August 9: Two franchise-changing events happened on this day, albeit going back early in the 20th Century. Some information is based on legend….

1902: Reds owner John Brush (simultaneously in ownership groups with the New York Giants and American League Baltimore Orioles) agrees to sell his ownership rights in the Reds to a group that includes August “Garry” Herrmann, George Cox, and Cincinnati mayor Julius Fleischmann.

If only the story was that simple….from “Redleg Journal” by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder:

Cox headed the city’s political organization, which was recognized as one of the most corrupt in the nation. According to Lee Allen’s 1948 history of the Reds, Brush agreed to sell only after Cox threatened that the city would extend Hulbert Avenue right through the center of the Reds ballpark. While believable in the context of the heavy-handed machine politics of the period, Allen provides no sources for the allegation, and there is no concrete evidence that he threat was made. The National Baseball Hall of Fame Library holds letters written by Brush and Herrmann negotiating the sale of the Reds, and the correspondence was cordial and businesslike…..Three days after selling the Reds, Brush became owner of the New York Giants.”

Sources I’ve read say that Brush had some ownership in the New York Giants as far back as 1890. You may recall that Brush is who traded Christy Mathewson from the Reds to the Giants then took over the Giants.

1918: The Reds suspend star first baseman Hal Chase for “indifferent play” after manager Christy Mathewson begins suspecting that Chase was up to his previous reputation of throwing baseball games.

Chase is sometimes remembered as “the prince of darkness” for his alleged roles in throwing games for several different teams in different leagues. A fabulously talented baseball player, he was known to be the best fielding first baseman of his time when “small ball” ruled and bunts and squib hits were the rule of the day. He also won a batting title playing for the Reds in 1916 when he batted .339.

Mathewson suspected him of throwing games and he was later proved to be right. Chase is also linked to the 1919 Black Sox scandal and some believe that some Reds may have been involved or, at least pursued, in the same series. To read more about Chase, click here.