September 26, 1869: The Cincinnati Red Stockings open a 13-day stay in San Francisco with a 35-4 victory over the Eagles. The Red Stockings play five games against San Francisco teams during this time and win all five matches by an average score of 56-6. A little history of an 1869 road trip from “Redleg Journal” by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder:
September 14: “The Red Stockings depart for a month-long tour to California, via the newly opened transcontinental railroad. After nine days of hard travel that included trains, stage coaches, and steamers, the travelers arrived in San Francisco on September 23. Despite arriving at 11 in the evening, the club was met by some 2000 cheering spectators.”
September 26, 1897 Reds Hall of Fame first baseman Jake Beckley becomes the first Cincinnati Red to hit three home runs in a game in a 10-4 Reds win over the last place St. Louis Browns. The fourth place Reds, who finish the season 76-56, also won the second game of the doubleheader, 8-6, to complete the sweep of the Browns. The Browns finish the season 29-102, 63 1/2 games behind the Boston Beaneaters.
Despite a career batting average of .300, the New York Giants had released Beckley 17 games into the 1897 season when he started the season batting .250. With the Reds, the 29-year-old Beckley regenerated and he hit .345 with the Reds with an .894 OPS (128 OPS+). He led the Reds in triples (9), homers (7), rbi (76), and batting average (.345) despite only playing 97 games for the Reds. In eight seasons with the Reds, he hit three homers in a game, he hit three triples in a game, and he batted over .300 six different times. Beckley is # 41 on the all-time list for runs scored, # 33 for hits, # 4 for triples, and # 37 for RBI (all as of the end of the 2007 season–baseball-reference bullpen). To this day, Beckley still holds the major league records for putouts at first base (23,731) and career triple plays as a first baseman. Thirteen times he batted over .300, he scored 1600 runs and had 1575 career rbi.
Beckley was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee in 1971. He played 20 major league seasons, eight with Pittsburgh, seven with Cincinnati, and with three other teams. His best two seasons, based on OPS+, were his rookie and third seasons, but his best continual performance came while playing his eight seasons with the Reds. As a Red, Beckley hit .325 with 77 triples, 592 runs scored, 570 rbi, and an OPS+ of 128. Beckley’s career .325 average is third all-time for the Reds and the 77 triples are 10th all-time for the Reds. He is somehow not in the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.
Some Beckley stories taken from Total Baseball’s “Baseball: The Biographical Encyclopedia.”
“Beckley was both a crowd-pleaser and a smart baseball man. He developed a hidden ball trick that was all his own: he hid the ball under a corner of the base, and when the runner took a led, Beckley quickly reached under the base, grabbed the ball, and tagged the runner out. One day he reportedly lifted up the wrong corner of the bag, and Honus Wagner zipped down to second, laughing all the way….
Beckley did not have a good arm, and his inability to make accurate throws caused one of the strangest plays ever seen in baseball. With Beckley’s Cardinals (after his Reds days) playing Pittsburgh, Pirate Tommy Leach laid down a bunt along the first-base line and took off. In swooped Beckley, who fielded the ball smartly, spun, and threw in the general direction of pitcher Jack Taylor, who was covering first. The throw would have been perfect had Taylor been nine feet tall. Leach rounded first and headed for second while the ball bounded into foul territory. To redeem himself, Beckley chased the ball down and, when he saw Leach head for third under a full head of steam, charged for the plate. The crowd cheered as the two players raced home. As Leach slid feet first from one direction, Beckley made a headlong dive from the other. Leach was out and also suffered two broken ribs.”
September 26, 1912: The Reds rally from a 9-0 deficit entering the ninth inning to take a 10-9 lead only to lose 11-10 as the Chicago Cubs score twice in the bottom of the ninth to win the game.
From baseball-reference.com’s bullpen:
Trailing 9 – 0 going into the 9th inning at Chicago, the Reds stage a terrific comeback against Jimmy Lavender. Lavender gives up five runs and is lifted with the bases loaded. Reliever Fred Toney then walks three straight before Larry Cheney is brought in. The Reds then take an unlikely 10 – 9 lead as Cheney walks two straight. Reds pitcher Ralph Works catches the fever walking one Cub and hitting another. Reliever Rube Benton quickly relieves and follows suit, walking three batters in a row to give the Cubs the 11 – 10 decision.
The 1912 Reds finished the season 75-78, in fourth place, 29 games behind the pennant winning New York Giants. However, there were only three competitive teams at the time. While the Reds were fourth of eight teams (first division), the Giants won 103, the Pittsburgh Pirates won 93, and the Cubs won 91, then came the Reds with 75.
The Reds had little offense, finishing last in the league with 4.23 runs per game and an OPS+ of 87. The Reds best offensive player was outfielder Bob Bescher, who finished fifth in MVP voting for the year. Bescher, who still holds the Reds “modern” (post-1900) single season steal record with 81 in 1911, batted .281 with a .381 OBP and 67 steals. The Reds had three very good pitchers in Benton (18-20, 3.10, 109 ERA+), George Suggs (19-16, 2.94, 115 ERA+), and Art Fromme (16-18, 2.74, 123 ERA+). Works had been acquired in the minor league draft about ten days before this game, was 1-1 with the Reds with a 2.79 ERA in three games with the Reds.
While the first game of the doubleheader against the Cubs on this day was disappointing, it was much closer than the second game of the doubleheader that day. The Cubs won the second game 10-0.
In the first game, Riddle improved his record to 21-10, walking four and striking out one. In the second game, Vander Meer walked six and struck out eight in improving his record to 13-16. The game was scoreless until Gee Walker hit a two-out walk off home run to win the game for the Reds in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The Reds had taken sole possession of second place the day before when they had swept the Braves in another doubleheader, 3-0 and 4-1. The Reds went on to win 10 consecutive games during this stretch of the season. They finished in second place with an 87-67 record, but 18 games behind the first place St. Louis Cardinals. Reds outfielder Eric Tipton was the team’s best offensive player of the year, batting .288 with a .395 OBP a 137 OPS+.
September 26, 1961: The Cincinnati Reds overcome a 3-0 deficit by scoring in innings six through nine to beat the Chicago Cubs, 6-3, and clinch their first National League pennant since 1940.
Reds rookie catcher Johnny Edwards started the Reds on the comeback trail with a solo home run to start the sixth inning. National League MVP Frank Robinson tied the game with a two-run homer in the sixth and Jerry Lynch connected for a two-run shot in the seventh to give the Reds a 5-3 lead. Reliever Jim Brosnan singled in a ninth-inning insurance run to make it 6-3, but more importantly pitched three innings of one-hit shut out relief, striking out four to win his 10th game.
The 1961 Reds finished the season 93-61, but lost to the New York Yankees in the World Series in five games.
September 26, 1964: The Reds beat the New York Mets, 6-1, to move within 1/2 game of the first place Philadelphia Phillies. Outfielder Marty Keough drives in three of the runs as the Reds won their seventh straight game (of an eventual ten game winning streak). Pitchers John Tsitouris and Billy McCool combine to allow seven hits, walk three, and strike out 14 Mets as the Reds continue to chase the Phillies.
September 26, 1999: Pokey Reese smacks a three-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the Reds a 7-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Cinergy Field. The victory gave the Reds a one-game lead over the New York Mets in the wildcard race and placed them 1/2 game behind the Houston Astros for the National League Central Division race.
The Reds were up 4-1 through seven when the Cardinals scored once in the eighth on Mark McGwire’s 60th home run of the year. The Cardinals scored twice more in the ninth when Fernando Tatis homered off Reds closer Danny Graves to tie the game at 4-4. The score one more in the 12th on a double by Edgar Renteria off Scott Williamson to take a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the inning.
Eddie Taubensee singled with one out in the Reds half of the 12th, and Kerry Robinson was sent into the game to pinch run for him. Pinch hitter Brian Johnson walked and Jason LaRue was sent in to pinch run for him. A passed ball advanced the runners to second and third bases, before Reese homered to leftcenter field to win the game for the Reds.
1999 was Reese’s best major league season. He batted .285 with 10 homers, 38 steals, and won his first Gold Glove Award for fielding excellence. He played eight major league seasons, five for the Reds. With the Reds, he batted .250 (70 OPS+) while he batted .248 for his major league career.
The 1999 team finished 96-67 good for second place in the National League Central Division, 1 1/2 games behind the Houston Astros. They tied with the New York Mets for the wildcard spot, but lost to the Mets, 6-0, in a one-game playoff for the wild card slot.