July 30, 1936: Major League baseball Hall of Famer Kiki Cuyler collects eight straight singles for the Reds in a double header split with the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Reds evened their record at .500 (46-46) with a 5-0 shut out win in the first game over the Phillies. The Reds were having their best season since 1928, their last winning season. Manager Chuck Dressen, in his second year with the Reds, had inherited a team that finished 52-99 in 1934 and improved them to 68-85 in his first year at the Reds’ helm in 1935. They had been as much as three games over .500 as recently July 22nd, and had been in third place as recently as July 4th. However, the Reds severely faded in 1937, falling all the way back to last place at 56-98 costing Dressen his job.
In the first game, Cuyler grounded into a double play in his first at bat, then contributed three hits to a 15-hit Reds attack. The Reds scored once in the first and then four more in the sixth to account for their five runs. The Reds’ big blow came on Lew Rigg’s fourth home run of the year. Les Scarsella also had three hits in the game. Bill Hallahan pitched the shut out victory for the Reds, allowing eight hits and walking two.
Cuyler connected for five straight singles in the night cap to give him eight straight hits, raising his batting average to .338. He also scored twice and had two rbi, but it wasn’t enough as the Reds lost the game 5-4. The Phillies scored three times in the bottom of the first inning to erase a 1-0 Reds lead and then held on to win. The loss dropped the Reds to fifth place, 11 games behind the Chicago Cubs. The Reds finished the season in fifth at 74-80, 11 games behind the eventual champion New York Giants.
Cuyler batted .326 for the season, rebounding from a rough 1935 when he batted .258. 1936 would prove to be Cuyler’s 10th and last season as a .300 hitter. His career average was .321. Four times he had led the majors in stolen bases while with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cubs, with steal totals ranging from 35-43, but he stole only 16 with the Reds as he was now 37-years-old. The Reds had signed him as a free agent after the Cubs had released him during the 1935 season.
Ernie Lombardi had a big season for the Reds, batting .333 with 12 homers. He would win the MVP award in 1938 when he batted .342 to win the batting title and contributed 19 home runs. Scarsella batted .313 in his best major league season. Paul Derringer was 19-19 on the mound wiht a 4.02 ERA.