Today in Cincinnati Reds history… 1976: After winning back-to-back World Series championships, the Reds made one of the most controversial trades in club history, dealing fan favorite — and future Hall of Famer — Tony Perez to the Montreal Expos in exchange for Woodie Fryman and Dale Murray. (Click on the picture at right to […]

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 […]

Some time ago, we named the top ten catchers in Reds history. It’s time now for the second installment in our “Top Ten” series. Today, we’re going to look at the ten greatest first baseman in the long and illustrious history of the Cincinnati Reds. 1. Joey Votto. 2007-present. This is going to be the […]

December 16, 1976: The Reds trade Hall of Fame first baseman Tony Perez and lefty reliever Will McEnaney to the Montreal Expos for pitchers Woodie Fryman and Dale Murray.

Perez was a fan and clubhouse favorite who had been in the Reds organization since migrating from Cuba in 1960. Considered a great clutch hitter, manager Sparky Anderson was once quoted as saying, “When there’s a runner in scoring position, I can’t think of any batter I’d rather have at the plate than Perez.”

Perez had been with the Reds at the major league level for 13 years at the time of the trade and had driven in 90 or more runs for ten consecutive seasons. Waiting in the wings was Dan Driessen, a line-drive hitting first baseman who had just turned 24 and already had four major league seasons under his belt. Driessen’s first season as starter could have fit right into a Perez career line — .300 with 17 homers, 91 RBI — but it stopped there as he never exceeded 75 RBI again. Perez collected 91 RBI for the Expos in 1977 before dropping into the 70’s twice himself and then rebounding with a 105 RBI season with the 1980 Boston Red Sox. Perez came back to the Reds for the final three seasons of his career, primarily as a part-time player. For his 23 seasons, Perez hit .279 with 379 home runs, 1652 RBI, and an .804 OPS (122 OPS+).

The decline of the Big Red Machine is often blamed on the Perez trade. The Reds offense continued to perform at a high level even without Perez while the pitching failed, but anecdotal evidence seems rather strong that Perez had a calming effect in the clubhouse.

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August 12, 1966: Reds reserve outfielder Art Shamsky goes on a tear and hits three consecutive home runs, two in extra innings, in a Reds 14-11 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Shamsky didn’t even enter the game until the eighth inning, hitting two of the homers in extra innings, the first time ever in the National League. Shamsky hits a fourth consecutive home run days later, also in a reserve role. The two home runs hit in regulation time gave the Reds leads in each game and the two extra inning home runs overcame deficits and tied the game for the Reds.

With such rich memories of the 1970’s Big Red Machine, the 1960’s period in Reds history has been overlooked. The 1960’s Reds teams were very good baseball teams, featuring win seasons of 93, 98, 86, 92, 89, 76, 87, 83, and 89 before reaching the World Series with 102 wins in 1970. They won only 67 in 1960 before bursting onto the scenes in 1961 with the 93-win season to boost them into the World Series against the New York Yankees. They did have one sub-.500 season from 1961-1969, and that was the 1966 season, the season after the ill-fated trade of Frank Robinson to the Baltimore Orioles.

It was during the 1966 season that little known Reds substitute outfielder Art Shamsky made history. It’s a little surprising to me that more isn’t made of Shamsky’s achievements. The 1960’s Reds aren’t discussed much past the 1961 World Series season. I feel the lack of interest in those Reds teams or Shamsky’s feats must be combination of being by-products of playing in the shadow of the Big Red Machine and the bad memories of the Robinson trade which has been documented over and over again in baseball lore.

Baseball-reference.com has some tidbits of info on Art Shamsky and Shamsky’s big day. From “Bullpen:Today in Baseball History” at baseball-reference.com:

At Crosley Field‚ long-ball lovers enjoy 11 home runs in one game‚ tying the most in any contest and setting a ML record for an extra-inning contest. Art Shamsky hits 3 consecutive dingers for Cincinnati‚ including two in extra innings. But Pittsburgh prevails 13 – 11‚ scoring 3 in the 13th inning. Shamsky does not enter the game until the 8th‚ when he hits a 2-run homer to put the Reds up, 8 – 7. His solo homer in the 10th ties the score at 9 – 9‚ as does his 2-run homer in the 11th. Shamsky’s pair of extra-inning homers is a first in the National League‚ and just the 3rd time ever in the Majors. Also going deep are Pete Rose Deron JohnsonBob Bailey (twice)‚ Roberto Clemente‚ Jesse Gonder‚ and Jerry Lynch. For Lynch‚ it is his 18th pinch-hit homer‚ a ML record.

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July 28, 1977: In a game featuring 11 home runs, a record-tying five in the first inning, the Reds blow four different leads in losing an 13-inning game to the Chicago Cubs, 16-15, at Wrigley Field.

The Reds struck first with a vengeance, slugging three first inning home runs off Cubs pitcher Ray Burris to score six runs. Pete Rose led off the game with a home run over the right center field wall, and Ken Griffey and Joe Morgan followed with singles. George Foster struck out, but Johnny Bench followed with a three run-homer. Cesar Geronimo lined out to left field, but Dave Concepcion reached on infield single. Mike Lum followed with the third home run of the top of the first inning giving the Reds a 6-0 lead.

But, remember, we’re playing in Chicago’s Wrigley Field, and hey, what’s six runs, especially if the wind is blowing out as it was on this day? The Reds started Dale Murray in his first and only start of his 12-year, 518 game major league career. Murray had been acquired from the Montreal Expos along with veteran starter Woodie Fryman in the offseason trade that sent Tony Perez to the Expos. Through Murray’s first 39 games with the Reds he had produced a 4.68 ERA and Fryman had temporarily retired (he was 5-5 with a 5.38 ERA in 12 starts with the Reds) to go home and farm in Kentucky (Fryman unretired at season’s end to be traded and pitch six more seasons).

Ivan DeJesus led off the Cubs’ first with a double and Larry Biittner drew a walk. Bill Bucker then slugged his third home run of the year to cut the Reds’ lead in half, 6-3. Bobby Murcer made it 6-4 with a solo home run before Murray retired the next three batters in order.

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July 5, 1970: Rookie Wayne Simpson allows only four hits, striking out seven in defeating the Houston Astros, 3-1, in Houston. The victory was Simpson’s 10th consecutive win, improving his record to 13-1 with a 2.27 ERA in 18 starts halfway through his freshman season.

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Summarizing the Redleg Trade Review series, today I’ll list my ten worst Reds trades ever. You can search all the trades that were reviewed by going to the Redleg Nation search engine at the upper right corner of the page. I don’t know if it’s a matter of perspective or exactly why it seems this way, but it sure seems that we’ve made a bunch of, let’s just say, not-so-profitable trades over the years.

1. December 15, 1900….Christy Mathewson traded to the New York Giants for pitcher Amos Rusie. I’ll make it simple: Christy Mathewson is one of the five best pitchers of all time, winning 373 lifetime games. He won one with the Reds. Amos Rusie is also a Hall of Fame pitcher. He won 245 lifetime games, zero with the Reds.

2. December 9, 1965: Frank Robinson is traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Baltimore Orioles for Jack Baldschun, Milt Pappas and Dick Simpson. Unfortunately, this is one of the most famous baseball trades of all time with no good light shining on the Reds.

3. December 13, 1934: Johnny Mize is purchased by the Cincinnati Reds from the St. Louis Cardinals.
April 15, 1935: Returned to the St. Louis Cardinals by the Cincinnati Reds following previous purchase.
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1. 1970–Traded LHP Steve Mingori to Cleveland Indians for Jay Ward.
2. 1971—Traded RHP Milt Wilcox to Cleveland for OF Ted Uhlaender
3. 1972–Traded OF Hal McRae and SP Wayne Simpson to KC for OF Richie Scheinblum and SP Roger Nelson
4. 1973—Traded LHP Ross Grimsley to Baltimore for Merv Rettenmund
5. 1975—Traded RHP Joaquin Andujar to Houston for two minor league pitchers
6. 1976==Traded 1b Tony Perez and LHP Will McEnaney to Montreal for LHP Woodie Fryman and RHP Dale Murray
7. 1977—traded LHP Mike Caldwell to Milwaukee for two minor leaguers
8. 1977—traded RHP Bill Caudill, along with LHP Woodie Fryman to the Chicago Cubs for RHP Bill Bonham
9. 1977—Traded Shane Rawley to Mariners for Of Dave Collins

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June 15, 1977: Tom Seaver is traded by the New York Mets to the Cincinnati Reds for Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson, Dan Norman and Pat Zachry.

For the third time in six years, Reds General Manager Bob Howsam pulls off an incredibly beneficial trade for the Reds, getting possibly the best pitcher in the National League for two outfield prospects, a middle infield reserve, and a rookie of the year pitcher.

Tom Seaver, also known as “Tom Terrific,” or “The Franchise” in some circles was known to speak his mind about how the New York Mets were performing, similar to what many of us may remember Barry Larkin doing in the 1990’s. Continue reading

It’s fashionable these days to lament the days when starting pitchers went nine innings and teams only needed 9 pitchers; when pitchers weren’t “babied.” Major League scouts, managers, announcers, and writers whine about the lack of quality pitching available today. Just to let you know, the statistical record doesn’t really show that to be true on a consistent basis, except for a period of time in the late 60’s and early 70’s when baseball offense was at it’s nadir and the game was designed for the pitcher to dominate.

However, the Big Red Machine’s “weak link” was allegedly their pitching staff. I don’t think it was that bad, and it could have been even better. In fact, it could have been a whole lot better than what we had. Anyway…is it really fair to compare their pitching staff to their offense, which is considered to be one of the best of all time?

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