It’s still early, but the Reds have a little positive momentum toward 2019. Dick Williams and new manager David Bell have crafted a forward-looking common message. Other than a broadcaster or two, the Reds no longer seem like Shakespeare’s graying Lear howling at cliff’s edge at the shifting currents of baseball. Bell has made clear he […]
Seth Shaner is an occasional contributor to Redleg Nation. His last piece was about Raisel Iglesias, starting pitcher. You can find him on Twitter here. Sparked by the recent effort by the Washington Nationals to turn their season around, one question entered my mind. Do players only meetings work? I’ll give you the short answer. […]
NEWS: Delino DeShields to return for his third season as manager of the #LouBats. Details & entire coaching staff: https://t.co/Hcwpt9DTRY pic.twitter.com/8VAUQ34Ogj — Louisville Bats (@LouisvilleBats) January 20, 2017 2017 @BlueWahoosBBall coaching staff:Manager Pat KellyPitching coach Danny DarwinHitting coach Gookie DawkinsBench coach Dick Schofield — Kourage Kundahl (@kouragekundahl) January 20, 2017 Reds announce Louisville (DeShields) & […]
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 […]
The National Baseball Hall of Fame has been tinkering with their system, and now there is evidently something called the “Today’s Game Era” ballot. The Hall of Fame announced the ten names on that ballot, and two of them were of interest to Reds fans: Five former Major League players, three executives and two managers […]
“They’re just not that great.” That’s what SOME GUY commented on John Fay’s blog the other day. Maybe he was just padding his argument that Dusty Baker has worked wonders with this team. I don’t know. Maybe he simply needs to lay off the magic mushrooms. Not that great? Umm … okay. There’s Johnny Cueto, […]
Our buddy Chris Jaffe points out that, ten thousand days ago, Marge Schott became the owner of the Cincinnati Reds. You can mark that occasion any way you’d like. Also, on this day in 1958, the Reds scored 8 runs in the 9th to overcome a 6-run deficit to the Cubs, and, in 1893, Hall […]
Eric Davis had some fairly critical comments about his time in Cincinnati, in a documentary being released this weekend. More accurately, the comments were critical of former owner Marge Schott. While some of this territory has been covered many times, I’ve never seen Davis address these things from his perspective to this degree: Much was […]
Lou Piniella had resigned as Reds manager on October 6 to become manager of the Seattle Mariners. Piniella had won the 1990 World Series in his first season as Reds manager, having replaced Tommy Helms, who had replaced the banned Pete Rose on August 24, 1989. Piniella had helped the Reds erase the public humiliation of Rose and the Reds with the 1990 wire-to-wire Reds championship. An injury-riddled 1991 led to a 74 win season in 1991, but the Reds rebounded to win 92 games in 1972, finishing in second place, eight games behind the Atlanta Braves. However, Piniella had grown weary of the Reds/Marge Schott circus and took his popular management style to Seattle where he stayed 10 years, including winning 116 games for the 2001 Mariners.
Two days after Piniella resigned from the Reds, Schott fired Reds general manager Bob Quinn. and promoted Bowden eight days later. Despite being only 31, Bowden had worked in baseball front offices with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1984-88) and with the New York Yankees in 1989 before joining the Reds organization.
Hall of Famer Tony Perez was/is an all-time favorite of many Reds fans. Nicknamed “Big Doggie” the slugging first baseman was known for his clutch hitting, his 379 home runs, and his ability to keep balance in the Big Red Machine clubhouse. After being traded to the Montreal Expos before the 1977 season, Perez played for three teams besides the Reds for seven seasons before returning to Cincinnati as a free agent to play his final three seasons in a Reds uniform. He immediately became a coach and served on the staffs of Rose, Helms, and Piniella.
Having Perez available was an opportune moment for the Reds. From “Redleg Journal” by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder:
Many fans were upset about the resignation of Piniella, but the hiring of the popular Perez quickly rekindled enthusiasm. At the time, Marge Schott was under investigation by the commissioner’s office for her hiring practices and use of racial and ethnic slurs. While Perez was a highly-qualified candidate, cynics wondered if Perez was hired only to placate Major League Baseball.
No matter the reason, hiring Perez was like gold to the Reds fan base. However, like fool’s gold, the joy was short-lived. In February, 2003, MLB suspended Schott for one year from Reds day-to-day operations and fined her $25,000 for making racial and ethnic slurs. With a new management team in place and high expectations from everyone after the 1992 rebound year, the Reds lost nine of their first 11 games to start the season. They rebounded to cross .500 at 19-18 and then went on west coast road trip where they lost six of seven games dropping them to 20-24. Bowden called Perez and fired him over the phone. From “Redleg Journal:”
In 1969, I was eight-years-old, and I decided I wanted to be a sports fan. It’s odd to think of it that way, but I was the oldest of four boys. My father wasn’t a sports fan; my mother was, but she was kind of busy having four boys between the ages of five and eight at the time. We kept busy in my small town in Kentucky (Hodgenville, birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, if you didn’t know) by reading, playing in our fenced backyard, watching “Lost in Space,” “Gilligan’s Island,” and “Hogan’s Heroes” on television. We had fun, but I noticed my friends were starting to talk about sports, and if the television news thought it was important enough to give time to sports, I thought it must be important. So, I made a conscious decision to become a sports fan.
I checked my World Book Encyclopedia and looked up the major sports to find which teams were best. I had that option, you know. There were no professional teams in Hodgenville, Kentucky, so I chose the Boston Celtics for the NBA, the Green Bay Packers for the NFL, and the Los Angeles Dodgers for baseball. I know; the Dodgers selection seems at odds with my other choices, but I never wanted to go to New York so I couldn’t choose the Yankees. It was easy to choose the University of Kentucky Wildcats for they always won. Looking back, the Packers weren’t such a good choice at the time, but the loyalty paid off when Brett Favre and Reggie White joined the team.
By 1970, I was watching every baseball game I could on the Saturday NBC Game of the Week. Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek kept talkiing about how great the Cincinnati Reds were as a baseball team. They had this great catcher in Johnny Bench, and he and the Reds slugging third baseman, Tony Perez, were absolutely destroying the league (the Reds were 70-30 in their first 100 games). They had a rookie pitcher named Wayne Simpson that no one could hit, the “Big Bopper,” Lee May at first base, a speedster named Bobby Tolan who could do it all, and Jim Merritt was on his way to winning 20 games AND he could even hit home runs. Bernie Carbo and Hal McRae made for a nearly unstoppable “platoon” in left field, a reliever named Wayne Granger could pitch nearly every day, and their manager, George Anderson, had a cool nickname (Sparky). They had even more: they were led by the player that embodied baseball and was baseball’s best ambassador, right fielder Pete Rose, who played every game like a man on a mission. Wait, that’s an understatement. He was on a mission.
I was hooked. As a nine-year-old I could change teams and the Reds were winning. I watched the 1970 all-star game in vivid wonder as Rose bowled over catcher Ray Fosse to score the winning run. To me, it was an easy decision for Rose to attempt to score. Why play the game at all if you aren’t trying to win? And, anyway, for any critics of the all-star move, Fosse was playing to win, too. He didn’t have to be blocking home plate, if it was just an “exhibition game” to the players. It was a tough, but fair play.
I know what you’re thinking: I’m tired of talking about Pete Rose. The Queen City has had an obsession with Rose for fifty years, and even though it has developed into a nice little love-hate relationship, it shows no signs of abating. (Note how many times Rose shows up in Steve’s great pieces on Reds […]