October 15, 1892: Bumpus Jones pulls off one of the most improbable events in baseball history and pitches a no-hitter in his first major league game. In the last Reds’ game of the 1892 sesaon, Jones defeats the Pittsburgh Pirates, 7-1. It’s one of the only two wins in Jones’s career and the first no-hitter thrown in Reds history. From “Redleg Journal” by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder:
Bumpus Jones pitching a no-hitter was as long a shot as picking a high school player out of the stands on Opening Day and seeing him hit a grand slam home run. Jones was a 22-year-old from Xenia, Ohio, who played in the low minors. He strolled into the Reds’ clubhouse the day before his no-hitter and asked for a chance to prove himself as a major league pitcher. He didn’t even ask to be paid for his services. Charlie Comiskey was so impressed with the brashness of the youngster that he decided to give him an opportunity. Jones’s phenomenal debut earned him a roster spot for the 1893 season and he started the opener. But he left with a strained shoulder after one inning (perhaps a casualty of the new pitching distance of 60 feet 6 inches). He pitched in only seven more big league games, finishing his career with just two victories. But half of his wins were no-hitters.
One study conducted by baseball analyst Bill James and published by ESPN Sweet Spot blogger Rob Neyer, shows that of all pitchers who’ve pitched a no-hitter, Jones was the least likely to accomplish the feat, but not by much. For Jones, the “expected” number of no-hitters for him, based on his career stats, is .0038. Bobo Holloman (3-7, 5.23 ERA in 1953) had an expected number of .0039. Jones made seven career starts and Holloman made 10. Another Red who threw a no-hitter, George Culver, is tenth on the list with an expected total of .031.
The 1892 Reds finished fifth of 12 teams with a 82-68 record, 20 games behind the first place Boston Beaneaters. The 1892 Reds sported two 20-game winners, Tony Mullane ( 21-13, 2.59 ERA, 126 ERA+) and Frank Dwyer (20-10, 2.31 ERA, 141 ERA+). Ice Box Chamberlin finished the year 19-23 with a 3.39 ERA. Outfielder Bug Holliday was the leading hitter at .294 with 13 homers, 114 runs scored, 91 rbi, 144 OPS+. Second baseman Bid McPhee batted .274 with 111 runs scored, 12 triples, 126 OPS+. Reds’ first baseman Comiskey batted only .227 with a 71 OPS+ in his first season as Reds’ player-manager.
October 15, 1899: On the last day of the season, the Reds sweep the Cleveland Spiders at home, 16-1 and 19-3. These were manager Buck Ewing’s last games with the Reds. The Reds finished in sixth place with an 83-67 record, 19 games behind league champion Brooklyn Superbas. As Reds manager, Ewing never had a losing season and was 394-297 in five years. The Spiders finish the year 20-134, playing 112 games on the road since the fans would not support them at home. This was the Spiders last season as a franchise.
Rookie Noodles Hahn was the hit of the 1899 Reds. 20-year-old Hahn went 23-8 with a 2.68 ERA, a 147 ERA+. Hahn led the league with 145 K’s, was fourth in ERA, and 2nd in WHIP. First baseman Jake Beckley was the hitting star, batting .333 with 99 rbi and a 132 OPS+.
October 15, 1929: After having the worst season since 1916, the Reds hire Dan Howley as their next manager and purchase two aging American League stars, outfielders Bob Meusel and Harry Heilman. Howley will become one of the least successful managers in Reds history, with all three of his Reds teams finishing with a .390 or lower win-loss percentage (overall record 177-285). Howley’s teams had win totals of 59, 58, and 60.
Future Hall of Famer Heilman will set a Reds home run record in 1930, his only season with the team. Heilman batted .333 with 19 homers, 91 rbi, 43 doubles, a .993 OPS, and an OPS+ of 142 and then retired. His Reds home run record would stand for nearly 20 years until Ival Goodman broke it in 1938 with 30. Meusel also retired after playing one season in Cincinnati, batting .289 with 30 doubles.
October 15, 1970: The Baltimore Orioles defeated the Cincinnati Reds, 9-3, in the fifth game of the World Series to win the World Series in five games.
The Reds opened with three runs in the top of the first inning on a run-scoring single by Johnny Bench and a two-run double by Hal McRae. The Orioles scored twice in the bottom of the first on a two-run homer by former Red Frank Robinson off Reds’ 20-game winner Jim Merritt. The Orioles took the lead for good in the bottom of the second inning when they plated two more runs on three singles and a walk off Merritt and Reds closer Wayne Granger. The Orioles scored twice more in the third, once in the fifth, and twice more in the eighth as the battered six Reds pitchers for 15 hits and five walks.
October 15, 1972: The Oakland A’s win their second consecutive game at Riverfront Stadium, 2-1, over the Reds and take a commanding two games to none lead in 1972 World Series.
The A’s opened the scoring in the second when winning pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter singled home a run and stretched the lead to 2-0 in the third inning when Joe Rudi homered off Reds starter and loser Ross Grimsley. The Reds didn’t score until the ninth inning when Tony Perez led off with a single to left field. Denis Menke then hit a sharp line drive that Rudi immortalized with a leaping backhanded catch against the wall in left field. One-out later, Hal McRae singled to drive in Perez, but Julian Javier popped up to end the game.
October 15, 1975: The Reds lose the fourth game of the 1975 World Series, 5-4, to the Boston Red Sox in Cincinnati. The Red Sox scored five times in the fourth inning to win the game and even the Series at two games apiece.
The Reds opened the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the first. Pete Rose singled to center to start the inning and scored when Ken Griffey doubled to centerfield, with Griffey cut down at third trying to stretch the play into a triple. Joe Morgan walked and, one-out later, Johnny Bench doubled to score Morgan.
The Red Sox erupted for five runs in the top of the fourth inning off Reds starter Fred Norman and reliever Pedro Borbon on six hits, including a Dwight Evans triple, a Rick Burleson double, a Reds fielding error, and a wild pitch. The Reds scored their final runs in the bottom of the fourth when George Foster scored on Dave Concepcion’s double and Concepcion scored on Cesar Geronimo’s triple.