July 18, 1950: Virgil Stallcup’s home run is one of only two Reds hits, but proves to be enough in a Reds 1-0 win over the New York Giants at Cincinnati’s Crosley Field.
Stallcup’s home run came in the third inning off Giants pitcher Monte Kennedy. Ted Kluszewski had the other Reds hit, a single. Reds pitcher Howie Fox went the distance to get the win. He allowed seven hits and walked three. For the season, Fox finished the year 11-8 with a 4.33 ERA. He had been a hardluck hurler in 1949, finishing that season with a 6-19 record with a 3.98 ERA which translated to a 105 ERA+.
“Redleg Journal” (by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder) remarks that Reds second baseman Connie Ryan also pulled off the hidden ball trick during this game following a sacifice bunt. According to the bullpen section of baseball-reference.com, Ryan also was once “tossed from a game for coming to bat while wearing a rain coat. He did it to protest to the umpires for not stopping the game because of a heavy rain.” I don’t know if this happend while with the Reds, but found it remarkable enough to mention.
Stallcup was the Reds starting shortstop for four seasons and played parts of two other seasons for the Reds. He hit .243 with nine homers during his time with the Reds. To say that Stallcup was a free swinger would be more than kind. He only drew 51 walks in his entire career, covering 2181 plate appearances. In 1949, he only drew nine walks the entire year in 589 plate appearances. His nine walks in more than 500 plate appearances is the lowest total in the National League in modern baseball history. “Redleg Journal” reports that he was considered a “can’t miss” prospect when he joined the Reds who had drafted him from the Boston Red Sox in the Rule 5 draft. Prior to being drafted by the Reds, he had spent three years in the Navy during World War II which delayed his major league debut season until age 25. He bridged the gap of all-star shortstops for the Reds between Eddie Miller and Roy McMillan.
The Reds finsihed the 1950 season in sixth place of eight teams with a 66-87 record, 24 1/2 games behind the pennant winning Philadelphia Phillies.