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. […]
Over the years, I’ve been pretty fortunate to interview a number of Cincinnati Reds. Since our miserable 2016 season is over, I thought it would be a good time to recap some of the more interesting ones and share them with the Nation. Like Chad and Steve have said, we need some cheering up. So […]
All the speculation on whether Bryan Price would return to the Reds as their manager has now concluded. He will be back next year for sure, with an option year included. To most involved with Redleg Nation, we see that as eminently fair. Price hasn’t had the benefit of really playing with a full deck […]
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 […]
November 28, 1978: Following two consecutive second place finishes, Sparky Anderson was fired as manager of the Cincinnati Reds.
Anderson had been a relative unknown when hired as manager of the Reds following the 1969 season, but he immediately made an impact as the Reds won the National League pennant in his first season as manager, losing to the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series. He possesses the Reds record for wins as a manager with 863 and in winning percentage with .596. His only Reds losing season came in 1971 (79-83), but the Reds had winning seasons in every other season he managed the team, with his next worst season being 88-74 in 1977. The Reds had even improved by four games from in 1978 to 92-69. Anderson was surprised at the firing, as was possibly nearly every Reds fan in “Reds Country.”
Anderson had taken over an annually competitive team from the 1960’s that had not finished in first place since 1961 when Fred Hutchinson managed the team. Anderson’s unique ability to relate to his players immediately made him a favorite. Hall of Famer Tony Perez is quoted as saying (quote from a Baseball Almanac Anderson biography):
“I remember that day in spring training when he told me, I’m here to win, and I want you to help me. Right then he had everybody. We wanted to win for Sparky.”
Baseball historian and sabermetrician Bill James took things to a simpler level with Anderson. In a 1982 Sport Magazine article, James is quoted as saying:
September 9, 1946 The Cincinnati Reds and Brooklyn Dodgers play a 19-inning 0-0 tie in Brooklyn, the longest 0-0 game in major league history. The game is eventually stopped due to darkness and replayed from the beginning on September 20 with the Dodgers winning, 5-3.
Using the “Game Score” statistic, Reds lefty Johnny Vander Meer pitches the best Reds game ever in this game (measurements available since 1920) by pitching 15 shutout innings, allowing only seven hits and walking two while striking out 14. His game score was 115 (second highest: Jim Maloney’s 106 vs. New York Mets in 1965; Tom Browning’s 1989 perfect game is 16th highest for Reds with a 94). While not receiving a decision in the tie game, Vander Meer is later the losing pitcher when the game is replayed, going five innings and allowing five hits, five walks, and four runs.
According to “Redleg Journal“:
“The Reds twice had a runner cut down at the plate. In the fifth inning, right fielder Eddie Lukon tried to stretch a triple into an inside-the-park home run and was thrown out. In the 15th, Dodger right fielder Dixie Walker threw out Reds center fielder Dain Clay when Clay tried to score from second on a single.”
Sidenotes: According to baseball-reference.com, Lukon’s nickname was “Mongoose” and Clay had the nicknames “Sniffy” and “Ding-a-Ling;” Vander Meer was “the Dutch Master.” Harry Gumbert (nicknamed “Gunboat”) pitched the final four innings of the game for the Reds, allowing one hit and striking out two.
June 16, 1984…From Redleg Journal by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder:
“Mario Soto blows his cool for the second time in three weeks. Playing the Braves in Atlanta, Soto sailed three pitches at the noggin of Claudell Washington in the third inning in retaliation for Washington’s leadoff homer in the first. In the fifth, Washington swung and missed at Soto’s first pitch, and the bat flew out of his hands, landing near the pitcher’s mound. Fearing mayhem, home plate umpire Lanny Harris followed Washington as the hitter retrieved the bat. Washington turned on Harris and threw the ump to the ground. Dann Bilardello and Atlanta third base coach Joe Pignatano leaped in as peacemakers, and Soto fired the ball into the tangle of bodies with the intent of hitting Washington, but struck Harris and Pignatano instead. After Soto and Washington were ejected, the Reds won, 2-1.
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.
July 23, 1985: Jeff Russell is sent by the Cincinnati Reds to the Texas Rangers to complete an earlier deal made on July 19, 1985. The Cincinnati Reds sent a player to be named later and Duane Walker to the Texas Rangers for a player to be named later and Buddy Bell. The Cincinnati Reds sent Jeff Russell (July 23, 1985) to the Texas Rangers to complete the trade.
1982 was one of the worst years in Reds’ history with the team losing 101 games. The team replaced John McNamara as manager during the 1982 season and replaced him with Russ Nixon, and the team improved to 74 games in the win column for 1983. Not satisfied with the results, Nixon was fired and the Reds hired Vern Rapp, who didn’t make it through the season. The Reds traded for Pete Rose, who was named player-manager, and the Reds finished with 70 wins. Under Rose’s direction, the team spiked and jumped to win totals of 89, 86, 84, and 87, finished second over the next four seasons before scandal brought down the team’s manager and the team.