Everyone knows it. Me, Chad, The Nation, everybody. The Reds need to obtain a veteran starting pitcher who can reliably show up on the mound every fifth day, give them (dare I say?) 180 innings of work and anchor the pitching staff. Given that the Reds are a small market team, getting one through free […]

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 […]

In his first at-bat as a Cincinnati Red on Opening Day of 1969, Bobby Tolan smacked a home run into the Sun Deck of Crosley Field off Don Drysdale. It was the start of a stellar four-year run for Tolan, who was the heir apparent to the centerfield position vacated with the trade of Reds […]

Like baseball itself, Spring Training has changed and evolved over the years. Logistically, it sure has for Cincinnati. The Reds left Florida for Arizona in 2010, a move that probably still irks some in the Nation. Apparently, it came down to Sarasota and Goodyear and Reds Owner Bob Castellini didn’t want to pull the trigger. […]

2013 is looking good so far. Despite injuries to their #1 starter, starting leftfielder and cleanup hitter and catcher, the Reds are thick in the race for the Division as Memorial Day awaits. Their MVP is a Boy Named Choo, Votto is hitting like Votto and Bruce looks like he is in the beginning of […]

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 […]

Redleg Nation is the spouse in a bad marriage screaming, “I don’t know who you are anymore!”  Up and down the lineup, this team looks nothing like the club we fell in love with last year.  Fans are screaming for divorce.  Or at least a separation from Dusty Baker.  But, if you think you’ve never […]

December 19, 1985: The Reds acquire starting pitcher Bill Gullickson and catcher Sal Butera for starting pitchers Jay Tibbs, John Stuper, middle reliever Andy McGaffigan, and catcher Dann Bilardello.

The Montreal Expos made Gullickson the overall number two pick in the 1977 amateur draft. Gullickson was recalled for good by the Expos in May of 1980 and entered the Expos rotation in the middle of a pennant race. He went 10-5 as a rookie with a 3.00 ERA (119 ERA+) in 24 games, of which 19 were starts. His season highlight came when he set a rookie record with 18 strikeouts on September 10 vs. the Chicago Cubs. Gullickson finished second in the rookie of the year voting and the player with the most similar age 21 season was former Reds phenom Wayne Simpson, who was 14-3 with a 3.02 ERA in 1970.

Despite striking out the 18 Cubs in that one game, Gullickson became known as a control pitcher and not a strikeout pitcher. Gullickson was regularly among the best control pitchers in the league, allowing 2.2 walks per nine innings for his career. He had also averaged 222 innings pitched per year from 1982-85, the four years before joining the Reds, having won in double figures those four consecutive seasons. The Reds were adding Gullickson to a revamped rotation that would include Mario Soto, Tom Browning, and John Denny, with Denny having only been acquired about a week earlier.

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December 1, 1972: The Reds trade hitter-formerly injured 2b-turned-outfielder Hal McRae and injured pitching phenom Wayne Simpson to the Kansas City Royals for reserve outfielder Richie Scheinblum and formerly injured pitching phenom Roger Nelson. It wasn’t a good deal for the Reds, but it was a good change of scenery for the participants. McRae had […]

September 22, 1903: “Turkey Mike” Donlin ties a major league record by tripling in four consecutive at bats during a doubleheader split with the Philadelphia Phillies in Cincinnati.

Donlin’s first triple came in the last at bat of a first game 12-7 Reds loss and then he tripled in his first three at bats of the second game Reds 8-1 victory. For the afternoon, Donlin had six hits in seven at bats. For the season, Donlin’s only full season in Cincinnati, Donlin batted .351 with 25 doubles, 18 triples, 7 homers, and 67 rbi, a .420 OBP, and a .936 OPS (155 OPS+). He was second in the league in OPS, triples, home runs, and runs created. He may be one of the best Reds’ talents you’ve never heard of and a piece of one of the greatest collections of Reds outfield talent in Reds history.

Donlin was quite the character. The Reds signed him as a free agent in 1902 while he was in jail for assaulting an actress. When he was released, he finished the 1902 season by playing in 34 games and hitting .287. He was one of baseball’s best players in 1903, and was hitting a robust .356 in 1904 when the Reds traded him to the New York Giants. His OPS+ at the time of his trade was 162, so he was producing. However, Donlin was also an actor and would frequently take leaves of absence during his baseball career to pursue his other craft. Over 12 major league seasons, Donlin batted .333 with an OPS+ of 144, but he played only 1049 games (averaging about 85 per year) during his career.

The 1903 Reds finished in fourth place in the National League with a record of 74-65, 16 games behind the first place Pittsburgh Pirates. Center fielder Cy Seymour was a hitting machine for the Reds, batting .342 with 25 doubles, 15 triples, seven homers (OPS+ of 134) and third baseman Harry Steinfeldt had his best season as a Red, batting .312 and leading the league with 32 doubles (OPS+ of 136). Hall of Fame first baseman Jake Beckley had another good season in his last year with the Reds, batting .327 with an OPS+ of 126. In seven seasons with the Reds, Beckley batted .325 with 251 extra base hits, 530 rbi, and an OPS+ of 128. Hall of Fame manager-outfielder Joe Kelley also played well, batting .316 with a .402 OBP (OPS+ of 124) playing a utility role in 105 games for the Reds.

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In 1969, I was eight-years-old, and I decided I wanted to be a sports fan. It’s odd to think of it that way, but I was the oldest of four boys. My father wasn’t a sports fan; my mother was, but she was kind of busy having four boys between the ages of five and eight at the time. We kept busy in my small town in Kentucky (Hodgenville, birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, if you didn’t know) by reading, playing in our fenced backyard, watching “Lost in Space,” “Gilligan’s Island,” and “Hogan’s Heroes” on television. We had fun, but I noticed my friends were starting to talk about sports, and if the television news thought it was important enough to give time to sports, I thought it must be important. So, I made a conscious decision to become a sports fan.

I checked my World Book Encyclopedia and looked up the major sports to find which teams were best. I had that option, you know. There were no professional teams in Hodgenville, Kentucky, so I chose the Boston Celtics for the NBA, the Green Bay Packers for the NFL, and the Los Angeles Dodgers for baseball. I know; the Dodgers selection seems at odds with my other choices, but I never wanted to go to New York so I couldn’t choose the Yankees. It was easy to choose the University of Kentucky Wildcats for they always won. Looking back, the Packers weren’t such a good choice at the time, but the loyalty paid off when Brett Favre and Reggie White joined the team.

By 1970, I was watching every baseball game I could on the Saturday NBC Game of the Week. Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek kept talkiing about how great the Cincinnati Reds were as a baseball team. They had this great catcher in Johnny Bench, and he and the Reds slugging third baseman, Tony Perez, were absolutely destroying the league (the Reds were 70-30 in their first 100 games). They had a rookie pitcher named Wayne Simpson that no one could hit, the “Big Bopper,” Lee May at first base, a speedster named Bobby Tolan who could do it all, and Jim Merritt was on his way to winning 20 games AND he could even hit home runs. Bernie Carbo and Hal McRae made for a nearly unstoppable “platoon” in left field, a reliever named Wayne Granger could pitch nearly every day, and their manager, George Anderson, had a cool nickname (Sparky). They had even more: they were led by the player that embodied baseball and was baseball’s best ambassador, right fielder Pete Rose, who played every game like a man on a mission. Wait, that’s an understatement. He was on a mission.

I was hooked. As a nine-year-old I could change teams and the Reds were winning. I watched the 1970 all-star game in vivid wonder as Rose bowled over catcher Ray Fosse to score the winning run. To me, it was an easy decision for Rose to attempt to score. Why play the game at all if you aren’t trying to win? And, anyway, for any critics of the all-star move, Fosse was playing to win, too. He didn’t have to be blocking home plate, if it was just an “exhibition game” to the players. It was a tough, but fair play.

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September 9, 1970: Reds rookie Milt Wilcox, making his second career start, hurls a five-hit 6-0 shut over the Los Angeles Dodgers. The first place Reds were now 13 games ahead of the second place Dodgers. The 1970 Reds had moved from Crosley Field to Riverfront Stadium midway through the season. After having gone 70-30 […]