So how bad is it? It snowed on April 9. In the first week of the 2018 season, the Reds lost as many starting players (2) as they had wins. Manager Bryan Price was still making some head-scratching decisions. Some were saying the season is over after just 8 games. It hasn’t gotten better, as […]

Since it’s the off-season and we can’t spend every day writing about why Raisel Iglesias needs to be a starter next season, I thought it would be an appropriate time to embark upon a project that I’ve been wanting to explore for years. That is, I thought it would be fun to look at the […]

(This is the third in a series of articles about Cincinnati Red pitchers to throw no-hitters. Twelve Red hurlers have thrown no-hitters, including Homer Bailey’s gem against the Pittsburgh Pirates last season. Bailey’s no-hitter was the first thrown since Mr. Perfect, Tom Browning, beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 in 1989, retiring all 27 hitters […]

It’s my belief that baseball is a game that is made up of more small moments that craft themselves into  great and memorable moments than any other sport in the world.

Even Buzkashi

The game’s natural movement from step A to step B enables small dramas to be inserted into contests throughout the season, and the years. This is what shapes our baseball memories, small moments, significant to us and often to  the history of the game  On the franchise level, the Reds grabbed the golden ring as summer kicked off with a bang when one player became the 27th Red to perform a rare batting feat…a feat that is so rare that only 23 players in the long history of the franchise have achieved it. A feat that Ted Kluszewski accomplished, Frank Robinson as well… why, Gus Bell did it twice!

Heck George Foster did it….and even Pete did it.

But ya know what?

Joe Morgan never did it. Ken Griffey Jr., Tony Perez and Adam Dunn never did it. Lee May, Wally Post: nope.

But Chris Heisey has.

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Brian first met the greatest game in Detroit in 1968, that team played in a league called the “American League”…. but I digress.

Later after a family move he started a dalliance with the Cincinnati Reds, who perchance were in the midst of their greatest era. It was a romance that was greater than many could hope to be.

After barely stomaching the strike of 1981 Brian headed West but never forgot the Reds, and even despite being surrounded by Giants and A’s fans who tried to entice him with things both Green and Orange he found himself wondering what was up with Kal Daniels and was that kid from Moeller ever going to make us forget Davey.

A long time member of SABR and a baseball history junkie he currently lives in Portland and can be followed at @baseballminutia

John Erardi does it again today, with a short interview with former Reds great reliever, Wayne Granger:

The Reds’ acquisition of second baseman Joe Morgan before the 1972 season is regarded as the crowning glory of the late Reds’ general manager Bob Howsam, because it laid the groundwork for the speed-and-power of the Big Red Machine.

But the forerunner of that deal – and arguably the best deal Howsam made up until that time – was before the 1969 season. He traded an aging but still popular superstar, Vada Pinson, for center fielder Bobby Tolan and relief pitcher Wayne Granger from St. Louis.

(snip)

if you ask most Reds fans older than 50 what they remember of Granger, they’d probably say for giving up a grand slam to Baltimore Orioles pitcher Dave McNally in the 1970 World Series, which the Reds lost 4 games to 1. It is the only time in World Series history that a pitcher has hit a grand slam. Even Granger brought up that pitch when he was asked what were his most indelible memories from his three years as a Red, all of them pitching for the late Reds manager Sparky Anderson.

“Sparky came out and said, ‘Throw strikes,’ and so I did,” recalled Granger. “It was a strike, all right, but it was probably the worst pitch in baseball history.”

(snip)

“I gave up some game-winning home runs when I was here,” he recalled. “I probably cost us the pennant in ’69.”

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I’ve been a Reds fan since the late ’60’s, with my luck of being able to attend plenty of games at Riverfront during the BRM era. I was sitting in the Green Seats in the OF when Pete came home in ’84 and was in the Red seats when Glenn Braggs reached over the fence in ’90 to beat the Pirates. I have had many favorites from Jim Maloney to Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Adam Dunn, and Jay Bruce.

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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One of the benefits of being involved with this blog is that periodically we get books to review. Recently I received a book, which will be released in January, entitled Fred Hutchinson and the 1964 Cincinnati Reds, by Doug Wilson. Mr. Wilson is an ophthalmologist who lives in Columbus, Indiana. I grew up in Cincinnati […]

The National League Gold Glove winners are to be announced today. Hopefully, there won’t be any disastrous shocks like yesterday when Derek Jeter was awarded his fifth Gold Glove. The folks at baseball-reference.com were so mortified they even had a disclaimer next to the announcement (since taken down). The disclaimer was something like “We can’t […]

October 5, 1939: Yankees pitcher Monte Pearson holds the Reds hitless for seven and 1/3 innings as the Yankees shutout the Reds, 4-0, to take a two game to none lead in the 1939 World Series.

The Yankees reached Reds starter Bucky Walters for five hits in the third inning, plating three runs, and later added a Babe Dahlgren fourth inning home run to account for all their scoring. The Reds’ Billy Werber was the Reds’ only baserunner before the eighth inning, drawing a fourth inning leadoff walk. However, Werber was erased trying to steal second base as Lonnie Frey struck out. The Reds got their first hit on an Ernie Lombardi single in the eighth inning. Werber got the Reds’ only other hit, a ninth inning single.

October 5, 1940: The Reds’ Paul Derringer pitches a five-hitter to win his first World Series game in six starts as the Reds evened the 1940 World Series at two games each with a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers.

Derringer had previously started two World Series games in the 1931 classic while with the St. Louis Cardinals and the 1939 Series with the Reds as well as the opening game in the 1940 Series before notching his first WS victory in this game. His career walk rate was 1.9 in regular season play, but he averaged 4.6 walks per nine innings during his postseason career and he walked six in this 1940 victory. Four different Reds had two hits in this game with Ival Goodman collecting two rbi.

October 5, 1961: The Reds even the 1961 World Series game at one game apiece as Joey Jay pitches a four-hitter while Gordy Coleman and Johnny Edwards each collect two rbi in a 6-1 win over the New York Yankees.

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September 26, 1869: The Cincinnati Red Stockings open a 13-day stay in San Francisco with a 35-4 victory over the Eagles. The Red Stockings play five games against San Francisco teams during this time and win all five matches by an average score of 56-6. A little history of an 1869 road trip from “Redleg Journal” by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder:

September 14: “The Red Stockings depart for a month-long tour to California, via the newly opened transcontinental railroad. After nine days of hard travel that included trains, stage coaches, and steamers, the travelers arrived in San Francisco on September 23. Despite arriving at 11 in the evening, the club was met by some 2000 cheering spectators.”

September 26, 1897 Reds Hall of Fame first baseman Jake Beckley becomes the first Cincinnati Red to hit three home runs in a game in a 10-4 Reds win over the last place St. Louis Browns. The fourth place Reds, who finish the season 76-56, also won the second game of the doubleheader, 8-6, to complete the sweep of the Browns. The Browns finish the season 29-102, 63 1/2 games behind the Boston Beaneaters.

Despite a career batting average of .300, the New York Giants had released Beckley 17 games into the 1897 season when he started the season batting .250. With the Reds, the 29-year-old Beckley regenerated and he hit .345 with the Reds with an .894 OPS (128 OPS+). He led the Reds in triples (9), homers (7), rbi (76), and batting average (.345) despite only playing 97 games for the Reds. In eight seasons with the Reds, he hit three homers in a game, he hit three triples in a game, and he batted over .300 six different times. Beckley is # 41 on the all-time list for runs scored, # 33 for hits, # 4 for triples, and # 37 for RBI (all as of the end of the 2007 season–baseball-reference bullpen). To this day, Beckley still holds the major league records for putouts at first base (23,731) and career triple plays as a first baseman. Thirteen times he batted over .300, he scored 1600 runs and had 1575 career rbi.

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September 20, 1888: Cincinnati star pitcher, Tony Mullane, pitches complete games in both games of a doubleheader as the Red Stockings sweep the Philadelphia Athletics, 1-0 and 2-1, in Cincinnati.

There were high expectations for the 1888 Red Stockings team and they bolted out of the gate, winning 21 of their first 26 games, and taking a first place lead. However, that was the high note and by mid-September the Red Stockings were comfortably in fourth place of a eight team league. The Red Stockings were a team built on defense and pitching as only star first baseman John Reilly had an outstanding year with the bat. Reilly nearly won the Triple Crown as he led the American Association with 13 home runs, 103 rbi, SLP (.501), OPS (.864), OPS+ (170), but finished second in batting average (.321), 14 points behind the leader, Tip O’Neill. Reilly also tied for second in the league with 28 doubles and was fourth in triples with 14. Reilly and outfielder Hugh Nicol both scored 112 runs; Nicol scored 112 runs by stealing 103 bases. Nicol’s batting average was .239 with a .330 OBP. He had stolen a team record 138 bases in 1887.

The Red Stockings boasted three 20-game winners on their pitching staff: Mullane was the 29-year-old veteran who went 26-16 with a 2.84 ERA; 21-year-old rookie Lee Viau was 27-14 with a 2.65 ERA and 20-year-old Mike Smith was 22-17 with a 2.74 ERA.

September 20, 1920 Light hitting second baseman Morrie Rath hit the only two home runs of his 1920 season, and the last two of his career (his career total was four) in a 9-3 win for the Reds against the New York Giants in New York. Both home runs were hit inside the park.

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August 25, 1965: 23-year-old Tony Perez takes a big step toward establishing his career clutch hitter reputation as he unloads a 9th inning three-run pinch home run off Milwaukee Braves reliever Billy O’Dell in a Reds 7-4 victory in Milwaukee. The Perez home run marks the fourth time in 1965 that the Reds defeat the Braves in Milwaukee on last inning home runs off Braves star reliever O’Dell.

O’Dell was one of the Braves’ best pitchers in 1965. Acquired from the San Francisco Giants in the offseason for catcher Ed Bailey, O’Dell was 10-6 for the Braves with a 2.18 ERA (161 ERA+) and 18 saves. He appeared in 62 games and pitched 111 innings out of the bullpen. He had been a starting pitcher for the Giants, winning 19 games in 1962, but the Braves got him to protect leads for young starters Tony Cloninger (24-11, 3.29) and Wade Blasingame (16-10, 3.77). O’Dell did this very well, except for when pitching against the Reds. Against the 1965 Reds, O’Dell was 0-4 with a 5.14 ERA (for his career, O’Dell was 7-8 vs. the Reds with a 3.71 ERA).

Here’s 1965 game by game:

June 25: Don Pavletich connects for a two-run 11th inning home run with Deron Johnson aboard to give the Reds a 3-1 victory over O’Dell and the Braves. The Reds had scored once in the top of the first on a Johnson single, but the Braves tied it in the fourth when Joe Torre homered off Reds starter Sammy Ellis (Ellis would win 22 games this 1965 season). O’Dell had entered the game to start the tenth inning in relief of Dick Kelley and had retired the first four batters he faced before Johnson singled. One-out later, Pavletich homered to give the Reds their 3-1 lead. Ellis retired the Braves in order in the bottom of the 10th to finish his complete game victory for the Reds. The win kept the Reds in second place, 2 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Braves were fourth at this time, five games behind.

June 27: The Reds’ Frank Robinson leads off the top of the ninth inning with a home run off Braves reliever Billy O’Dell to break a 9-9 tie and give the Reds a 10-9 victory in the first game of a double header in Milwaukee. Reds reliever Billy McCool struck out one batter and retired two more on foul flies to save the game for the Reds.

The Reds had built a 9-1 lead on the strength of home runs by Deron Johnson, Tony Perez, and Tommy Harper by the middle of the sixth inning. However, the Braves erupted for eight runs off Reds starter John Tsitouris in the sixth to tie the game at 9-9. Two Reds errors and six Braves hits, including home runs by Frank Bolling and Joe Torre, enabled the Braves to tie the game. McCool was the winning pitcher, pitching 3 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball to get the win.

The Reds won the second game, 10-2, to sweep the doubleheader as Vada Pinson hit a grand slam home run in the fourth and Robinson followed Pinson with a solo shot. Jim Maloney went the distance for the victory. The win moved the second place Reds to within one game of first place, while the Braves were now 4 1/2 games behind the Dodgers.

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