August 10: A day of feast or famine in Reds history….

1889: The Cincinnati Red Stockings collect 26 hits in shellacking the Baltimore Orioles, 20-0, at home in Cincinnati. Hugh Nicol has five hits to lead the Red Stocking attack.

Nicol set the major league all-time single season steals record with 138 for the 1887 Cincinnati Red Stockings. Steals were counted differently then; they included “extra bases” taken on hits, such as going from first to third on another player’s single. Nicol stole 80 for the 1889 Red Stockings and had stolen 103 for the 1888 Red Stockings team. Nicol is fourth on the all-time Reds stolen base list with 345 in only 3 1/2 seasons with the team. Speed was Nicol’s game for his lifetime batting average was .235 (.234 with the Red Stockings). His OPS+ for the Red Stockings was 77.

Nicol was a little guy, 5’4″ and 145 pounds who felt he was the strongest 5’4″ guy in the country. You wouldn’t know this by his slugging percentage–with the Red Stockings his slugging percentage exceeded .270 only once. However, Nicol found a way to play on winning teams. He played with the National League Chicago White Stockings in 1881-82 and they won the pennant both years. He played with the American Association St. Louis Browns from 1883-86 and they won league pennants in 1885-86. In 1887, the Cincinnati Red Stockings placed second and they finished fourth in Nicol’s other three years with the team. Nicol could draw some walks. In 1887, when he stole 138 bases with a .215 batting average, he had 102 hits for the year and 86 walks.

The 1889 Red Stockings finished the season in fourth place with a 76-63 record, 18 games behind the Brooklyn Bridegrooms. The hitting star for the Red Stockings was a young 22 year-old outfielder, Bug Holliday, who led the American Association with 19 home runs in his rookie year. Holliday’s .321 batting average placed fifth as did his 104 rbi. Catcher Jim Keenan had his best year, batting .287 with a .395 OBP.

Leading the mound staff was a 29-year-old rookie, Jesse Duryea, who went 32-19 with a 2.56 ERA. He was third in the AA in wins, but success was fleeting for Duryea. For the remainder of his career he was 27-48, and that includes a 16-12 season with the National League Cincinnati Reds in 1890. Lee Viau had his second consecutive 20-game win season for the Red Stockings. After finishing his 1888 rookie season with a 27-14 record (2.65 ERA), he completed his sophomore season 22-20 with a 3.79 ERA. Viau’s success was also fleeting. Outside of those two seasons Viau’s career record was 34-43 in three additional major league seasons.

1930: On August 10, 1930, the last place Philadelphia Phillies take out their frustrations by sweeping a double header from the Cincinnati Reds by scores of 18-0 and 4-3.

In the 18-0 first game, Phillies pitcher Claude Willoughby hurled a five-hitter in winning the last game of his major league career. Willoughby allowed five hits and walked two in this game, but finished the season 4-17 with a 7.59 ERA. Despite the Reds’ futility in this game, on the season Willoughby allowed 241 hits in 153 innings pitched.

Meanwhile, the Reds started rookie Biff Wysong in his first major league game. It didn’t go so well as Wysong allowed six hits, three walks, and five runs in 2 1/3 innings. Wysong won only one major league game in three seasons, finishing his career 1-3 with a 7.18 ERA in 20 games and winning the last game he pitched in the majors. The Phillies knocked around all four pitchers the Reds used on this day, with Benny Frey allowing four runs in 1 2/3 innings, Larry Benton allowed six runs in four innings, and Jakie May allowed three runs in one inning. The Phillies racked up 21 hits in the game and scored the 18 runs without the benefit of a home run.

The Phillies won the nightcap, 4-3, as they took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth before holding off a late three-run rally by the Reds to preserve the win.

The Reds finished this season in seventh place out of eight teams with a 59-95 record. The Phillies finished eighth with a 52-102 record.