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 […]

Everyone knows it. Me, Chad, The Nation, everybody. The Reds need to obtain a veteran starting pitcher who can reliably show up on the mound every fifth day, give them (dare I say?) 180 innings of work and anchor the pitching staff. Given that the Reds are a small market team, getting one through free […]

In his first at-bat as a Cincinnati Red on Opening Day of 1969, Bobby Tolan smacked a home run into the Sun Deck of Crosley Field off Don Drysdale. It was the start of a stellar four-year run for Tolan, who was the heir apparent to the centerfield position vacated with the trade of Reds […]

Like baseball itself, Spring Training has changed and evolved over the years. Logistically, it sure has for Cincinnati. The Reds left Florida for Arizona in 2010, a move that probably still irks some in the Nation. Apparently, it came down to Sarasota and Goodyear and Reds Owner Bob Castellini didn’t want to pull the trigger. […]

On April 1, 2016, the Cincinnati Reds claimed pitcher Dan Straily off waivers from the San Diego Padres. On the surface, this acquisition looked like the Reds were desperate. That assumption would be correct. They were. The Reds pitching staff coming out of Goodyear, Arizona was inexperienced, decimated by injuries and the season was getting […]

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 […]

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 […]

December 1, 1972: The Reds trade hitter-formerly injured 2b-turned-outfielder Hal McRae and injured pitching phenom Wayne Simpson to the Kansas City Royals for reserve outfielder Richie Scheinblum and formerly injured pitching phenom Roger Nelson. It wasn’t a good deal for the Reds, but it was a good change of scenery for the participants. McRae had […]

November 24, 1976: On this date, Reds second baseman Joe Morgan wins his second consecutive Most Valuable Player Award.

Joe Morgan had his best professional season in 1976, batting .320 with 27 home runs, 111 runs batted in, 113 runs scored, 30 doubles, 60 stolen bases, 114 walks, and a Gold Glove. He led the majors with a .444 on base percentage, a .575 slugging percentage, a 1.020 OPS, and a 186 OPS+. Traded to the Reds in the 1971 postseason, he improved every year with the Reds from 1972-76 with successive OPS+ ratings of 149, 154, 159, 169, and 186. He finished in the top eight in MVP voting each year from 1972-76, winning twice, finishing fourth twice, and eighth once.

About Morgan’s 1976, baseball writer and sabermetrician Bill James wrote in his book, “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract,” as to why he chose Morgan as the 15th greatest player in baseball history:

“It seems to me that season (1976), as a package, is the equal of anything every done by Lou Gehrig or Jimmie Foxx or Joe DiMaggio or Stan Musial. It wasn’t even his best season; his best season was 1975. He had three other seasons as good as 1976.”

Morgan played 22 major league seasons, batting .271 with 268 home runs, 1133 rbi, 1650 runs scored, 689 stolen bases, 2517 hits, and 1865 walks. Morgan had a career OPS of .819 (132 OPS+). He played eight seasons with the Reds, batting .288 with 152 homers, 612 rbi, 816 runs scored, and 406 stolen bases. With the Reds, Morgan had an OBP of .415, a .470 SLP, and an OPS of .885 (147 OPS+). For a full list of Morgan accomplishments, please click here.

Here are some quotes about and from Joe Morgan:
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November 9, 1973: The Reds trade disgruntled outfielder Bobby Tolan and relief pitcher Dave Tomlin to the San Diego Padres for starting pitcher Clay Kirby.

Tolan had been acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals along with reliever Wayne Granger on October 11, 1968 for popular star Reds outfielder Vada Pinson. Pinson played for seven more seasons after leaving the Reds, but he was never the same player he had been as a Red, except for his 1970 season with the Cleveland Indians (.286, 24 homers, 82 rbi, 115 OPS+). Meanwhile, Tolan became an outstanding outfielder for the Reds and probably the most underrated player on the 1970 World Series team.

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October 22, 1920: The 1919 Chicago White Sox gambling conspirators are officially in trouble. From the bullpen section of baseball-reference.com: Eight members of the Chicago White Sox are indicted for supposedly throwing the 1919 World Series. Although considered heavy favorites to win the Series, the White Sox lost to the Cincinnati Reds in eight games […]

October 21, 1877: Does the curveball really curve or is it an optical illusion? It’s easy for us to see today with digital graphics, but even when I was a child, I would sometimes come across “scientific” sports articles discussing the physics of how a pitched baseball curved or whether it was actually an optical illusion.

Well, as is the case with most things, the magazine articles I read as a child weren’t exactly full of original ideas. Back in 1877, the folks managing the Cincinnati Reds team of the National League conducted a demonstration to prove that a pitched ball could curve. Unfortunately for the 1877 Reds, this may have been the high point of the season that had concluded on October 2. The 1877 Reds were 15-42 in their second year of existence, 25 1/2 games behind the league champion Boston Red Caps. On the flipside, the 15-42 season was an improvement. In 1876, the team had gone 9-56.

From “Redleg Journal” by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder:

A demonstration is conducted in Cincinnati prior to an exhibition game between the Reds and Boston to prove that a pitched baseball actually curves. A wooden stake was driven into the ground just in front of home plate. Boston’s Tommy Bond, a right-handed pitcher, threw from the right side of the pitcher’s box, and the ball curved around to the left side of the stake. To prove the ball was not influenced by the wind or any other atmospheric condition, Cincinnati’s left-handed pitcher Bobby Mitchell curved a toss around the right side of the stake.

It’s timely that or fortunate that the demonstration took place in Cincinnati in 1877. One of the Reds’ pitchers that year was Hall of Famer Candy Cummings, who is credited with having “invented” the curveball. Cummings was the most commonly used Reds pitcher that season, going 5-14 with a 4.34 ERA (61 ERA+). Cummings (career 21-22) is one of only three pitchers in the Hall of Fame with lifetime records under .500, along with modern day reliever Rollie Fingers (114-118) and Negro League star Satchel Paige who didn’t make his Major League debut until age 41 and went 28-31 (it’s thought his Negro Leagues record was 103-61).

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