June 11, 1880: Reds first baseman John Reilly escapes serious injury in an accident while aboard the steamship Narragansett in Long Island Sound.

Reilly was left in Cincinnati at the beginning of the Reds eastern swing because of injury, and was on his way to Providence to rejoin the team. The Narragansett collided with another ship, the Stoneington, about 100 miles east of NYC opposite Madison, Connecticut in a dense fog just prior to midnight. After putting on a life preserver, Reilly jumped overboard before the Narragansett caught fire and burned to the water line. He was in th water for an hour wearing only his pants and an undershirt before being picked up by another ship, the City of New York. Over 30 of the roughly 300 passengers on the Narrangansett perished in the accident.

All “Reds trivia” posts come from Greg Rhodes and John Snyder’s fabulous book, “Redleg Journal” (see link for purchasing) and are used with Greg’s permission.

Thanks again to Greg Rhodes for permission to use his material.