The Big Red Machine is the greatest team in Reds history (thanks, Captain Obvious) and nearly every key contributor from that era has been honored with induction into the Reds Hall of Fame.  With the induction of Pete Rose last year, the entire Great 8 is in.  The manager is in.  The general manager is […]

The Cincinnati Reds landscape is littered with pitchers who have contended with injuries. Are we living in a unique period, with fragile pitchers and unsure management? It’s worth remembering that even our most respected and beloved managers — including Fred Hutchinson, Dave Bristol. Sparky Anderson, Davey Johnson and Lou Piniella — have been as perplexed […]

On April 1, 2016, the Cincinnati Reds claimed pitcher Dan Straily off waivers from the San Diego Padres. On the surface, this acquisition looked like the Reds were desperate. That assumption would be correct. They were. The Reds pitching staff coming out of Goodyear, Arizona was inexperienced, decimated by injuries and the season was getting […]

Thank God for Tony Cingrani. The lefthanded rookie hurler kept the Redlegs from getting swept out of Washington, DC with a true gem this past Sunday. Six innings of work, no runs, 11 strikeouts and a win. And this didn’t come against the Marlins or Cubs, either. Reds and lefthanded pitchers who are successful don’t […]

December 4, 1973: The Reds trade young staring pitcher Ross Grimsley and minor league catcher Wally Williams to the Baltimore Orioles for reserve outfielder Merv Rettenmund minor league second baseman Junior Kennedy, and minor league catcher Bill Wood. Grimsley was a Reds #1 draft pick in 1969 amateur draft and was 20-12 in his first […]

October 21, 1877: Does the curveball really curve or is it an optical illusion? It’s easy for us to see today with digital graphics, but even when I was a child, I would sometimes come across “scientific” sports articles discussing the physics of how a pitched baseball curved or whether it was actually an optical illusion.

Well, as is the case with most things, the magazine articles I read as a child weren’t exactly full of original ideas. Back in 1877, the folks managing the Cincinnati Reds team of the National League conducted a demonstration to prove that a pitched ball could curve. Unfortunately for the 1877 Reds, this may have been the high point of the season that had concluded on October 2. The 1877 Reds were 15-42 in their second year of existence, 25 1/2 games behind the league champion Boston Red Caps. On the flipside, the 15-42 season was an improvement. In 1876, the team had gone 9-56.

From “Redleg Journal” by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder:

A demonstration is conducted in Cincinnati prior to an exhibition game between the Reds and Boston to prove that a pitched baseball actually curves. A wooden stake was driven into the ground just in front of home plate. Boston’s Tommy Bond, a right-handed pitcher, threw from the right side of the pitcher’s box, and the ball curved around to the left side of the stake. To prove the ball was not influenced by the wind or any other atmospheric condition, Cincinnati’s left-handed pitcher Bobby Mitchell curved a toss around the right side of the stake.

It’s timely that or fortunate that the demonstration took place in Cincinnati in 1877. One of the Reds’ pitchers that year was Hall of Famer Candy Cummings, who is credited with having “invented” the curveball. Cummings was the most commonly used Reds pitcher that season, going 5-14 with a 4.34 ERA (61 ERA+). Cummings (career 21-22) is one of only three pitchers in the Hall of Fame with lifetime records under .500, along with modern day reliever Rollie Fingers (114-118) and Negro League star Satchel Paige who didn’t make his Major League debut until age 41 and went 28-31 (it’s thought his Negro Leagues record was 103-61).

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October 20, 1972: Pete Rose hit the first pitch of the game for a home run and the Reds later overcame a 4-2 deficit in defeating the Oakland A’s, 5-4, to stay avoid elimination in the 1972 World Series. The Reds now trailed the A’s three-games-to-two through five games. Rose’s first inning homer gave the […]

October 15, 1892: Bumpus Jones pulls off one of the most improbable events in baseball history and pitches a no-hitter in his first major league game. In the last Reds’ game of the 1892 sesaon, Jones defeats the Pittsburgh Pirates, 7-1. It’s one of the only two wins in Jones’s career and the first no-hitter […]

October 10, 1961: In the National League’s first expansion draft, the Reds lose six players, four to the New York Mets and two to the Houston Colt .45’s.

The Mets selected pitchers Jay Hook and Sherman Jones, infielder Elio Chacon, and popular outfielder Gus Bell. The Colt .45’s selected first baseman Dick Gernert and pitcher Ken Johnson.

The expansion draft didn’t do a lot of damage to the Reds. Johnson was the probably the biggest loss. He had been acquired in trade for reliever Orlando Pena from the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League and made 11 second half starts for the Reds. Johnson was 6-2 with 3.25 ERA for the 1961 Reds, but went on to play 13 major league seasons going 91-106 with a 3.46 ERA (102 ERA+). He became a rotation starter through the 1968 season.

Bell was the surprise loss. One of the most popular Reds since 1951 and a four-time all-star, Bell had become a role player by the 1961 Reds World Series sesason. Bell picked up the first New York Met hit ever in 1962, but batted only .149 in 115 plate appearances before being dealt to the Milwaukee Braves where he played one season on the bench and pinch hit three times in each of the next two seasons.

Hook was a prospect that had not panned out for the Reds. Hook went 11-18 with 4.50 ERA in 1960 as a 23-year-old, but did not pitch well in 1961 going 1-3 with a 7.76 ERA in 62 innings, allowing 14 home runs. After the Mets started 1962 with an 0-9 record before winning the first game in Mets’ history.

October 10, 1967: In more damage control following the aftermath of the Frank Robinson trade, the Reds deal slugging first baseman Deron Johnson to the Atlanta Braves for outfielder Mack Jones, outfielder-1b Jim Beauchamp, and reliever Jay Ritchie.

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Baseball-reference.com has published a listing of all pitchers who have started post-season games under the age of 24.29 years. The Yankees’ Phil Hughes is scheduled to start tonight and he’s 24.29 years of age. For those who fear young starters in such “high pressure games, the research shows there have been 156 pitchers make post […]

October 8, 1904: Rookie second baseman Miller Huggins strokes three triples in an 8-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis. The Reds’ win enabled them to sweep a doubleheader as they won the first game, 6-0.

The Reds were second in the league in 1904 with 92 triples, 10 behind Pittsburgh’s 102. Cy Seymour and Joe Kelley both tied for third in the league with 13 triples. Rookie Huggins finished with seven. For the season, Huggins batted .263 with a .377 OBP (OPS+ 110). Over six seasons with the Reds, Huggins batted .260 with a .362 OBP. He played 13 major league seasons, but is most famous for managing the New York Yankees to their first six World Series titles.

The 1904 Reds finished the season 88-65, in third place, 18 games behind the New York Giants. Seymour was their most effective hitter, batting .313 with 26 doubles and 13 triples (134 OPS+), while manager-1b Kelley batted .281 with 21 doubles and 13 triples (OPS+ 121). The Reds’ asset was their pitching, for they had six starting pitchers with ERA+ of 112 or higher. The Reds were third in the league with an ERA of 2.34. Jack Harper was 23-9 with a 2.30 ERA; Noodles Hahn was 16-18 with a 2.06 ERA; and Tom Walker was 15-8 with a 2.24 ERA. Win Kellum was 15-10 with a 2.60 ERA.

October 8, 1919: The Chicago White Sox get a complete game victory from Ed Cicotte and two run singles from both Shoeless Joe Jackson and Happy Felsch as they pull within four games to three by defeating the Reds, 4-1, in the seventh game of the World Series. The major principals for the White Sox were all later said to have been in on the Black Sox fix for the Series. Dolf Luque pitched four innings on one-hit shutout baseball in relief for the Reds.

October 8, 1939: The Yankees score three times in the tenth inning to sweep the 1939 World Series from the Reds. The Reds made four errors in the final game of the 1939 Series, and included the play noted for “Lombardi’s Snooze.”

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September 21, 1889: Four ninth inning errors by the St. Louis Browns allow the Cincinnati Red Stockings to score four runs and win the game, 5-4.

Keep in mind, it was not uncommon for teams to make lots of errors in games back in 1889. In fact, the average team would make about four fielding errors per game. However, four in one inning was excessive even at that time.

The 1889 American Association Red Stockings would finish the season 76-63 in fourth place, 18 games behind the Brooklyn Bridegrooms. The Red Stockings’ best player of the year was 29-year-old rookie pitcher, Jesse Duryea who went 32-19 with a 2.56 ERA (155 ERA+). 22-year-old Lee Viau finished the year 22-20 with a 3.79 ERA. The leading hitter was 23-year-old rookie outfielder Bug Holliday, who batted .321 and led the AA with 19 home runs to go with 104 rbi.

September 21, 1955: Gus Bell goes 4-4 including a double, a grand slam home run, and eight rbi to lead the Cincinnati Redlegs to a 14-5 win over the Milwaukee Braves.

Bell’s grand slam came in the bottom of the first inning with one out and the Reds never looked back. Teammate Ted Kluszewski also had four hits on the day including a home run. Pitcher Johnny Klippstein went the distance to get the win.

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