August 4: Another day where a few short stories may best serve the day. Apparently, August 4 hasn’t been a good day for those with bad tempers in Cincinnati. These stories are pretty much taken from “Redleg Journal” by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder:
1960: “Billy Martin punches Cubs pitcher Jim Brewer in the face during a brawl at Wrigley Field. Brewer suffered a fracture of the orbit bone around the right eye. Brewer touched off the incident with a high inside pitch that caused Martin to hit the dirt. Martin swung at the next pitch, but the bat slipped out of his hands and sailed toward the mound, landing about 15 feet from Brewer. Martin walked out to retrieve the bat, and after an exchange of words, the pair begun swinging at each other. The Cubs won the game, 5-3.
On August 5, Martin was fined $500 and suspended five days by National League President Warren Giles. Two weeks later, Brewer and the Cubs hit Martin with a $1,040,000 damage suit, inspiring Martin’s classic response: ‘How do they want it? Cash or check?’ the claim was settled out of court six years later, with Martin paying an amount reported to be between $10,000 and $25,000.”
Another quote attributed to Martin about the incident is found at baseball-reference.com’s bullpen section: “How can they ever collect it? I haven’t got that kind of money.”
Martin had been acquired in the offseason from the Cleveland Indians to man second base for the Reds. The fight with Brewer was his second major brawl of the season, having been involved in a serious fight on May 15 with Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Larry Conley. Martin only played one season for the Reds, batting .246 in 103 games after having played seven seasons for the New York Yankees, the team he would later manage several times (and be fired several times).
For the August 4th game, an Ernie Banks home run had staked the Cubs to a 3-2 lead after six innings, but the Reds tied it in the top of the seventh when super pinch hitter Jerry Lynch singled home Gordy Coleman to tie the game. The Cubs scored what proved to be the winning run in the bottom of the seventh when Sammy Taylor singled off with one out off Reds pitcher Cal McLish and pinch hitter Don Zimmer followed with a double, Taylor stopping at third. Reliever Bill Henry entered the game to face Bob Will, who singled to left scoring two runs to finalize the scoring.
1962: Manager Fred Hutchinson is one of Cincinnati history’s most beloved figures. The manager of the 1961 Reds World Series team, Hutchinson died of cancer right after the season in 1964 at age 45. Major League baseball began granting “The Hutch Award” to the “player who best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire to win.” Past Reds winners include Pete Rose in 1968, Bobby Tolan in 1972, Gary Nolan in 1975, Johnny Bench in 1981, Ron Oester in 1988, and Sean Casey in 1999.
However, as beloved as Hutchinson was, he was known to have a temper. The Reds had won the National League pennant in 1961, but during the 1962 expansion season they had spent most of the season fighting their way up from the middle of the pack. A nine-game winning streak had propelled the Reds to third place, 8 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers through the games of August 3. The Reds were to begin a weekend series against the expansion club New York Mets, who ented the game with a 26-78 record. The Reds proceeded to get swept in a doubleheader by the Mets on Saturday and split a Sunday doubleheader with the Mets, dropping the Reds 10 games off the pace.
From “Redleg Journal”:
Fred Hutchinson loses his temper after a double header loss to the lowly Mets, 9-1 and 3-2 in 14 innings at the Polo Grounds in New York. After the end of the second game, Hutchinson sat alone in the dugout and phoned the clubhouse to inform his players he wanted them to leave the ball park within 15 minutes. The Reds dressed in record time. Hutchinson had tickets to the Broadway Play A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum that evening, but didn’t use them having lost his sense of humor during the losing afternoon at the Polo Grounds.
Johnny Klippstein was the first game starter for the Reds and didn’t make it out of the first inning, giving up six runs on four hits (including two homers), two walks, and an error by Klippstein himself. In the second game, the Reds left 12 runners on base in the extra inning loss to the Mets. Frank Thomas hit a walk-off home run to lead off the bottom of the 14th off Reds reliever Moe Drabowsky to win the game for the Mets. The Reds had a chance to win the game in regulation time, but they couldn’t score in the top of the ninth despite loading the bases with one out. This was Drabowsky’s last game as a Red as he was sold to the Kansas City Athletics nine days later. The Athletics were next to last in the American League at the time of the deal. The Reds started another nine game winning streak the next day and posted the National League’s best record the rest of the way, but it was too late as they finished in third place, three games behind the Dodgers.
1897: The 1897 Reds were managed by Hall of Famer Buck Ewing and posted winning records in each of Ewing’s five seasons as managers, finishing as high as third in both 1896 and 1898. They were contending for the league title in 1897 an entered an August 4 doubleheader in third place, four games behind the league-leading Boston Beaneaters.
Once again, from “Redleg Journal”:
“Umpire Tim Hurst recklessly throws a beer glass into the stands during a double-header against Louisville at League Park, striking Cincinnati fireman John Cartuyvelles above the eye. Cartuyvelles suffered a cut which required four stitches. The glass was thrown in Hurst’s direction by another fan in response to a call the umpire made in favor of the opposition. Hurst was arrested, and released on $300 bail. The Reds won the first game, 14-3. The nightcap ended in darkness after six innings with the score tied, 4-4.
Hurst was suspended by the National League after the incident. He was ultimately fired in 1909 for spitting at Philadelphia’s Eddie Collins. Appropriately, the combative Hurst turned to boxing and became a ring referee.
Irony to the story: August 4 (albeit 1909) was also the day that Hurst spit on Collins, as well as the day he was arrested for throwing the beer bottle. According to baseball-reference.com he was banished from baseball two weeks later.
As for the Reds, they soon lost nine games in a row, and finished the season in fourth place, 17 games behind. Their best hitter of the season was Hall of Famer Jake Beckley who batted .345 with 76 rbi. The team had two 20-game winning pitchers, Ted Breitenstein (23-12, 3.62 ERA), Billy Rhines (21-15, 4.08 ERA), while Frank Dwyer went 18-13 with a 3.78 ERA.