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+).
Congratulations to Josh Hamilton, who won the AL MVP Award today (with another former Red, Paul Konerko, finishing fifth in the voting). There have been a number of former Reds who later won MVPs. Let’s explore….
Now we all know that Joey Votto has been named the National League and former Red Josh Hamilton has won the American League MVP award. Too, we all would be happy to have had both Votto and Hamilton in the our lineup together. Knowing what we know now, I suppose that would have solved our outfield problem and we’d have less of a logjam at starting pitcher, and maybe Edinson Volquez wouldn’t have started Game One in the playoffs.
But all that doesn’t matter now. Outside of the Volquez starting game one decision, I still think the Hamilton-Volquez trade was defensible at the time it was made. In saying that, the Ken Griffey (Jr.)—Mike Cameron (et al) trade was defensible at the time, too, but didn’t really pan out as well as we hoped.
Oh, and in case you didn’t know, the Reds are now tied with the Giants for second place as a team in total National League Most Valuable Player Award seasons with twelve. Only the St. Louis Cardinals have more (17).
Hamilton had a truly terrific year, hitting .359 with 32 homers and 100 rbi in only 133 games. He had a .411 OBP and led the majors in slugging percentage (.633) and OPS (1.044). Since leaving the Reds, Hamilton is hitting .315 with 74 homers in three seasons with a .915 OPS (138 OPS+). He’s been a very good player since leaving Cincinnati. In saying all that, Hamilton is not the first former Red that became an MVP following his Reds playing days. There have been others.
October 11, 1970: The Reds lose Game 2 of the 1970 World Series to the Baltimore Orioles by a score of 6-5, blowing an early lead for the second consecutive day. The Orioles now lead the World Series, two games to none.
The Reds scored three times in the bottom of the first inning off Orioles pitcher Mike Cuellar to take the lead. Pete Rose reached on shortstop Mark Belanger’s error, but was forced out at second base by Bobby Tolan. Tony Perez singled to centerfield with Tolan stopping at second base. Tolan moved to third on a Johnny Bench flyout. Lee May then doubled to centerfield, scoring both Tolan and Perez and with May advancing to third base on an error by Orioles centerfielder Paul Blair. May scored on a Hal McRae squeeze bunt to give the Reds a 3-0 lead. Tolan made it 4-0 in the third with a solo home run.
The Orioles got one run back in the fourth on a Boog Powell home run and then erupted for five runs in the fifth inning to take a 6-4 lead. With one out, three straight singles from pinch hitter Chico Salmon, Don Buford, and Blair scored Salmon and chased Reds starting pitcher Jim McGlothlin. Powell greeted Reds rookie pitcher Milt Wilcox with another single, scoring Buford and making the score 4-3. Frank Robinson flied to right, but Brooks Robinson singled home Blair and then an Elrod Hendricks double scored both Powell and Brooks Robinson, giving the Orioles a 6-4 advantage. Clay Carroll relieved Wilcox on the mound and then he and Don Gullett pitched 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. The Reds added one more run in the sixth inning on a Johnny Bench home run.
October 11, 1972: The Reds come from being down two games to one to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-3. The Reds score two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs to win the game and the National League Championship Series.
July 14, 1970: The Chicago Cubs’ Jim Hickman singles home Pete Rose from second base to score the winning run in the bottom of the 12th inning as the National League defeats the American League, 5-4, in the 1970 All-Star Game played at Riverfront Stadium. The game winning play of Rose crashing into Cleveland Indians’ catcher Ray Fosse with the running run is one of the more memorable moments in the career of Pete Rose and baseball history.
3B Tony Perez and C Johnny Bench, enjoying monster seasons, were both elected to the NL’s starting lineup. Jim Merritt and Wayne Simpson were named to the pitching staff and Rose was added as a reserve. The AL was leading 4-1 entering the bottom of the ninth with A’s pitcher Jim Hunter on the mound. Catcher Dick Dietz homered to open the inning and shortstop Bud Harrelson followed with a single. Outfielder Cito Gaston popped to first, but Astros second baseman Joe Morgan singled moving Harrelson to second base. Yankees lefty pitcher Fritz Peterson replaced Hunter to face lefty hitting Willie McCovey. McCovey singled to centerfield, scoring Harrelson with Morgan moving to third base. Peterson’s righty teammate, Mel Stottlemyre, replaced Peterson on the mound to face righty batting Roberto Clemente, who lined a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Morgan and tie the score at 4-4.
The game remained scoreless through the middle of the 12th. The AL had threatened in the top of the 12th when Carl Yastrzemski drilled a two-out double off Claude Osteen. The NL intentionally walked Willie Horton, but Osteen got Amos Otis to line out to right field. The winning rally started in the 12th when Rose reached on a two-out single. Billy Grabarkewitz singled to left with Rose stopping at second base. Hickman then singled to centerfield with Rose beating Otis’s throw home, knocking over plate blocking catcher Ray Fosse to score the winning run.
On June 11, 1967, Reds’ bonus baby Don Pavletich hits a grand slam home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to cap a five run rally and salvage the second game of a doubleheader. The Reds’ 8-4 win over the Houston Astros maintained the Reds 2 1/2 game 1st place over the eventual World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.
The Reds had entered the day with a 3 1/2 game lead over the Cardinals after rookie lefty Mel Queen had raised his record to 7-1 (2.20 ERA) following a 9-4 victory over the Astros. However, as the Cardinals swept a doubleheader from the Dodgers, the Reds and Milt Pappas (6-4) had lost the first game of their doubleheader to the Astros and Mike Cuellar (7-2) by a score of 7-4. The Reds reached Cuellar for 14 hits, but scored only four runs, one on a home run by backup catcher Pavletich, his second of the year.
The second game wasn’t faring much better for the Reds. With the score tied 1-1 in the third inning, the Astros’ Jim Wynn (a former Reds’ farmhand) blasted a two run homer off Reds’ starter Sammy Ellis to give the Astros a 3-1 lead and the Astros’ Bob Aspromonte had a solo homer in the fourth to make it 4-1. The Reds had been in first place since April 23rd, and were in danger of seeing their first place lead drop to 1 1/2 games if they were to be swept by the Astros on this day.
I was doing some research and something on baseball-reference.com caught my attention. I knew that former Dodger outfielder great Willie Davis and former Reds pitcher and Orioles great Mike Cuellar had passed away recently. Baseball Reference has always had an area devoted to “In Memoriam” for players who’ve recently passed and when I opened the […]