August 31, 1904 From baseball-reference.com:
In a rowdy 3 – 2, 11-inning Giants win in Cincinnati, the high point comes in the 6th when New York catcher Frank Bowerman slugs a fan, a music teacher named Albert Hartzell, who has been heckling him. Police escort the catcher from the field. Bowerman will be released from custody tomorrow when the fan drops the charges. The Giants win the second game as well, 4 – 1, in seven innings, with the game shortened to allow the Giants to catch a train for New York. The Giants leave Cincinnati with a 15-game lead over Chicago in the National League.
“Redleg Journal” (by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder) adds a little more: Hartzell, the music teacher, was a Northside resident who taught in the Cincinnati Public School system. Vice Mayor Harry Gordon ordered Bowerman’s arrest after the blow caused Hartzell to receive a cut in the jaw. Bowerman went on to play 15 major league seasons.
The doubleheader loss dropped the third place Reds into fourth place behind the Giants, Cubs, and Pirates. The Reds would rebound to pass the Pirates and finish in third place with an 88-65 record, 17 1/2 games out of first place. The 1904 Reds were a balanced team, finishing third in the league in earned run average at 2.34 and second in offense, averaging 4.41 runs per game.
The Reds used a five man rotation in 1904. Noodles Hahn was the staff ace despite suffering a “hard luck” season; he finished 16-18 with a 2.06 ERA. It was Hahn’s last effective major league season due to injuries (career: 130-94, 2.55 ERA). Teammate Jack Harper, who had jumped from the American League’s St.Louis Browns the previous season, had his best year going 23-9 with a 2.30 ERA. Rookie Tom Walker only played two full major league seasons, but this was his best one (15-8, 2.24 ERA). Win Kellum (15-10, 2.60 ERA) had the best season of his three year career. Bob Ewing (career, 124-118, 2.49) was 11-13 with a 2.46 ERA. As far as hitters go, the Reds were led by outfielder Cy Seymour (.313, 5 HR, 58 RBI, 134 OPS+). The next year was Seymour’s near Triple Crown season (.377, 8 hr, 121, rbi, 69 XBH, 191 OPS+).
August 31, 1974: The Reds pull within 2 1/2 games of the first place Los Angeles Dodgers with a 10-3 victory over the Montreal Expos in Cincinnati. Reds Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench drives in seven runs with a grand slam home run and a bases clearing double.
The defending National League champions were only in first place for the first three days of the season. They trailed by as many as 10 1/2 games in mid-July, and narrowed the gap to as little as 1 1/2 games on September 14, but that was as close as they would come. The Reds finished the season 98-64.
On this day, the Reds scored the first five runs of the game off Expos starter Steve Renko. The biggest early blow came when Bench doubled to center field with the bases load, giving the Reds a 5-0 lead. Bench was out at third trying to stretch the hit into a triple. The Reds put the game away in the sixth when Expos reliever Dale Murray walked the bases loaded, then retired two batters, and then walked Cesar Geronimo to force in a run. Don Carrithers replaced Murray on the mound and Bench slugged a grand slam home run to give the Reds an insurmountable 10-2 lead.
Bench finished fourth in MVP balloting in 1974, batting .280 with 33 homers and 129 rbi. He led the majors with 315 total bases.
August 31, 2001: Thirteen year minor league veteran Robin Jennings breaks loose for a day and drives in seven runs with a grand slam home run and a bases-loaded triple to lead the Reds to a 11-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The 2001 Reds did not have a good season. Manager Bob Boone used 50 position players and 25 pitchers trying to find the right combination for a team that finished the season 66-96. The 75 players used was tied for the third most players used in Reds history (2003 used 87, 2006 used 83). The .407 won-loss percentage was the Reds’ worst mark in over 50 years (62-92, .403, in 1949).
The down season gave a number of players a chance to gain some major league experience and Jennings was one of them. Jennings was the only major league player to come from Singapore. For the Reds in 2001, he appeared in 27 games, made 82 plate appearances, and batted .286 with three home runs and 14 rbi (career, 93 games, .244, 3 hr, 24 rbi). Jennings played 1271 games in the minors, from 1992 through 2007) and batted .283 with 147 home runs and 720 rbi.
However, on August 31, 2001, Jennings had a huge day with the Reds. The Pirates had an early 3-0 lead when the Reds loaded the bases off Pirates starter Todd Ritchie with two outs in the bottom of the third inning. Jennings tripled to center field to clear the bases and scored on the next play when Pirate left fielder Brian Giles misplayed Todd Walker’s line drive.
The Reds added seven more in the fourth when Dmitri Young started off the inning with a single. One-out later, Sean Casey doubled with Young stopping at third base. Rookie Adam Dunn was then intentionally walked to load the bases. Damaso Marte relieved Ritchie on the mound and Jennings hit Marte’s seventh pitch (on a 2-2 count) into the stands for a grand slam home run. The Reds added three more later in the inning on a Pokey Reese three-run homer to give the Reds their 11-3 lead and final margin.
The 2001 Reds were beset by injuries. Casey led the team with 145 games played (of 162) and Young played 142. Reese was the only other Red to play more than 121 games. Elmer Dessens (10-14, 4.48 ERA) and Chris Reitsma (7-15, 5.29 ERA) were the only Reds pitchers with more than 20 starts on the season as 13 different pitchers started games for the Reds in 2001. The Reds finished fifth in the six team National League Central Division.