Since it’s the off-season and we can’t spend every day writing about why Raisel Iglesias needs to be a starter next season, I thought it would be an appropriate time to embark upon a project that I’ve been wanting to explore for years. That is, I thought it would be fun to look at the […]

September 29, 1879: From baseball-reference.com’s bullpen:

Baseball’s reserve clause is born. National League owners, seeking to limit player salaries, led by Boston’s Arthur Soden come to a secret agreement whereby five players on each team will be “reserved” – off limits to all other clubs. The reserve clause will be in effect for the 1880 season. The owners tell the newspapers that they have agreed upon a uniform contract with no salary advances.

I don’t think they could get away with that today….

September 29, 1919: Also from baseball-reference.com’s bullpen:

Arnold Rothstein decides to finance the World Series fix. The plan calls for Nat Evans to give a $40,000 advance to Sport Sullivan to give to the players with an additional $40,000 to be put in a safe at the Hotel Congress in Chicago, IL. Evans takes $29,000 and bets on the Cincinnati Reds, giving Chick Gandil only $10,000.

The 1919 Reds were an incredible 96-44 during 1919. The Chicago White Sox were 88-52.

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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.

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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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July 29, 1955: Redlegs catcher Smoky Burgess breaks loose for three home runs and nine rbi in a 16-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. This game featured two Redlegs grand slams, one by Burgess and one by Bob Thurman. Burgess homered with one on in the first and fourth innings and hit a grand slam […]

July 17, 1941 and 1956: On this day, in 1941, Reds’ pitcher Elmer Riddle wins his 11th consecutive game to start the season 11-0, and in 1956, Brooks Lawrence wins his 13th consecutive game to start the season 13-0 in a couple of the great pitching seasons in Reds history.

The 1941 Reds had won the 1940 World Series championship with a team built on defense and the arms of ace starting pitchers Bucky Walters and Paul Derringer. In 1941, the Reds were able to add two more exceptional arms: one from the emergence of Elmer Riddle and a second when Johnny Vander Meer found enough control to regain the major league dominance that he showed during his double no-hit 1938 season.

Riddle didn’t get his first win until May 20 and it came in relief against the Boston Braves. The Reds were trailing 5-3 after eight innings when Riddle entered the game, giving up a run in the top of the ninth. The Reds scored six in the bottom of the ninth, with first baseman Frank McCormick winning the game on a walkoff three-run homer and getting Riddle his first victory. Riddle’s second victory was also a relief effort and it came three days later over the Chicago Cubs in relief of Vander Meer. The Reds had jumped out to a 6-0 lead, but Vander Meer lost control and pitched three innings of no-hit ball, but allowed three runs on six walks and a hit batsman. Riddle came on in relief to pitch six innings of four-hit one-run baseball to secure his second win. His third win also came in relief, a 4 2/3 one-hit effort in an extra inning 3-2 win over the Cardinals.

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July 6, 1949: Reds catcher Walker Cooper has the best game at the plate of any Red in history. In a 23-4 route of the Chicago Cubs, Walker goes 6-6, with three home runs, five runs, 10 rbi, and 15 total bases. The 10 rbi and 15 total bases have been Reds single game records for 60 years. The only other players in major league history to have six hits and three homers in a game are Ty Cobb in 1925, Jimmie Foxx in 1932, and Edgardo Alfonso in 1999 (per “Redleg Journal” by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder, published in 2000). Walker’s hits, runs, and homers totals all tied other Reds single game records.

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On June 17, 1956, the Cincinnati Redlegs moved into sole possession of first place as they won the second game of a double header against the New York Giants, 1-0, behind lefty Joe Nuxhall’s two-hit shutout. It’s the third time in less than two weeks that Nuxhall was the winning pitcher in games that either tied or gave the Redlegs sole possession of first place.

The first came on June 5, as Nuxhall went the distance and the Redlegs beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 9-4. The win moved the Redlegs into a virtual tie for first, percentage points over the St. Louis Cardinals. In a close race, the Redlegs were 25-18, the Cardinals 26-19, the Pittsburgh Pirates 24-18, the Milwaukee Braves 20-15, and the Brooklyn Dodgers 22-19. The five teams were all within two games of each other. The Dodgers, Braves, and Redlegs would continue the battle all season, with the Dodgers placing first, the Braves second (one game out), and the Redlegs third (two games out of first place).
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January 30, 1959: The Cincinnati Redlegs trade Harvey Haddix, Smoky Burgess, and Don Hoak to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Whammy Douglas, Jim Pendleton, John Powers and Frank Thomas.

First things first…the Reds were called the Redlegs during this time period. As the fear of Communism rose in the world, the Reds’ management felt it best to not be called the “Reds” during this time. The distinction was even more important during the 1961 World Series against the New York “Yanks.” (my Little League baseball team was the “Redlegs” as late as 1972–probably the same recycled wool uniforms”)

I think I know what the Reds were trying to do with this trade…the Reds were two years removed from their record-tying 1956 season when they hit 221 home runs and attendance soared past one million for the first time. The 1956 season had snapped an 11-year run of sub-.500 seasons, and they had finished third. Two years later (in 1958), the Reds finished below .500 again, and their power numbers dropped so they decided to get more pop. Their runs scored had dropped from 775 to 695 in those two seasons.

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June 15, 1949: Cincinnati Reds trade outfielders Hank Sauer and Frank Baumholtz to the Chicago Cubs for outfielders Peanuts Lowrey and Harry Walker.

February 16, 1953: Joe Adcock is traded as part of a 4-team trade by the Cincinnati Reds to the Milwaukee Braves. The Milwaukee Braves sent cash to the Cincinnati Reds. The Milwaukee Braves sent Earl Torgeson to the Philadelphia Phillies. The Brooklyn Dodgers sent Jim Pendleton to the Milwaukee Braves. The Brooklyn Dodgers sent Rocky Bridges to the Cincinnati Reds. The Philadelphia Phillies sent cash to the Milwaukee Braves. The Philadelphia Phillies sent Russ Meyer to the Brooklyn Dodgers.

OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH

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You may have noticed that we’ve been focusing on Reds history a little bit more recently (Thanks, Steve Price). We all love the Reds, and I don’t want us to forget that this organization has a very storied and interesting history.

Anyway, while doing some research for another series of posts (coming soon), I thought it would be interesting to put together a team of former Reds who many of us may have forgotten actually played for the Reds. Accordingly, here I present the all-time “They Were Reds?” team. You may remember some, or all, of them but these are players who made their names elsewhere, yet spent a short time with the Reds at some point.

First Base: Leon Durham
I actually do remember Durham’s time with the Reds, but he had such a strange career, I thought I’d put him at the top of the list (this was a difficult position to choose from). Durham, of course, was an all-star for the Chicago Cubs, a powerful hitter with a great defensive reputation. In 1988, at age 30 and just a year removed from a decent, 27-homer year, Durham was traded to the Reds for Pat Perry and cash. After only 56 plate appearances, the Reds released him and within a year, at 31 years old, Durham was out of baseball. Very strange career.

Honorable Mention: Joe Adcock — an all-star who spent his best years with the Milwaukee Braves, Adcock amassed 336 homers over a long and distinguished career. His major league debut, however, was with Cincinnati.
Charlie Comiskey — Comiskey, of course, is a Hall-of-Famer for his contributions off the field. He finished his playing career as a Red.
Terry Francona — Francona is known now as the manager of the first Red Sox team to win a World Series in about a million years. He played a decade in the majors, however, and wasn’t an awful player. He played 102 games in 1987, his sole season with the Reds. Wish he was managing the Reds now?
Wally Pipp — Everyone remembers Pipp, who had a headache, took a day off, and then never reclaimed his position with the Yankees because Lou Gehrig refused to let go. The Reds purchased him in 1926, and he finished out his career with Cincy, which was a much better organization anyway.

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Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

May 2 marks the anniversary one of the most remarkable events in Reds history. On May 2, 1917, Chicago’s Wrigley Field hosted the only “double” no-hitter in major league history. Reds’ ace Fred Toney outdueled Cubs’ ace Hippo Vaughn, 1-0, as both pitchers held the opposition hitless for nine innings. The Reds finally broke through […]