This week’s respondents are Matt Habel, Steve Mancuso, Jim Walker, Tom Mitsoff, and Chad Dotson. Our Daily Reds Obsession: Who is the best defensive player you’ve ever seen in a Reds uniform? Matt: Billy Hamilton is definitely an easy answer because I have never seen anyone consistently make the plays that he does, let alone […]

Every spring, even the most cynical fans allow for fleeting moments of optimism. After all, projections are based on past performance, and there’s always the possibility of multiple players having breakout seasons and carrying their teams to unexpected postseason glory. It happens nearly every year – prior to last season, for example, Baseball Prospectus guesstimated […]

November 2, 1881: The American Association is founded to compete with the National League. The motto for the league is “Liberty to All” with founding members the Cincinnati Red Stockings, Philadelphia Athletics, Brooklyn Atlantics, Louisville Colonels, Pittsburgh Alleghenys, and the St. Louis Brown Stockings. The American Association will become known as the “Beer and Whiskey […]

August 3: A few short stories from a day of offensive explosions…

1989: The Reds erupt to score 14 runs on 16 hits in the first inning in defeating the Houston Astros, 18-2, at Riverfront Stadium. The 14 runs in one inning tied a team record set in 1893. The team set a major league record by having seven players get two hits and six players scored twice in the inning. Seven players had three hits in the game which tied another major league record.

The first seven Reds of the game reached base off Astro starter Jack Clancy before the Astros called on Bob Forsch with the bases loaded and no one out. A three-run homer by Ken Griffey was the big blast of the inning off Clancy. Ron Oester greeted Forsch with a double before Forsch retired pitcher Tom Browning on a groundball for the first out of the inning. The Reds then batted around again with every Red getting either a single or a double off Forsch before two flyballs finally ended the inning with the Reds leading 14-0. The bases were loaded as the final two outs were recorded. Rolando Roomes and Jeff Reed both homered in the seventh to add some insurance runs as Browning went the distance at pitcher to earn the victory. Roomes, Reed, and Todd Benzinger all had four hits in the game and Griffey had four rbi. Luis Quinones, Eric Davis, Griffey, and Oester all had three hits contributing to record of seven players with three or more hits in the game.

1994: Kevin Mitchell had possibly his best game as a Red as he goes 5-5 with a home run, two doubles, and five rbi as the Reds blitz Dusty Baker’s Giants, 17-4, at Candlestick Park.

Jacob Brumfield and Bret Boone opened the game for the Reds with back-to-back home runs off Giants starter, Bud Black. Barry Larkin reached on an error and Mitchell followed a two-run homer to give the Reds a quick, 4-0, lead before any outs were recorded. Later in the game, Mitchell had a run-scoring double in the second inning, a double in the fourth, a single in the fifth, and a two-run single in the sixth. Mitchell’s performance raised his batting average to .328 and his OPS to 1.116 on the year. Brian Hunter and Jeff Branson also homered in the game. Boone had four hits, and Hunter and Tony Fernandez each had three hits. John Roper was the winning pitcher for the Reds.

Mitchell was simply outstanding in 1994. Due to the player-strike shortened season, the Reds only played 114 games with Mitchell playing 95 of them. In those 95 games, Kevin Mitchell batted .326 with 30 homers, 77 rbi, a .429 OBP, .681 SLP, an OPS of 1.110, and an OPS+ of 185. The .681 slugging percentage set a Reds single season record, breaking Ted Kluszewski’s .642 in 1954. In Mitchell’s first season with the Reds (1993), Mitchell batted .341 (.986 OPS) with 19 home runs in 93 games.

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June 19, 1994: The Reds explode for 20 hits for the second consecutive day against the Atlanta Braves to claim first place in the National League Central Division. Included in those 20 hits were four first inning homers off Braves star John Smoltz, who sets a National League record for most total bases allowed in […]

Baseball Prospectus has published a new study comparing the great American League shortstops of the early 1990’s: Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Jeter, and Alex Rodriguez.

The article is on the payside, so I can’t say too much, other than to say BP’s fielding rating system still shows Derek Jeter to be a really poor shortstop on defense, despite his UZR rating which says he’s improved. BP also gives Garciaparra a rather poor defensive rating for the last several years, and ARod pretty much grades out as average defensively at 3B during his time with the Yankees.

However, that’s not what I wanted to note. What I noticed in the article were the overall BP “JAWS” rankings of two Reds greats, Barry Larkin and Dave Concepcion.

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The Reds signed Orlando Cabrera to a free agent contract in the off season in an effort to strengthen one of the Reds’ biggest offseason question marks; that is, who plays shortstop or maybe the question was actually whether Paul Janish would hit enough to be the regular shortstop?

Janish was the default regular after oft-hurt Alex Gonzalez was dealt to the Red Sox in a post-trade deadline deal for minor leaguer Kris Negron last August. The Reds have been searching for a shortstop since the retirement of Barry Larkin following the 2004 season. Felipe Lopez gave us one good offensive season in 2005, but we’ve since gone through Gonzalez, Royce Clayton, Jeff Keppinger, Ray Olmedo, Juan Castro, Danny Richar, Enrique Cruz, William Bergolla, Rich Aurilia, Pedro Lopez, Jerry Hairston Jr. , Adam Rosales, Drew Sutton, and even Brandon Phillips has played there since Larkin retired. We even had current Reds’ shortstop Orlando Cabrera’s brother, Jolbert Cabrera, stand there for nine games in 2008.

I don’t know why, but I’m hearing Johnny Cash‘s “I’ve Been Everywhere” in the background; or maybe it’s REM’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It;” maybe it’s Billy Joel‘s “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” I don’t know, but…

Am I the only one missing Barry Larkin?

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Baseball Prospectus analyzed the Jeff Keppinger–Drew Sutton deal on Tuesday, and more or less said that Walt Jocketty was doing the Astros a favor for Sutton is 26 and not really a prospect. To quote: “Between some modest amount of speed and pop added to his switch-hitting, he (Sutton) could stick as somebody’s utilityman someday, […]

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.