September 25, 1925: For the first time in major league history and still the only time in National League history, teammates connect for bases-loaded triples in the same game as the Reds wallop the Brooklyn Robins, 18-7, in Cincinnati. Curt Walker clears the bases for the Reds with a triple in the third inning and teammate Rube Bressler does likewise in the fifth. The Reds scored a total of nine runs in the third inning alone.
Only 534 fans show up in Cincinnati to see the third place Reds, who finish the season 80-73, 15 games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Reds gained possession of third place back in July and had held the spot for two months.
For the game, the Reds have four players with three hits: Walker, Bressler, Elmer Smith, and Chuck Dressen. Reds starting pitcher Jakie May went the distance for the win, giving up 14 hits and seven runs, walking four.
Walker was the Reds starting rightfielder from 1924-30, playing 953 games in those seven years, batting .303 with a .378 OBP, and an OPS+ of 113. Walker finished in the top ten triples five times with the Reds, finishing second three times (1925-26, 1929). Bressler played 11 seasons with the Reds (1917-27) and was a pitcher as well as an of-1b. Bressler batted .311 in his time with the Reds with a .379 OBP (OPS+ 115). As a pitcher, Bressler pitched in 42 games and was 12-9 with a 2.76 ERA (100 ERA+).
September 25, 1951: Reds catcher Johnny Pramesa wins the game for the Reds as he clubs a 14th inning grand slam walk off home run in a 7-3 Reds victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
September 24, 1924: Reds starting pitcher Carl Mays wins his 20th game of the season as the Reds defeat the Philadelphia Phillies, 9-6.
Oh, wait…may be this happened on September 20th….baseball-reference.com’s bullpen says it’s the 24th of September, as does “Redleg Journal” (by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder), but baseball-reference.com’s team pages say it was September 20th. Nevertheless, Mays becomes the first pitcher to win 20 games with three different teams. Mays won 22 and 21 for the Boston Red Sox in 1917-18, won 26 and 27 for the New York Yankees in 1920-21, and won 20 for the Reds in 1924. Only two other pitchers won 20 or more games with three different teams, Hall of Famers Grover Cleveland “Pete” Alexander and Gaylord Perry.
Mays finishes his 1924 Reds season with a 20-9 record and a 3.15 ERA (119 ERA+). Mays had one another excellent Reds season, going 19-12 with a 3.14 ERA and leading the league with 24 complete games in 1926. For his career, Mays was 208-126 with a 2.92 ERA; with the Reds over five years, Mays was 49-34 with a 3.26 ERA. Mays is best known or an unfortunate incident, for he’s the only major league pitcher to kill a batter with a pitched baseball. Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman was hit in the temple by a Mays pitch (Mays was with the New York Yankees at the time) and died the next morning. Mays wasn’t a popular player and this made things worse and some teams called for him to be banned from baseball. Mays said repeatedly the incident was an accident, but the beaning may have been what has kept Mays out of the Hall of Fame. More about Mays can be read here.
June 27, 1926: The Cincinnati Reds break loose for 18 hits, including five triples, and turn a triple play, while starting pitcher Pete Donohue fires a six-hitter as the Reds blitz the Pittsburgh Pirates, 16-0. The win gives the first place Reds a 2 1/2 game lead over the eventual champion St. Louis Cardinals.
The 1926 Reds may be the best Reds team that you’ve never heard of. They finished the season two games out of first place, but spent 85 days in first place. The last day they were first came on September 16 with only 10 days left in the season. They were never more than five games back, and never went under .500 for the year. They beat the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals 14 out of 22 games, but somehow lost to the sub.-500 New York Giants in 15 of 22 games. They had the league’s best offense (OPS+ of 103), the second best pitching (ERA+ of 109 behind the Cubs’ 119) and placed third in defensive efficiency (.698). Check out this list of personal accomplishments:
Second baseman Hughie Critz finished second in MVP balloting
catcher Bubbles Hargrave won the batting title at .353
Outfielder Cuckoo Christensen finished second for the batting title at .350
First baseman Wally Pipp tied for fourth in runs batted in with 99
Outfielder Edd Roush was second in doubles with 37
Outfielder Curt Walker was second in triples with 22
Pitcher Pete Donohue tied for first in wins with 20
Pitcher Carl Mays was fifth in wins with 19
Pitchers Pete Donohue, Carl Mays, Red Lucas, and Eppa Rixey were all in the top ten in WHIP (walk and hits per nine innings pitched)
Pitcher Jakie May was third in strikeouts with 103
Carl Mays was first in complete games with 24
Pete Donohue was first in shutouts with 5
Hargrave an OPS+ of 151
Top four outfielders OPS+ ratings: Rube Bressler 147, Christensen 135, Roush 123, Walker 122
Wally Pipp had an OPS+ of 107, too
They had six pitchers with 100+ innings pitched. Their ERA+: Mays 118, May 115, Donohue 110, Rixey 109, Dolf Luque 108, Red Lucas 101
From Baseball-Reference.com…on this day in Reds history…
On September 4, 1971, one of the weirdest and most frightful moments in Reds history occurred when a ten pound sack of flour drops from an airplane flying over Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The bag explodes on the playing field about 15 feet from Reds shortstop Woody Woodward who was positioned in the field.
In 1988, Danny Jackson wins his 20th game of the year, holding the Cubs to six hits in a 17-0 victory. Jackson goes to complete a stellar 1988 season, going 23-8 with a 2.73 ERA and six shutouts. He was the last Red to win 20 or more games…it’s been 21 years.
In 1974, Astros pitcher Don Wilson made a bid to become the first pitcher to no-hit the Reds twice. Wilson held the Reds hitless through eight innings before manager Preston Gomez removed him for a pinch hitter in the eighth inning. Mike Cosgrove came in to pitch for the Astros, but Tony Perez broke up the no-hitter with a single and the Reds won 2-1. The Reds had scored two runs in the fifth following two walks byWilson, a sacrifice bunt, and then a two-run throwing error to shortstop following a ground ball. Wilson had previously no-hit the Reds in 1969, the day after the Reds’ Jim Maloney had no-hit the Astros.
We’ve reviewed some of the major components of the first two Cincinnati World Championship teams. We know that championship teams need big time players, but it takes more than just stars to win a championship (see Ernie Banks).
Briefly, here’s how the other guys came about….watch for the number of waiver wire and contract purchases…it takes a combination of scouting for waiver wire acquisitions, trades, and, yes, even spending some money to win championships.
1919 Reds–Record of 96-44, with a winning percent of .686–highest in modern Reds history