Back in late June, Reds right-hander Bronson Arroyo effectively announced his retirement at season’s end: Bronson Arroyo was placed on the 60-day DL today. Is this the end of the road for the beloved #Reds veteran? He joined @JimDayTV. pic.twitter.com/ZzJ3GpGC6n — FOX Sports Ohio (@FOXSportsOH) June 26, 2017 Over the weekend, of course, the Reds […]

The Reds hot offense was slowed down by Mets rookie Noah Syndergaard. The Thor lookalike made it through eight innings for the first time in his big league career, and he allowed just one run in the process. Syndergaard didn’t walk a single batter, and struck out five. He only had 89 pitches when he […]

The Reds are looking for a win against the Dodgers tonight in a pitching rematch from May 26th between Johnny Cueto and Hyun-Jin Ryu. In that last bout, Ryu was perfect through 7 innings before the Reds finally chased him from the game in the 8th inning (though the Dodgers held on to win). Since […]

Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle…. FINAL — 11 innings Cincinnati 0 Los Angeles 1 W: B. League (6-3) L: C. Partch (0-1) BOX SCORE POSITIVES –Superb start by Tony Cingrani, once again. Today, he went seven innings, allowing only a single hit (to the opposing pitcher, of course), while striking out 11 batters. Great stuff. […]

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle…. FINAL San Francisco 0 Cincinnati 3 W: H. Bailey (5-6) L: T. Lincecum (4-9) BOX SCORE POSITIVES –Homer Bailey threw his second career no-hitter, allowing only one walk, while striking out nine. It was a completely dominant performance by Homer. –Shin-Soo Choo reached base four times, going 2-2 with a […]

Just some stray bits of Reds info that have been piling up on my desk: The Reds announced their major and minor league awards for the 2010 season at Redsfest. To no one’s surprise, the Ernie Lombardi Award (for team MVP) went to NL MVP Joey Votto. Bronson Arroyo won the Johnny Vander Meer Award […]

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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October 31, 1938: Ernie Lombardi becomes the first Cincinnati Reds player to win the National League Most Valuable Player Award. Lombardi wins by becoming only the second catcher in Major League history to win a batting title. For the season, Lombardi batted .342 with with 19 homers and 95 rbi, a .391 OBP, and a .524 slugging percentage. He was third in the league with an overall OPS of .915.

The only other catcher to have been credited with a batting title through 1938 was another Reds catcher, Bubbles Hargrave, who had won the title in 1926 when he batted .353. Hargrave had played in 105 games with 365 plate appearances; Lombardi played in 129 games with 529 plate appearances. Lombardi later won a second batting title, in 1942 with the Boston Braves, when he batted .330 in 105 games and 347 plate appearances. I believe the rule at the time was a player had to appear in a minimum of 100 games. Joe Mauer is the third catcher to win a batting title and he’s accomplished the feat three times to this date.

Heinie Groh is another Reds player who would’ve possibly won an MVP Award if one had been announced for the 1919 Reds World Championship season. Groh batted .310/5 hr/63 rbi and a league leading .823 OPS for the 1919 team but no award was granted that season. Sabermetrician Bill James and the Stats, Inc., group retroactively named Groh to that honor in their book “All-Time Baseball Sourcebook.”

Hall of Famer Lombardi was a legend even during his playing days. A very large man, James even devotes more than 10 pages of his 2001 book “The Bill James New Historical Baseball Abstract” to the Lombardi legend. Lombardi was possibly the slowest runner in baseball history, or, at least, the slowest runner of any consequential star hitters in baseball history. The shortstops and third basemen of the National League regularly, not often, but regularly played him from the outfield grass. James says in his historical abstract that some infielders played so far back that they would have to run up to have enough strength to throw the ball to first base to get Lombardi out. On at least one occasion, Lombardi was thrown out at first base in Philadelphia after hitting the ball off the left field wall.

Lombardi used a HUGE bat and would interlock his fingers somewhat like a golf swing to hit. He had such strength and bat speed that he would rocket line drives everywhere. He once hit a line drive off a pitcher’s hand and broke three fingers. A right handed batter, the corner infielders would ask their pitchers to work the plate hoping that Lombardi would hit the ball to the other side of the infield. He told Dodger Hall of Fame shortstop Pee Wee Reese that it took Lombardi three years to realize that Reese wasn’t an outfielder. A quote from sportswriter Arthur Daley:

“You almost come to the conclusion that he was the greatest hitter of all time. Every hit he made . . . was an honest one.” –

The quote stands from the fact that defenses played so far back on him, only legitimately crushed line drives would fall for hits. Another quote, this one from an exceptional fielder, Lombardi’s teammate Harry Craft:

“He was the best righthanded hitter I ever saw. And he was an exceptional player in every way except running. If he hadn’t been so slow, he would have had an even better batting average.”

Lombardi played 17 major league seasons and batted over .300 in ten of them with a lifetime batting average of .306, an OBP of .358, with a SLP of .460, a lifetime .818 OPS. His career OPS+ was 126. He hit 190 career home runs with a seasonal high of 20 in 1939. What must be understood is that the Reds home run record had been 19 (Harry Heilman in 1930) until Ival Goodman hit 30 in 1938 after the Reds moved home plate 20 feet closer to the outfield fence. Crosley Field was death to home run hitters at the time and not the home run band box that it became in the 1950’s. Lombardi played 10 seasons for the Reds, batting .311 with 120 homers and an .828 OPS.

What should be noted here is that Lombardi was so good that he won the MVP Award in a season where the Reds finished fourth in the standings after being a league doormat for nearly a decade. Lombardi’s MVP award was the first of three consecutive winners by Reds players (Bucky Walters in 1939 and Frank McCormick in 1940 were the others) with the Reds winning the National League pennants in both 1939 and 1940. They ultimately won the 1940 World Series championship.

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October 3, 1890: Reds owner Aaron Stern sells the Reds to a group of investors, headed by Albert Johnson, who are tied to the newly formed Players League. The Reds temporarily withdraw from the National League just one year after being readmitted to the league following their 1890 banishment.

October 3, 1891: John Reilly smashes three triples in a game for the second time in his career as the Reds defeat the Chicago Colts, 15-9, in Chicago. Reilly is one of only four players, and the only Red, to hit three triples in a game twice in their careers. The win keeps the Reds out of last place as they finish the season 56-81, one game ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

October 3, 1919: The Reds lose the first World Series game in their history, 3-0, to the Chicago White Sox in Chicago. The Reds now lead the White Sox in the Series, two games to one.

Rookie Dickie Kerr pitched a three-hitter and walked one to pitch the White Sox to victory. Kerr retired the last 15 batters of the game allowing only three runners to reach second base during the game.

Dolf Luque pitches one inning in the game for the Reds, becoming the first Hispanic American to appear in a World Series game.

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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 18, 1940: The Cincinnati Reds clinch their second consecutive National League pennant with a 13-inning 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. Johnny Vander Meer pitched twelve innings, allowing eight hits and walking five, but striking out 11 in improving his record to 2-0. Ace Reds reliever Joe Beggs retired the hometeam Phillies in order […]

September 13, 1945: Only 281 fans show for a Thursday night game to watch the 7th place Reds defeat the fifth place New York Giants, 3-2, in Cincinnati. Read on for a historical pattern of Reds’ attendance figures.

The Giants were leading 2-0 entering the bottom of the seventh inning. 26-year-old rookie Jack Harrist was on the mound for the Reds on the way to winning his second and last game of the season (finished 2-4, 3.61 ERA in his only Reds’ season) had scattered nine hits and three walks in allowing two runs before leaving for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the seventh inning. Gee Walker, Dain Clay, and Steve Mesner drove in successive runs to give the Reds a 3-2 lead. Veteran pitcher Vern Kennedy, in his last season (only season with the Reds), held the Giants scoreless over the last two frames to preserve the victory.

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