September 7, 1951: With the battle to avoid last place more boisterous than the battle for first, the Reds take 18 innings to beat the Chicago Cubs, 7-6, in Cincinnati.
The score was tied 3-3 after nine innings and both teams scored three times in the 15th. Cubs starter Bob Rush pitched into the 15th inning, going 14+ innings, allowing 10 hits, walking seven and striking out 10. The Reds won it in the bottom of 18th on a bases loaded sacrifice fly by catcher Dixie Howell. Dixie Howell played parts of four seasons for the Reds and was from Louisville, Kentucky. Dixie’s given name was “Homer.” Homer Bailey’s given name is David. In this game, Reds centerfielder Lloyd Merriman ties a National League record with 12 putouts. Ted Kluszewski reaches base six times, with a home run, a single, and four walks.
The Reds also win in extra innings the next night, 4-3, when centerfielder Bob Usher homers off the left field foul pole to lead off the bottom of the 12th. Harry Perkowski and Howie Fox pitched eight scoreless innings in relief to secure the win.
When the series began, three teams were within a half game of last place, the Reds, the Cubs, and the Pittsburgh Pirates, while the Brooklyn Dodgers held a five game lead over the second place New York Giants. However, the Giants closed the year 17-5 to catch and pass the Dodgers as this was the year of “the shot heard round the world,” with Bobby Thomson’s pennant winning home run. The Reds played well to end the season, too, finished 11-8, and placed sixth in the league.
September 7, 1974: In one of the most courageous moments in Reds history, Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan refuses to leave the game despite having a sprained ankle and hits a tie-breaking two-run home run in the eighth inning as the Reds defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 7-5.
The Reds spotted the Dodgers a 5-0 lead before getting on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second inning when Dave Concepcion lined a three run homer off Dodger starter Andy Messersmith. The Reds tied it in the fifth inning when Johnny Bench led off with a home run and Concepcion singled home Dan Driessen.
The Reds threatened in the sixth inning off when Morgan drew a one-out walk from knuckleballer Charlie Hough. Hough threw the ball away on a pickoff play and Morgan advanced to second base and then stole third. Bench drew a walk, but Morgan was left stranded when Tony Perez grounded into a double play to end the inning. But, something apparently happened to Morgan on the basepaths.
From “Redleg Journal” by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder:
“The Reds overcome a 5-0 deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 7-5, before 50,014 fans at Riverfront Stadium. Joe Morgan broke the the 5-5 tie in the eighth inning with a courageous performance. He sprained his ankle in the sixth inning and was limping badly when he stepped to the plate against Mike Marshall in the eighth, with one runner on base. After swinging viciously at Marshall’s first offering, Morgan fell in a heap at home plate, his ankle unable to support him. Sparky Anderson wanted to pinch-hit for Morgan, but “Little Joe” insisted on batting. He hit Marshall’s next pitch over the right field wall for a two-run home run.”
This was Marshall’s Cy Young Award year. The reliever pitched in a record 106 games, covering a relief record of 208 innings, finished 81 games, saved 21, and compiled a record of 15-12 with a 2.42 ERA. I know this is Reds’ blog, but Marshall had some rather incredible years as a reliever for the Dodgers, Montreal Expos, and Minnesota Twins. He’s also featured as a rather eccentric figure in Jim Bouton’s book “Ball Four.” As for a much as Marshall pitched, he’s also now Dr. Mike Marshall and has a website discussing how to care for young pitching arms. For those so interested, it’s worth checking out.
As for the 1974 Reds, they had an outstanding year and won 98 games and finished 10 games ahead of the third place Atlanta Braves. Unfortunately for the Reds, the Dodgers had a better year and won 102 games to win the division and the league championship before losing to the Oakland Athletics in the World Series.
September 7, 1975: The 1975 Reds defeat the San Francisco Giants, 8-4, to clinch the National League Western Division title. The win gave the Reds a 20 1/2 game lead and the September 7 dates is the earliest date in National League history that a team has clinched a title. George Foster’s four hits and four rbi lead the way to this victory.
September 7, 1999: The 1999 Reds continue their home run bashing ways as they hit six of them in the second game of a doubleheader at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, in a 10-3 victory. The win salvaged a split as the Cubs had won the first game, 2-1.
Greg Vaughn has possibly his best game as a Red blasting three homers and driving in five runs. For the season, Vaughn finished third in the league with 45 home runs and was ninth with 118 rbi. He finished fourth in league MVP balloting. Aaron Boone hit two homers in the game and Mike Cameron hit one. The Reds tied the major league record for most homers in five consecutive games with 21; eventually they broke the National League record for ten consecutive games with 30 home runs.