto as the best Reds pitchers I have seen in my lifetime. I thought it would be interesting to figure out where Cueto ranks among all the starting […]

We all know that Johnny Cueto was fantastic last year. He finished as the runner-up in the Cy Young Award balloting. Cueto’s season line of 20 Wins, 9 Losses, 2.25 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 242 strikeouts in 243.2 innings was not good enough to win the award in 2014, but it was plenty good enough to win the Cy Young most seasons. Unfortunately Cueto suffered the bad luck of running into the Dodgers buzzsaw named Clayton Kershaw who produced a 21-3 record, 1.77 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 239 strikeouts in 198 innings.

It is not the first great season Cueto has had. I thought he should have won the Cy Young in 2012, which was the year knuckleballer R.A. Dickey of the Mets took home the hardware. Cueto’s stats that year (19-9, 2.78 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 170 Ks in 217 innings) were not quite as good as Dickey’s (20-6, 2.73 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 230 Ks in 233.2 innings) but Cueto faced the disadvantage of pitching half his games in a ballpark that is much less friendly to pitchers than Dickey’s home field. That notion was reflected in their ERA+ scores, which is a form of ERA that is adjusted for the pitcher’s league and ballpark. 100 is a league average ERA+ with higher scores being better. Dickey’s ERA+ in 2012 was 139 while Cueto’s was 148 — a clear advantage for our guy. Cueto actually came in 4th in the balloting that year behind Dickey, Kershaw and Gio Gonzalez of the Nationals. For the record, Cueto’s ERA+ last year was even better at 160 but Kershaw’s was a whopping 197!

I thought it would be interesting to compare Cueto’s fantastic 2014 season to the best seasons in franchise history. I would like to know just how historic Cueto’s epic season was among the well over 100 years of Cincinnati baseball. So let’s dig into some numbers to find out… Continue reading

Nick Doran writes for The Dynasty Guru, Fake Teams, Redleg Nation and Blazing Fastball and can be found on Twitter @BlazingFastba11.

One of the best things about Redsfest is the ability to meet other Reds fans who share the same passion you do for the Cincinnati Reds. So meeting Chris Felix and seeing his art work was special at Redsfest for me. If you’re from the Cincinnati area, you probably know his work. He’s been featured […]

Baseball-reference.com’s blog has a couple of interesting tidbits of statistical information today that are Reds related.

With the Phillies’ signing Cliff Lee, they decided to research for starting rotations that would have had four starting pitchers making 30 or more starts each with ERA+ of 130 or greater. They found one, the 1997 Atlanta Braves, which had Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Denny Neagle, and John Smoltz in the rotation. Future Red Neagle was 20-5 with a 2.97 ERA, finishing third in Cy Young voting that season (in two seasons with the Reds, Neagle was 17-7 with a 3.89 ERA). The famous 1971 Baltimore Orioles rotation which boasted 4 20-game winners (Mike Cuellar, Pat Dobson, Jim Palmer, and Dave McNally) did not have any of their starters with an ERA+ of 130 or greater. Palmer had a 126 while the others were quite good (109, 116, 126, 117, respectively). That huge offense helped their outstanding pitching staff.

Baseball-reference.com found nine rotations that had three pitchers meet the criteria of 30 or more starts and ERA+ of 130 or higher, and one rotation was that of the 1925 Cincinnati Reds. The 1925 Reds finished in third place with an 80-73 record, 15 games behind the league champion Pittsburgh Pirates. The Reds led the league with a 3.38 ERA, a half run less than the runner-up Pirates (3.87).

The three Reds’ hurlers that met the parameters were Pete Donohue (21-14, 3.08 ERA, 38 starts, 133 ERA+), Dolf Luque (16-18, 2.63 ERA, 36 starts, 156 ERA+), and Hall of Famer Eppa Rixey(21-11, 2.88 ERA, 36 starts, 142 ERA+). The fourth starter slot was split between Rube Benton (9-10, 4.05 ERA, 16 starts, 101 ERA+) and Jakie May (8-9, 3.87 ERA, 12 starts, 106 ERA+).

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No Cincinnati Reds pitcher has ever won a Cy Young Award. The Award was initiated in 1956 and was only awarded to one player per year through 1966 (when it was expanded to the current format of one award per league).

Just like we memorialized the MVP bridesmaids yesterday, today we’ll take a look at the Reds CY Young bridesmaids. To start, let’s take the “STATS, Inc, All-Time Baseball Sourcebook” and find out which Reds would have won if the Cy Young had been given in the years that it wasn’t actually awarded (according to the statistical “experts”). Since no Reds pitcher has won the Cy Young, and since the Reds are typically remembered as The Big Red Machine for our 1970’s incredible offense, many may not realize that the Reds spent many years as a pitching/defense first organization:

1882, Will White, American Association, 40-12, 1.54 ERA, 122 K’s
1883, Will White, American Association, 43-31, 2.09 ERA, 141 K’s
1884, Jim McCormick, Union Association, 21-3, 1.54 ERA, 161 K’s
1923, Dolf Luque, National League, 27-8, 1.93 ERA, 151 K’s
1925, Eppa Rixey, National League, 21-11, 2.88 ERA, 69 K’s
1939, Bucky Walters, National League, 27-11, 2.29 ERA, 137 K’s
1940, Bucky Walters, National League, 22-10, 2.48 ERA, 115 K’s
1944, Bucky Walters, National League, 23-8, 2.40 ERA, 77 K’s
1947, Ewell Blackwell, National League, 22-8, 2.47 ERA, 193 K’s

We should probably review the “winners” here….
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When Joey Votto won the 2010 National League MVP Award, it marked the 12th time that a Red had won the Award since it’s inception in 1911 (no award was given from 1915-23 or in 1930).

Reds winners are listed below, and in deference to Joey Votto’s quote about batting average (“we all know that batting average is kind of an overrated statistic”), I’ll use more modern metrics for their performance.

1938, Ernie Lombardi, catcher, .342 batting average/.391 OBP/.524 SLP
1939, Bucky Walters, pitcher, 27-11, 2.29 ERA, 137 K’s
1940, Frank McCormick, 1st base, .309/.367/.482
1961, Frank Robinson, outfield, .323/.404/.611
1970, Johnny Bench, catcher, .293/.345/.587
1972, Johnny Bench, catcher, .270/.379/.541
1973, Pete Rose, outfield, .338/.401/.437
1975, Joe Morgan, 2nd base, .327/.466/.508
1976, Joe Morgan, 2nd base, .320/.444/.576
1977, George Foster, outfield, .320/.382/.631
1995, Barry Larkin, shortstop, .319/.394/.492
2010, Joey Votto, 1st base, .324/.424/.600

You most likely know about most, if not all, of these guys. Lombardi, Walters, and McCormick were stars that played with the 1939-40 Reds teams. Robinson was the best player of the late 50’s/early 60’s and played on the 1961 World Series team. Bench, Rose, Morgan, and Foster were stars from the Big Red Machine World Series teams. Larkin was a star from the 1990 World Series team, and Votto broke many Reds hitting records from this past season.

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September 22, 1903: “Turkey Mike” Donlin ties a major league record by tripling in four consecutive at bats during a doubleheader split with the Philadelphia Phillies in Cincinnati.

Donlin’s first triple came in the last at bat of a first game 12-7 Reds loss and then he tripled in his first three at bats of the second game Reds 8-1 victory. For the afternoon, Donlin had six hits in seven at bats. For the season, Donlin’s only full season in Cincinnati, Donlin batted .351 with 25 doubles, 18 triples, 7 homers, and 67 rbi, a .420 OBP, and a .936 OPS (155 OPS+). He was second in the league in OPS, triples, home runs, and runs created. He may be one of the best Reds’ talents you’ve never heard of and a piece of one of the greatest collections of Reds outfield talent in Reds history.

Donlin was quite the character. The Reds signed him as a free agent in 1902 while he was in jail for assaulting an actress. When he was released, he finished the 1902 season by playing in 34 games and hitting .287. He was one of baseball’s best players in 1903, and was hitting a robust .356 in 1904 when the Reds traded him to the New York Giants. His OPS+ at the time of his trade was 162, so he was producing. However, Donlin was also an actor and would frequently take leaves of absence during his baseball career to pursue his other craft. Over 12 major league seasons, Donlin batted .333 with an OPS+ of 144, but he played only 1049 games (averaging about 85 per year) during his career.

The 1903 Reds finished in fourth place in the National League with a record of 74-65, 16 games behind the first place Pittsburgh Pirates. Center fielder Cy Seymour was a hitting machine for the Reds, batting .342 with 25 doubles, 15 triples, seven homers (OPS+ of 134) and third baseman Harry Steinfeldt had his best season as a Red, batting .312 and leading the league with 32 doubles (OPS+ of 136). Hall of Fame first baseman Jake Beckley had another good season in his last year with the Reds, batting .327 with an OPS+ of 126. In seven seasons with the Reds, Beckley batted .325 with 251 extra base hits, 530 rbi, and an OPS+ of 128. Hall of Fame manager-outfielder Joe Kelley also played well, batting .316 with a .402 OBP (OPS+ of 124) playing a utility role in 105 games for the Reds.

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September 15, 1885: Rookie Cincinnati Red Stockings pitcher George Pechiney defeats the Baltimore Orioles, 1-0, in Baltimore. Pechiney joined the Red Stockings in August after pitching in the minors and started 11 games down the stretch. He went 7-4 with a 2.02 ERA (161 ERA+) during the last few weeks of the season. The 1885 Red Stockings finished in second place to the St. Louis Browns. The Red Stockings were 63-49, 16 games behind the Browns.

Pechiney didn’t fare as well in 1886. He started 40 games and pitched 330 innings, finishing the season 15-21 with a 4.14 ERA (85 ERA+). The nadir of his season came on April 27 when the Browns beat him 20-2 with Pechiney going the distance. He allowed 15 earned runs and 24 hits. At year’s end his contract was sold to the Cleveland Blues. In 1887 (his final season) he went 1-9 with a 7.12 ERA (61 ERA+).

The 1885 Red Stockings team was built on offense. Managed by local sportswriter Ollie Caylor (see, sportswriters can manage a team…), the offense was led by local superstar Charley Jones (fascinating biography found here…), Jones was fifth in the league in OPS and batted .322 (157 OPS+). The Red Stockings boasted one of the best infields in Cincinnati history in first baseman John Reilly ( career 128 OPS+), Hall of Fame second baseman Bid McPhee (career OPS+ 106), third baseman Hick Carpenter (OPS+ 86) and slugging shortstop Frank Fennelly (OPS+ of 118). Fennelly had a huge 1885, batting .273 with 10 homers (41 extra base hits) and 89 rbi in just 112 games (OPS+ 142).

The 1886 Red Stockings declined and were the worst Cincinnati team of their American Association era, finishing in fifth place (65-73) the only sub-.500 team of the 1880’s.

September 15, 1887: The Cincinnati Red Stockings defeat two different teams on the same day. In the morning, they defeat The New York Metropolitans, 4-0, on Staten Island, and then travel to Brooklyn to beat the Brooklyn Grays that afternoon, 11-1.

The 1887 Red Stockings finished second with an 81-54 record, 14 games behind the St. Louis Browns. The 1887 Red Stockings featured duel 30-game winners in Mike Smith (34-17, 2.94 ERA, 148 ERA+) and Tony Mullane (31-17, 3.24 ERA, 134 ERA+). (You can read more about Smith and Mullane here). John Reilly was the hitting star, batting .309 with 96 rbi in 134 games.

September 15, 1950: The pennant winning Philadelphia Phillies sweep a doubleheader from the Reds. The Reds lose the first game, 2-1, and then go 19 innings before losing the nightcap, 8-7.

The Phillies first game runs scored on a double play ground out and a home run by catcher Andy Seminick, giving them a 2-0 lead after four innings. The Reds’ only run came in the sixth inning when Virgil Stallcup doubled home Lloyd Merriman. Knuckleballer Willie Ramsdell went the distance in the loss.

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