December 7, 1983: The Reds signed their first “major” free agent of the free agency period when they signed Dave Parker to to a three-year contract.

While with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Parker was one of baseball’s biggest superstars of the late 1970’s. Parker won the MVP for the Pirates in 1978 when he hit .334 with 20 homers, 32 doubles, 12 triples, and a 117 rbi. He led the league with a .585 SLP, a .979 OPS, and a 166 OPS+. Parker had finished third in MVP voting in both 1975 and 1977 while receiving MVP votes for five consecutive years from 1975-79. As a right fielder, Parker was known for his powerful arm and won three consecutive Gold Gloves from 1977-79.

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On November 22, 1978, former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tommy John signed a free agent contract with the New York Yankees, declining an offer to become the first Cincinnati Reds free agent signee. The Reds had lost pitcher Don Gullett to the Yankees the previous season and had hoped that John would take a lefty […]

November 18, 1970: Reds catcher Johnny Bench wins the first of his two Most Valuable Player Awards. The 22-year-old batted .293 with 45 home runs and 148 rbi, 35 doubles, 97 runs, and a .932 OPS (141 OPS+). Bench led the league in homers and rbi and won his third consecutive Gold Glove for defensive […]

July 28, 1977: In a game featuring 11 home runs, a record-tying five in the first inning, the Reds blow four different leads in losing an 13-inning game to the Chicago Cubs, 16-15, at Wrigley Field.

The Reds struck first with a vengeance, slugging three first inning home runs off Cubs pitcher Ray Burris to score six runs. Pete Rose led off the game with a home run over the right center field wall, and Ken Griffey and Joe Morgan followed with singles. George Foster struck out, but Johnny Bench followed with a three run-homer. Cesar Geronimo lined out to left field, but Dave Concepcion reached on infield single. Mike Lum followed with the third home run of the top of the first inning giving the Reds a 6-0 lead.

But, remember, we’re playing in Chicago’s Wrigley Field, and hey, what’s six runs, especially if the wind is blowing out as it was on this day? The Reds started Dale Murray in his first and only start of his 12-year, 518 game major league career. Murray had been acquired from the Montreal Expos along with veteran starter Woodie Fryman in the offseason trade that sent Tony Perez to the Expos. Through Murray’s first 39 games with the Reds he had produced a 4.68 ERA and Fryman had temporarily retired (he was 5-5 with a 5.38 ERA in 12 starts with the Reds) to go home and farm in Kentucky (Fryman unretired at season’s end to be traded and pitch six more seasons).

Ivan DeJesus led off the Cubs’ first with a double and Larry Biittner drew a walk. Bill Bucker then slugged his third home run of the year to cut the Reds’ lead in half, 6-3. Bobby Murcer made it 6-4 with a solo home run before Murray retired the next three batters in order.

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