September 30, 1869: Hall of Fame shortstop George Wright slugs four home runs and collects ten hits as the Cincinnati Reds Stockings defeated the Pacifics of San Francisco, 54-5.
September 30, 1894: The Reds blow the biggest lead in major league history in a tie-game that was called because of darkness with the score of 16-16. In the last game of the season, the home team 10th place (of 12 teams) Reds were leading the Cleveland Spiders, 16-1, before the Spiders scored 15 unanswered runs. According to “Redleg Journal” (by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder), this is the longest lead of a game for a team that did not win. The 1911 Chicago White Sox and the 1925 Cleveland Indians both lost games in which they were leading by 12 runs.
September 30, 1964: The Reds fall out of first place after losing their second consecutive game, this time 1-0, in 16 innings to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals moved into first place as they handed the fading Philadelphia Phillies their tenth consecutive loss, 8-5.
The Reds were now one game out first with three games remaining to play. The Phillies were two 1/2 games out with two games left while the first place Cardinals had three games remaining. The Phillies’ two games were with the Reds; the Reds had one game left with the Pirates and then the two with the Phillies; and the Cardinals had three games left with the last place New York Mets. The fourth place San Francisco Giants were still in the race, too; they were 3 1/2 games out of first place with four games remaining, one game with the Houston Astros and three games with the Chicago Cubs.
The extra inning affair between the Reds and Pirates was a classic pitcher’s duel. The Pirates had their fire-balling ace Bob Veale on the mound while the Reds countered with young fireballing Jim Maloney. In this game, Veale hurled 12 1/3 shutout innings, allowing seven hits and walking eight, while striking out 16 Reds. Maloney hurled 11 shut out innings, allowing three hits, walking two, and striking out 13. In all, the Pirates allowed nine hits in 16 innings while striking out 17 Reds; the Reds allowed five hits while striking out 19 Pirates.
The only run of the game came in the top of the 16th inning when Pirate catcher Jerry May bunted home Donn Clendenon on a suicide squeeze bunt. Clendenon had led off the 16th with a double off Reds reliever John Tsitouris. Bill Mazeroski sacrificed him to third base before May bunted the ball down the first base line, reaching on the single as Clendenon scored. Pirates reliever Al McBean retired the Reds in order in the 16th to secure the victory.
The Reds had their opportunities; they left 18 runners on base during the game, with 13 of them coming from the sixth through 14th innings. Ten of those 13 runners were in scoring position as the innings ended, five of them on third base, and three times with the bases loaded. Deron Johnson struck out five times in the game and Don Pavletich struck out four times for the Reds. Chico Ruiz had four singles for Cincinnati.
September 30, 1985: Reds pitcher Mario Soto strikes out 14 Giants in seven innings, but the Reds lose, 4-3.
Soto was removed for a pinch hitter in the top of the eighth inning when the Reds took a 3-2 lead on a Buddy Bell sacrifice fly. However, Reds closer Ted Power gave up run scoring singles in the eighth and ninth innings and the Giants pulled out the victory.
1985 Reds finished the season in second place with an 89-72 record, 5 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 1985 Reds were led by a tremendous year from Cincinnati native Dave Parker. Parker was signed as a free agent in December, 1983, and had a good season in 1984, batting .285 with 16 homers and 94 rbi. He followed that up with an MVP-type season in 1985, batting .312 with 34 home runs, and league leading totals of 125 rbi and 42 doubles. He had a .365 OBP, a .551 SLP, and a .916 OPS (149 OPS+). He finished second in MVP voting to the Cardinals’ Willie McGee. Parker finished fifth in MVP voting in 1986 when he batted .273 with 31 homers and 116 rbi. Parker played four years with the Reds, batting .281 with 107 home runs (116 OPS+) through ages 33-36.
Soto finished the season 12-15 with a 3.58 ERA, striking out 214 batters in 256 innings. Four times Soto finished in the top ten in Cy Young balloting (1980, then 1982-84). Superficially, his best season was 1984, when he was 18-7 with a 3.53 ERA (107 ERA+), but 1982 (14-13, 2.79 ERA, 274 K’s) and 1983 (17-13, 2.70 ERA, 242 K’s) may have been even better seasons playing for poor teams. Rookie Tom Browning was 20-9 with a 3.55 ERA and four shutouts. Power (8-6, 27 saves, 2.70 ERA, 141 ERA+) and John Franco (12-3, 12 saves, 2.18 ERA, 174 ERA+) had super seasons out of the bullpen for the Reds.