From…on this day in Reds history…

On September 4, 1971, one of the weirdest and most frightful moments in Reds history occurred when a ten pound sack of flour drops from an airplane flying over Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The bag explodes on the playing field about 15 feet from Reds shortstop Woody Woodward who was positioned in the field.

In 1988, Danny Jackson wins his 20th game of the year, holding the Cubs to six hits in a 17-0 victory. Jackson goes to complete a stellar 1988 season, going 23-8 with a 2.73 ERA and six shutouts. He was the last Red to win 20 or more games…it’s been 21 years.

In 1974, Astros pitcher Don Wilson made a bid to become the first pitcher to no-hit the Reds twice. Wilson held the Reds hitless through eight innings before manager Preston Gomez removed him for a pinch hitter in the eighth inning. Mike Cosgrove came in to pitch for the Astros, but Tony Perez broke up the no-hitter with a single and the Reds won 2-1. The Reds had scored two runs in the fifth following two walks byWilson, a sacrifice bunt, and then a two-run throwing error to shortstop following a ground ball. Wilson had previously no-hit the Reds in 1969, the day after the Reds’ Jim Maloney had no-hit the Astros.

Ironically, Gomez also had pinch hit for Clay Kirby while Kirby was pitching a no-hitter for the Padres in a Padres loss to the Mets in 1970. Kirby gave up a first inning run on two walks, three stolen bases (including a double steal) and a ground out. Kirby left the game trailing 1-0, and reliever Jack Baldschun gave up three hits and two runs in the ninth in the 3-0 loss. 1974 was Wilson’s last season; he died of carbon monoxide poisoning in an apparent suicide in January of 1975. Kirby also passed early in life; he died of heart attack at age 43 in 1991.

In 1926, a season unknown to most Reds fans, the Reds regained first place when Pete Donohue shut out the Cardinals, 5-0. The Reds spent 85 days in first place, the last one coming on September 16, before finishing second two games behind the Cardinals. The Reds finished the season third in run scored and second in runs allowed. Their downfall came to their road play. They went an amazing 53-23 at home, but only went 34-44 on the road. They also were an amazing 22-5 versus lefthanders, but went 65-62 versus right handers.

The Reds starting rotation featured 25-year-old Donohue (20-14), and three experienced veterans, 34-year-old Carl Mays (19-12), and two 35-year-olds, Dolf Luque (13-16) and Hall of Famer Eppa Rixey (14-8). The Reds also used two swing men, 30-year-old Jakie May (13-9) and young 24-year-old Red Lucas (8-5). Lucas served as a long man and PINCH HITTER; he pitched in 39 games (starting 11) and pinch hit in 27 more games, batting .303 with an .844 OPS (there’s a model for the Reds and Micah Owings to follow).

While I couldn’t find splits available for the offense, it’s odd they were so good against lefthanders (22-5) for the 1926 Reds’ best hitters all swung from the left side: 1b Wally Pipp, and outfielders Curt Walker, Hall of Famer Edd Roush, and Cuckoo Christensen. Two right handed hitters had outstanding seasons: catcher Bubbles Hargrave won the batting title with a .353 batting average and outfielder Rube Bressler batted .357 but did not play enough games to qualify for the batting title, despite having only 15 fewer plate appearances than Hargrave (365-350).