January 22, 1921—Acquired LHP Eppa Rixey from Phillies for OF Greasy Neale and RHP Jimmy Ring; Neale later reacquired through waivers in 1922.

The Reds followed their World Championship year of 1919, with another good year, but found they had lost their entire starting rotation by the end of 1920. Hod Eller had blown out his arm and the NL outlawed the shine ball, Ray Fisher had left the majors to coach at Michigan, aging Slim Sallee was traded, and young Dutch Reuther was traded for aging Rube Marquard. Only Jimmy Ring was left, and there were some game fixing rumors about him, though none every proven. (Ring had reported known game fixer Hal Chase to manager Christy Mathewson). The Reds went and traded for lefty Rixey, who was coming off an 11-22 season with the Phillies, and had lost more than 20 games in two of the three previous seasons.

Rixey went on to become the Reds’ biggest modern age winner of all time. Despite joining the Reds at age 30, he pitched for 13 years for Cincinnati, compiling a won-loss record of 179-148 with a 3.33 ERA. He was elected to the MLB’s Hall of Fame one month before his death.

Rixey won 20 or more games three times for the Reds with his biggest season coming in 1922 when he went 25-13. Six times he finished in the top six in league ERA and six times in the top seven in league wins. He anchored possibly the best rotation in Reds’ history, pitching alongside Dolf Luque, Pete Donohue, and Rube Benton.

Ring was a good starter for six years for the Phillies, winning as many as 18 in 1923. Neale had been a starting outfielder for the 1919 Reds and testified against Chase when the Reds suspected Chase of trying to throw their games in 1918. Neale was later reacquired through waivers after appearing in only 22 games with the Phillies. Neale was later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

More trivia…Eppa Rixey’s page on baseball-reference.com is sponsored by Redleg Nation.