August 6, 1890: Reds slugging first baseman John Reilly hits for the cycle for the third time in his career, setting a major league record, as the Cincinnati squad routes the Pittsburgh Alleghenies, 16-3.
The Reds had been re-admitted to the National League in 1890 after being dismissed from the league after the 1880 season for leasing the park to other entities and selling beer on Sundays. After missing the 1881 season, the Cincinnati Red Stockings had played in the American Association from 1882-89 before rejoining the National League. Reilly had played for the 1880 Cincinnati squad and only batted .206 with a slugging percentage of .265 (.479 OPS, 62 OPS+). Reilly sat out the 1881 season along with his banned baseball team and spent 1882 with a minor league team, but returned to play with the Red Stockings in 1883. The American Association was a rival major league in the 1880’s and not the predecessor of today’s American League.
The Red Stockings were a dominant force in the American Association, winning the league’s first title in 1882, and then finishing second twice, third once, and fourth twice in their eight years in the league. When Reilly rejoined the team in 1883 he immediately became one of the league’s best players. Reilly batted .311 with nine homers and 79 rbi and a .810 OPS (150 OPS+). He also hit for the cycle twice in 1883. Reilly led the AA in in home runs, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+, and total bases in both 1884 and 1888. In addition, he led the majors in triples in 1888 when he had more triples (26) than he did doubles (25) on the year, and he led the majors in rbi with 103 in 1888.
For his career, Reilly batted .289 with a .763 OPS (128 OPS+). He had 215 doubles, 139 triples, and 69 home runs. Reilly is 9th among Reds career scoring leaders, is third in career triples, holds the single season record for triples, is 9th in career OPS+, 10th in career steals, and his 1884 season set the Reds record for single season OPS+ (190) when he batted .339 with 11 homers, 19 triples, 91 rbi, and an OPS of .911. Essentially, this means Reilly’s 1884 season could be considered the best offensive season of any Reds player in Reds history.
One more note for August 6, 1896: Reds pitcher Frank Dwyer wins his 13th consecutive game, a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at home in Cincinnati. Dwyer’s win helped the Reds stay in first place with a slim one game over the National League Baltimore Orioles.
Dwyer had his best season in 1896, going 24-11 with a 3.15 ERA (147 ERA+ for perspective). He had 30 complete games. For Dwyer’s career, he finished 177-151 (133-100 with the Reds) with two different 20 game win seasons. As for 1896, the Reds couldn’t hold on to their lead. In first place through August 20, they proceeded to lose 11 straight games and finished the season 77-50 in third place, 12 games behind the Orioles.