A Chronology of Cincinnati Reds Baseball Records…1880 to Present, is a complete history of every season and career record established by every player who has had the honor of wearing a Reds uniform.
Baseball first began in the National League in 1876, at a time when General Custer was fighting the Indians in the Battle of Little Bighorn a few states away. What would become our beloved national pastime was played before the invention of the radio, telephone, air travel, automobile, or the electric light bulb. The main means of travel was by rail and horse and buggy.
In 1876, there was a team representing Cincinnati but it was a very different franchise than the one that exists today.
Today’s franchise did not begin in the NL until 1880, which is where this book begins.
The purpose of this book is to present a new way of record keeping. Typical record books eliminate old records when new ones are created, preventing future generations of fans from ever learning about the records of the great players of the past. This book addresses this problem by including all records; there are no eliminations. Each new mark is simply added to existing chronology lists. In this way, no player or their records are ever forgotten, and the evolution of records is forever preserved.
Placing records in chronological order makes them easy to reference. Now, for the first time, readers may learn exactly how many records each player has established in batting, pitching, and fielding. Each chapter is concluded with a never-before-seen Record Holders List, which reveal the top record producer as well as those who hold even one record.
Another attraction that is brand new to this book is the newly developed individual player Record Profile. Each chapter ends with a profile of the team’s most dominant record producer. The profile lists every record in the exact order in which it was established, how long each lasted before being broken, and the name of the player who ultimately broke the record. Did you know that Pete Rose has 7 season batting records, and that 6 of them have never been broken? Did you know that he also owns 11 career batting records, and not one of them have ever been broken?
In addition to the new chronology lists and Record Profiles, the final chapter of this book provides another never-before-seen masterpiece called the individual players’ Claims to Fame Profile. In addition to including every record created by a player, this profile also includes every accomplishment that has deemed a player famous: players with 3000 hits, 500 home runs, 300 game wins; pitching perfect games and no-hitters, winning batting, pitching and fielding titles, and awards such as MVP, Gold Glove, Rookie of the Year, Triple Crown, Cy-Young, All-Star Team, and Hall of Fame. Did you know that Pete Rose has 180 claims to fame? This book lists each and every one of them.
Perhaps the best way of understanding the chronology lists is to present and explain the history of the season home run record as an example.
The above chronology list represents the complete history of the Reds’ season home run record. The very first home run champions were Jack Manning and Mike Mansell, who each hit 2 during the team’s first year of play.
Imagine winning a home run title with only 2 home runs! But this was the day of the dead ball, and it was a rarity when a player could hit a ball far enough to circle the bases. (Most fields did not even have fences.) The balls were so poorly handmade they often lost their covers, which created the phrase, “Knock the cover off the ball.” By 1883, however, balls were manufactured better and more home runs were produced. Charley Jones became the new home run champion in 1883, when he excited the Cincinnati fans by blasting 11 home runs. His record was tied by John Reilly in 1884. Four years later, Reilly would break his own record, thus becoming the first two-time home run champion.
Bug Holliday broke Reilly’s mark in 1889 with an unbelievable 19 home runs. This was truly a remarkable record as no one had ever hit as many. Holliday’s record was so great that it would last for 41 years before tied by Hall of Famer Harry Heilmann, who had the advantage of hitting the “live” ball of 1930. Baseball was no longer a game of scoring runs by moving the runner along by a bunt and scoring on a single. Fans were filling ballparks to see balls hit out of sight. New technology produced balls that were no longer made by hand and could travel great distances, which truly changed the game of baseball: The day of the sluggers had arrived. Because of the vast difference between the dead and live balls, Holliday’s record deserved the greater recognition.
Ival Goodman established a new home run record in 1938, when he reached an incredible number of 30 home runs.
His outstanding display of power produced a record that would last 10 years, before broken by slugging star Hand Sauer in 1948. Sauer’s record would stand for 5 years before the great Ted Kluszewski broke it in 1953. The new record was now 40, a far cry from the original 2 that was hit 73 years before. Kluszewski then broke his own record in 1954,exciting the fans 49 times.
Records were becoming more difficult to break now and Klu’s fabulous mark would stand the test of time for 23 years.
It was eventually broken by modern-day great George Foster. Foster reached the seats an amazing 52 times in 1977, and this record still stands today. This entire book consists of chronology lists such as this one. It is impossible to produce a record book more complete and easy to understand.
Chapter 10 of this book is a compilation of every record created by every player in Cincinnati history. Records are posted on a Composite Record Holders List. Now for the first time, we learn which players have established the most records during their careers. Everything you ever wanted to know about records is now at your fingertips.
Prior to 1866, baseball had been an amateur sport. But as interest in the game increased, the demand for skilled players led prominent citizens to covertly recruit them for pay from all sections of the country. What had started out to be purely a civic pastime developed into a professional one.
The Red Stockings (as they were known then) of 1868 had four paid players in their ranks, including Harry Wright, a veteran New York player. Wright had come to Cincinnati as a pro for the Union Cricket Club in 1866 at $1,200 per year.
When the Red Stockings decided to field an all-professional team in 1869, Aaron B. Champion, president of the team, selected Harry Wright as manager. Wright imported the best he could sign and so on April 17, 1869, Asa Brainard, a 25-year old insurance man from New York City, delivered the first pitch in the cause of professional baseball.
Before this remarkable season ended, the Red Stockings would win 65 games and lose none! They toured the country, covering 12,000 miles by rail, boat, and horse-drawn carriages to display their talents before more than 200,000 spectators. It is interesting to note that the total gate receipts were $29, 726.87, which was merely $1.39 more than their total expenditures. Indeed, it was a profitable year.
The success of the Red Stockings brought about the formation of other professional clubs and in 1871, baseball’s first major association was formed. Cincinnati was the baseball capital of the world. The team continued their winning streak in 1870 and did not lose their first game until they had secured 130 victories over two seasons. But the Red Stockings would soon learn that baseball fans could be notoriously fickle. The good burghers of Cincinnati did not take kindly to the team’s first defeat and interest began to wane. Before the season had ended, the team would lose five more games and the cheers had turned to jeers. The honeymoon was over for baseball’s first professional team.
As it turned out, the Red Stockings would never take the field again. A.P. Bonte, who had succeeded Champion as team president, issued a statement pointing to the enormous salary demands and other rising expenses which would make it impossible to resume operations in 1871.
Although the Red Stockings passed into baseball history after only two years of play, the interest they ignited became the foundation for the formation of the National Association of Professional Baseball Players in 1871. This league played for five years before the National League was formed in 1876.
A Cincinnati team was a charter member in 1876, but it was not the same franchise as today’s team. The original Cincinnati team played until 1879 and was replaced by today’s franchise in 1880. At this time the team was known as the Red Stockings, a name they kept until 1889. The team dropped out of the National League, not playing in 1881 because of a law which prevented the sale of beer on Sundays in the league. The club reemerged in the newly formed major league, The American Association, in 1882. In that year, Cincinnati would have their first pennant winner.
In 1890, the club rejoined the league as the Cincinnati Reds, a name they would keep until 1954, when they were briefly called the Cincinnati Redlegs. The name would be changed back to the Cincinnati Reds in 1960 and remains the same today.
The Reds would provide many years of exciting baseball, winning 10 pennants, 5 world championships, and participating in 12 divisional playoffs. Thirty-six players would make it into the Hall of Fame. Some of the more notable are Johnny Bench, Ernie Lombardi, Bid McPhee, Charlie Comiskey, Buck Ewing, Jake Beckley, Frank Robinson, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Christy Mathewson, Leo Durocher, Rogers Hornsby, and Tom Seaver.
During their marvelous 124-year history, the team would have 57 managers. Some of the greatest included Sparky Anderson, Bill McKechnie, Charlie Comiskey, Clark Griffith, Chisty Mathewson, Rogers Hornsby, Jimmy Dykes, Birdie Tebbetts, Tony Perez, Lou Piniella, John McNamara, Jack McKeon, and Pete Rose.
When it all began, Cincinnati was indeed the baseball capital of the world, and it remains one of the richest traditions in baseball to this day.