October 4, 1902: The Pittsburgh Pirates set a new major league record with 103 wins as they defeat a disinterested Cincinnati Reds team, 11-2, in Pittsburgh. Rain had dampened the grounds in Pittsburgh and the Reds did not want to play, but the Pirates insisted on playing the game to have a chance at playing the record. The Reds played many players out of position in protest of playing the game.
Pitchers were first baseman Jake Beckley and star outfielders Mike Donlin and Cy Seymour. Seymour and player-manager Joe Kelley were reported to have been smoking cigarettes in the game. The catcher was pitcher Rube Vickers who set a modern major league record (still standing) of six passed balls in one game.
October 4, 1919 Jimmy Ring fires a three-hitter as the Reds take a 3-1 World Series lead over the Chicago White Sox with a 2-0 victory.
Both Reds runs came in the fifth inning when they took advantage of two errors by White Sox starting pitcher Eddie Cicotte. With one out, Reds outfielder Pat Duncan reached second base when Cicotte threw wildly to first base after fielding Duncan’s ground ball. Larry Kopf then singled to left to score Duncan and was safe at second base when Cicotte dropped a throw at second base as Kopf was trying to stretch the single into a double. Greasy Neale then doubled to left field to score Kopf and provide the last run of the game.
Ring walked three and struck out three, while Cicotte allowed five hits and walked no one.
October 4, 1939: The New York Yankees score the winning run with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the first game of the World Series, 2-1, vs. the Reds in New York.
The Reds scored the first run of the game in the fourth inning off Yankees starter Red Ruffing. With two outs, Ival Goodman drew a walk and then stole second base. Frank McCormick then singled him home. The Yankees tied it in the fifth off Reds starter Paul Derringer when Babe Dahlgren doubled home Joe Gordon to tie the score, 1-1.
The Yankees won it in the ninth when Charlie Keller launched a one-out triple on liner in the right centerfield gap that Goodman nearly chased down. The Reds intentionally walked Joe DiMaggio, but catcher Bill Dickey singled to center to score Keller to win the game. After the game, Derringer and Goodman nearly came to blows in the Reds clubhouse over Goodman not catching Keller’s line drive.
October 4, 1940: The Detroit Tigers take a 2 games to 1 lead over the Reds when they reach Reds starting pitcher Jim Turner for two two-run homers in the seventh inning and then hold on to win, 7-4.
The Reds scored first in the top of the first inning when Ival Goodman singled home Billy Werber, who had opened the game with a double. The Tigers tied it in the fourth when they scored a run on double play ball. The Tigers broke the game open in the fifth inning when Rudy York and Pinky Higgins both homered following singles to open the inning and chase Turner.
The Reds got one run back in the eighth on a single by Mike McCormick, but the Tigers answered with two more runs in the bottom of the eighth when Hank Greenberg tripled, and one out later, Bruce Campbell singled him home. Higgins then doubled, scoring Campbell. The inning ended on a double play on a ground ball to shortstop. First baseman Frank McCormick threw out Higgins at home who was attempting to score from second base on a grounder to shortstop. The Reds scored twice more in the ninth on singles by Eddie Joost and Werber.
October 4, 1961: Whitey Ford tosses a two-hitter and Bill Skowron and Elston Howard blast solo home runs as the New York Yankees take a one game to none lead over the Cincinnati Reds with a 2-0 victory in New York.
Ford allowed only two singles and walked one in going the distance. Reds pitcher Jim O’Toole allowed only six hits in the losing effort.
October 4, 1964: With the pennant in the balance, the Reds lose 10-0 to the Philadelphia Phillies in Cincinnati on the last day of the season. Instead of first place, the Reds finish tied for second with the Phillies, one game behind the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Reds used seven pitchers in the game, seemingly everyone except for their two best starting pitchers, Jim O’Toole (17-7, 2.66) and Jim Maloney (15-10, 2.71). O’Toole had pitched 7 1/3 innings two days before, and Maloney had pitched 11 innings just three days before (striking out 13). The Reds started John Tsitouris, but the Phillies reached him for three runs in the top of the third inning. Tony Gonzalez drew a one-out walk, and Richie Allen doubled him to third base. Johnny Callison was intentionally walked before Wes Covington singled to center to score Gonzalez and Allen. Joe Nuxhall relieved Tsitouris and struck out pinch hitter Vic Power before Tony Taylor singled to center field to score Callison and give the Phillies a 3-0 lead. Richie Allen homered off Billy McCool to lead off the fifth inning to make it 4-0. After two more Phillies reached base one out later, manager Dick Sisler (acting manager in place of the ailing Fred Hutchinson) brought on Joey Jay to induce a double play and end the inning.
That’s when the wheels fell off the wagon.
Ahead 4-0 entering the sixth, Phillies catcher Clay Dalrymple led off with a single to center and Bobby Wine singled to left, with Dalrymple stopping at second base. Pitcher Jim Bunning then singled on his bunt attempt to load the bases. Sisler had been using a short hook up to this point, but stayed with Jay, who gave up a two-run single to Gonzalez making the score 6-0. Rookie of the Year followed with a three-run home run, clearing the bases, and making the score 9-0. Bill Henry then relieved Jay after five runs had scored in the inning with no one out. The Phillies added one more insurance run off Bob Purkey in the seventh on a Wine sacrifice fly.
Meanwhile, winning pitcher Bunning (19-8) was cruising. Only two Reds made it as far as second base on the day as he allowed six hits and walked one. The Cardinals won the pennant and went on to defeat the New York Yankees in the World Series in seven games. The Reds, who had won nine games in a row to move into first place, lost four of their last five games to finish in a tie for second.
October 4, 1970: The Reds take a 2-0 lead in the League Championship Series following a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Bobby Tolan scored all three runs in the game for the day, going 3-4 with a home run and a stolen base. He scored first in the third inning when he singled, stole second, and then went to third on a throwing error by Pirate catcher Manny Sanguillen. He then scored the first run of the game on a wild pitch by Luke Walker. He homered off Walker in the fifth to give the Reds a 2-0 lead, and he scored an insurance run in the eighth when he singled and scored on a Tony Perez double. From the mound, Jim Merritt, Clay Carroll, and Don Gullett combined on a five hitter. The 19-year-old Gullett pitched 3 1/3 innings of no-hit baseball, walking two and striking out three.
October 4, 1975: Don Gullett goes 2-4 with a home run and three rbi while pitching a complete game victory as the Reds win the first game of the 1975 League Championship Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Gullett drove home the Reds first run with a second inning single, and the Reds took a 4-2 lead on a third inning Ken Griffey two run double. Gullett’s two-run fifth inning homer gave the Reds an 8-2 lead before settling for the final 8-3 margin. This was the only homer of Gullett’s career. However, he did have a .292 post season batting average in 28 plate appearances. He was a career .194 hitter in the regular season.
October 4, 1981: Mario Soto fires a one-hitter in the last game of the season as the Reds defeat the Atlanta Braves, 3-0. The only Braves hit was a lead off second inning single by Chris Chambliss.
Soto led the league in games started with 25 in 1981, his first full season as a Reds starter. He finished the strike shortened year with a 12-9 record with a 3.29 ERA. He was second in the league in complete games, third in strikeouts, third in innings pitched, fourth in shutouts, and led the league in home runs allowed in his first season as a fulltime starting pitcher at age 24.
In this game, Soto allowed the one hit, walked two, and struck out nine as the Reds improved their record to 66-42, the best record in baseball. But, there was no postseason for the Reds. With the mid-season labor impasse, Major League Baseball decided on split season format with the winners of the first and second halves of the season going to the postseason. The Reds finished second during each half of the season and did not qualify.
1981 was possibly Dave Concepcion’s best season as a major leaguer. Concepcion finished fourth in MVP voting after batting .306 with 67 rbi, and a .767 OPS (116 OPS+). Now batting third for the Reds, he was on pace for 100 rbi if the season had not been strike-shortened. George Foster had his last big season with the Reds, finishing third in MVP voting after hitting .295 with 22 homers and 90 rbi (150 OPS+). Tom Seaver had a spectacular year on the mound, going 14-2 with a 2.54 ERA, finishing second in Cy Young Award voting to Fernando Valenzuela by three points in the voting, 70-67. Valenzuela was 13-7 with a 2.48 ERA and eight shutouts his rookie season.
October 4, 1986: Tony Perez hits his 379th of his career in a 10-7 in over the San Diego Padres on the next to last day of the season. Perez went 2-4 with a single and home run. His fifth inning homer gave the Reds a temporary 5-4 lead in the game. Perez’s last game came the next day against the Padres when he went 0-3 with a walk. Perez finished his career batting .279 with the 379 home runs and 1652 rbi.
October 4, 1990: The Reds lose the first game of the 1990 League Championship Series, 4-3, to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Reds scored three times in the top of the first inning to take an initial lead, but the Pirates battled back and scored the deciding run in the seventh inning on a ground rule double by Andy Van Slyke off reliever Norm Charlton.
October 4, 1995: The Reds survive 14 Dodger hits, including two home runs by Eric Karros, to win the second game of the League Division Series, 5-4, in Los Angeles. Reggie Sanders hit a two -run homer in the fourth inning to give the Reds a 2-1 lead, and Barry Larkin gave the the Reds an eighth-inning 3-2 lead with an rbi single. The Reds’ deciding run came on a ninth inning single by Mariano Duncan. Eric Karros’s second homer of the game came in the ninth inning to pull the Dodgers within one run at 5-4. The win gives the Reds a two games to none lead over the Dodgers.
October 4, 1999: The Reds playoff hopes are dashed as Al Leiter and the Mets defeat the Reds, 5-0, at Cinergy Field. Leiter held the Reds to two hits and four walks while the Mets were busy scoring two runs in the first, and one run in each of the third, fifth, and sixth innings. Reds pitchers Steve Parris (11-4, 3.50 ERA, 135 ERA+), Denny Neagle (9-5, 4.27 ERA), and Danny Graves (8-7, 3.08, 27 saves) walked eight batters in eight innings. The Reds finished the season with a 96-67 record, the most wins of any Reds team since the 1976 team won 102.