Tag Archives: Cincinnati Reds



What if Deion Sanders only played baseball? He decided to give baseball another try on this date in 2001. As the story goes, he was invited to spring training by the Cincinnati Reds. General Manager Jim Bowden gave the 2-sport star a non-guaranteed minor league contract to play for the Triple-A Louisville Riverbats.

The Washington Redskins‘ all-pro cornerback hadn’t played major league baseball in three years. Sanders played 115 games in the outfield for the Reds in 1997, hitting .273 with 56 stolen bases, 53 runs scored and 23 RBI, but he was 29 then. He was 33 in 2001.

Sanders made it up to the Reds for 32 games in 2001, but he hit just .173 in seventy-five at-bats. That was the end of his baseball career.

The debate that will never end is, how good a baseball player would Deion Sanders have been had he played with a bat and ball exclusively.

In a 9-year major league baseball career with the New York YankeesAtlanta Braves, Reds and San Francisco Giants Sanders played in 641 games, hitting .263 with a .319 on base percentage, but he was most known for his speed. He had 186 stolen bases, which average out to 47 per year.

His only World Series was an impressive one. He hit .533 (8 for 15) and had five stolen bases for the Braves in the 1992 World Series which was won by the Toronto Blue Jays. Sanders gave whichever baseball team he played for instant speed.

He had a more productive football career – eight time all-pro and played on two Super Bowl winning teams.

The debate that will never be answered is, how good a baseball player would he have been had he played with a bat and ball exclusively. He knew which was more challenging when asked by the Cincinnati Enquirer in 2000:

Q – What’s tougher: hitting off Greg Maddux or guarding Jerry Rice?
A – “Hitting a baseball is definitely the hardest thing in sports to do, not only for me but for a lot of guys, but guarding Jerry Rice isn’t easy either. I just make it look easy.”

Sanders was an exceptional athlete. We’ll never know how could exceptional a baseball player he could have been had he only played baseball.

Contributing sources:
Cincinnati Enquirer, February 27, 2000
Deion Sanders NFL stats


NOVEMBER 15, 2007 |  CINCINNATI, OHIO • The youngest player to appear in a major league baseball game died on this date in 2007. The late Joe Nuxhall was 79 when he died. He was 15 the first time he faced a major league lineup.

The 15-year old Nuxhall would have made it nowhere near a major league mound without a ticket, had it not been for World War II.

Nuxhall made it to “THE SHOW” with the Cincinnati Reds on June 10, 1944. It was the height of World War II. Able-bodied ballplayers of a more mature age were hard to come by because they were all in the service.

The 15-year old Nuxhall would have made it nowhere near a major league mound without a ticket, had it not been for World War II.

It was not an auspicious beginning. As the box score and play-by-play of that game show, Nuxhall was brought in to mop up a game pretty much out of reach for the Reds.

The Reds were down 13-0 to the St. Louis Cardinals when Nuxhall entered the game in the 9th. He gave up 5 earned runs on 5 walks, 2 hits and a wild pitch. He wasn’t even able to close-out the 9th. The Reds had to bring another pitcher to get the 3rd out.

Nuxhall’s ERA for that appearance – 67.50. He was shipped back to the minors after the game, not to return for eight years.

Nuxhall went on to have a fine career when he returned to the Reds in 1953. He won 17 games in 1955, 15 in 1963. His career record was 135-117. He wasn’t a bad hitting pitcher either, finishing with 15 home runs and 78 RBI.

Nuxhall was a victim of bad timing when he was traded to the Kansas City A’s in 1961, missing Cincinnati’s only appearance in the World Series during his playing career. He returned to the Reds in 1962.

Contributing sources:
Youngest MLB players
The Associated Press (AP), June 11, 1944
More on Joe Nuxhall

Dodgers score 12 runs after 2 outs

AUGUST 8, 1954 | BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – There are rallies and there are rallies. How about one the Brooklyn Dodgers had on this date in 1954? The Dodgers scored 12 runs after two outs in the eighth inning. They scored 13 total. They went on to pound the Cincinnati Reds 20-7 at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn.

Here’s a good indication why the official scoring for earned runs should be changed. Amazingly, only one of the 13 runs given up in the eighth was earned, despite four Reds pitchers giving up seven hits and seven walks. Neither Cincinnati pitchers Jackie Collum nor Frank Smith got anybody out, but their ERAs did not go down a lick (there’s something not right about that type of scoring) because twelve of the runs scored after an error by Reds third baseman Chuck Harmon long before Collum or Smith got in the game.

Here’s another example of what’s wrong with ERA scoring; a relief pitcher can be called into a game because the starter is showing some weakness. He could give up a bases clearing triple. None of those runs are charged to him. I get that. But here’s what’s crazy. Despite giving up a bases clearing triple, if he gets the next batter out his ERA goes down.

Contributing Source:
August 8, 1954 box score

Where did the phrase “Big Red Machine” come from?

AUGUST 4, 1969 | PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA • The powerhouse Cincinnati Reds of the 1970’s was known as the “Big Red Machine,” but who coined the phrase and exactly when are up for discussion. Tim Crothers, the author of Greatest Teams, published by Sports Illustrated in 1998, claims “Big Red Machine” first appeared in print on this date in 1969 after the Reds and Philadelphia Phillies slugged it out the night before.

The Reds survived 19-17. Pete Rose was quoted in the August 4th papers saying, “We scored so many runs and it was still a close game, but the Big Red Machine did it again and we’re in first place.”

Crothers said Rose was inspired by a 1934 Ford he once had which he called “Little Red Machine.” The story the Associated Press told on August 14, 1969 was that Big Red Machine was coined by Reds Manager Dave Bristol.

Regardless of its origin “Big Red Machine” remains the moniker of teams that performed with business-like precision from 1970 to 1976. With manager Sparky Anderson at the helm during that time, the Reds went 502-300. They won four division titles, three National League Pennants and two World Series.

They did it with the talents of Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Pete Rose, George Foster, Dave Concepcion, and others.

It’s odd that the Big Red Machine has a reputation of being the best team of the 1970’s though in fact it was the rambunctious, rebellious Oakland A’s – the antithesis of the buttoned-up Cincinnati Reds – that won three World Series in a row (’72, ’73, ’74), including defeating the Big Red Machine in ’72.

Greatest Teams: The most dominant powerhouses in sports, by Tim Crothers, published by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 1998
Associated Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 4, 1969.

June 11-Vander Meer out-hits Boston

*1938 | CINCINNATI, OHIOCincinnati Red Legs pitcher Johnny Vander Meer got more hits than the entire Boston **Bees (today’s Atlanta Braves) team on this date in baseball history – one. Vander Meer no-hit the Braves 3-0 in the first of his two consecutive no-hitters.

There are records in baseball many believe will never be broken; Joe DiMaggio‘s 56 game hitting streak, Cy Young‘s 511 career wins, Don Larsen‘s World Series perfect game (it may be tied, but broken? Unlikely). What about this one? What are the odds someone will throw THREE no-hitters in a row? It’s highly unlikely the record will ever be tied.

Vander Meer walked three and struck out four in his first no-hitter. He was down right wild in the second consecutive no-hitter, walking eight and striking out seven. Vander Meer created some drama in the 9th by walking the bases loaded before inducing the Dodgers’ Leo Durocher to fly out to center.

June 11, 1938 Cincinnati/Boston box score/stats
June 15, 1938 Cincinnati/Brooklyn 2nd no-hitter box score/stats
The Image of Their Greatness, by Lawrence Ritter & Donald Honig, 1979
Consecutive no-hitters

**The Boston Braves were known as the “Bees” for 5 seasons from 1936 to 1940.