October 6, 1870: The Cincinnati Red Stockings score 13 runs in the final three innings to erase a 15-5 deficit and beat the Forest Grays of Cleveland, 18-15. It was the biggest comeback win of the year for the team that finished 67-6-1.

October 6, 1880: The Cincinnati Reds are expelled from the National League for selling beer during games and for renting the ballpark to amateur teams on Sunday.

At the time, not all players were not protected by the “reserve clause,” the ruling that binds players to teams. The teams could protect five players (normal roster size was 11) and teams generally protected their pitcher, their catcher, and three other players while other players were essentially free agents at the end of each season. The Reds didn’t protect future Hall of Famer King Kelly, which proved to be a mistake, and they attempted to protect Cal McVey, who instead of being protected, retired. Another star they protected, Deacon White, held out for a better contract. At first, it was a badge of honor to be protected, but then the players realized the teams were using the Reserve Clause to hold down salaries for the unprotected players were signing bigger contracts than the “face of the franchise” type players. The Reds were the first team to fall because of player reactions to the Reserve Clause. The 1879 team that went 43-37 and was expected to contend in 1880, instead limped home at 21-59. The team was losing money and resorted to selling spirits at the ballpark and leasing the ballpark for Sunday use, of which both items were banned by the National League.

The NL ignored the Reds’ practice until the more puritan northeastern teams took issue and started to complain. The Worcester Ruby Legs, who had just joined the league for the 1880 season, complained the loudest and the league sought to reinforcement the two rules. The Reds refused to sign an agreement and were bounced out of the league with the Detroit Wolverines taking their place. The result was that Cincinnati did not have a major league team in 1881 (the only year) and was a founding member of the American Association for the 1882 season in a league often called the “Beer and Whiskey League” for seemingly obvious reasons.

October 6, 1882: The Cincinnati Red Stockings in the first World Series game ever, well, sort of, 4-0, over the Chicago White Stockings in an unauthorized game in Cincinnati.

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September 19, 1883: Within nine days, Cincinnati Red Stockings star first baseman John Reilly twice hits for the cycle and becomes the first Cincinnati player to homer twice in the same game.

The hot streak began on September 10, when Reilly hit two inside-the-park home runs as the Red Stockings defeated the Pittsburgh Alleghenies, 12-6. Reilly was second on the team in home runs with nine in 1883, trailing team leader Charley Jones who had 10.

His first cycle came on September 12, 1883, when he and left handed third baseman Hick Carpenter both went 6-7 in a 27-5 win over the Pittsburgh. The Red Stockings collected a club record 33 hits in the game. Charley Jones had five hits in the game. This is the only game in major league history that two players from the same team had six hits in the same game. Three other Cincinnati players have collected six hits in a game: Tony Cuccinello (1931), Ernie Lombardi (1937), and Walker Cooper (1949).

Reilly’s second cycle came seven days later on September 19 as the Red Stockings defeated the Philadelphia Athletics 12-3 in Cincinnati. For the season, Reilly led the Red Stockings with a .311 batting average, a .485 SLP, an .810 OPS, and an OPS+ of 150. He scored 103 runs in only 98 games and collected 79 rbi.

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September 16, 1882: The Cincinnati Red Stockings clinch the first pennant of the new major league, the American Association, with a 6-1 victory over the Louisville Eclipse. The Red Stockings finish the year 55-25, 11 1/2 games ahead of the second place Philadelphia Athletics.

The Red Stockings were managed by catcher Pop Snyder who led the Red Stockings to a first place finish in 1882 and a third place finish in 1883. Playing in the majors for 18 years, in 1882, Snyder batted .291 with 50 rbi (OPS+ of 117). The offense was led by third baseman Hick Carpenter, who played more games at 3B than any other player in Cincinnati history. In 1882, Carpenter batted .342 with 67 rbi, an OPS+ of 155. It was his best major league season. Joe Sommer was the leading outfield hitter, batting .288 with an OPS+ of 129.

However, the star of the Red Stockings was their pitcher, Will White. White won 40 games that year (40-12) with a 1.54 ERA in 54 games on the mound. He led the league in wins, complete games (52), shutouts (eight) and innings pitched (480). He followed up his 1882 season, by going 43-22 in 1883, leading the league in wins and ERA (2.09). White loved to pitch inside to intimidate the hitters. He played 10 major league seasons (eight with Cincinnati) and finished his career 229-166 with a 2.28 ERA (121 ERA+). White’s mound mate was Harry McCormick who went 14-11 with a 1.52 ERA and 24 complete games. He pitched four seasons in the majors going 41-58. WIn two seasons with the Red Stockings, McCormick was 22-17 with a 2.02 ERA (143 ERA+).

One oddity for the 1882 team….their opening day first baseman was a player named Bill Tierney who played on opening day and quit after the game. He went 0-5 in the game and is the only Cincinnati player in history to make an opening day start and never play for Cincinnati again. He did play one other game as a major leaguer. He played outfield one game in 1884 for the Baltimore Monumentals of the short-lived Union Association and went 1-3 with a walk.

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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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August 26 has some remarkable moments:

August 26, 1887: Reds Hall of Fame second baseman Bid McPhee hits for the cycle in a 19-11 Red Stockings loss to the Baltimore Orioles. The loss dropped the Red Stockings from second place into third place, 18 games behind the American Association league leading St. Louis Browns. The Louisville Colonels moved into second place on this day, with the fourth place Orioles 20 games behind the Browns and two games behind the Red Stockings.

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Baseball-reference.com, which may be the best website in the world other than Redleg Nation, has a feature I just now saw called “Most Common Starters” by team, both by years played and by number of games. There are surprises. This may be a great chance to learn about some Reds players that you may not […]

June 13, 1882: The Cincinnati Red Stockings defeat the Philadelphia Athletics, 4-3, to win their sixth game in a row to take over first place in the new upstart American Association. The Red Stockings go on to win 10 in a row and never look back, giving Cincinnati it’s first major league title and becoming the first ever champion of the American Association. The Red Stockings finish the season 55-25, 11 1/2 games ahead of the second place Athletics. Their .688 won-loss record percentage is the best in Cincinnati major league history.

According to “The Great Encyclopedia of 19th-Century Major League Baseball” by David Nemec, the 1882 Red Stockings were the pre-season league favorites. The Red Stockings had been expelled from the National League in 1880 for leasing their park for other activities, selling beer, and allowing teams to play on Sundays. When they entered the American Association at its inception in 1882 many of their former players joined them. In fact, 11 of the 15 players on their AA roster had previous major league experience, a higher percentage than any other AA team. However, their preseason was filled with injuries and losses to the other new major league teams. They started the season 8-9, but kicked into full gear at that point. They went 46-17 the rest of the way, playing at a .746 clip and more than doubling their opponents runs scored during that time, outscoring them 380-166.
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Thought I’d share a few early September moments post-Labor Day… September 8, 1969….Reds closer Wayne Granger pitches in both games of a Reds double header sweep of the Giants (both games finishing 5-4). He enters the first game in the ninth inning with Reds leading by one and two Giants on the corners with no […]

1882 Cincinnati Red Stockings

Team Notes:

Team Record: 55-25, .688 winning percentage, 11 ½ games ahead of Philadelphia Athletics

World Series: Tied National League champion Chicago White Stockings with 1 win, 1 loss

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