November 5, 1870: The Cincinnati Red Stockings travel to Cleveland to win their last game of the 1870 season, a 27-16 victory over the Forest Citys.
The win gives the 1870 Red Stockings a final record of 67-6, giving them a two year record of 124-6-1 in their first two seasons as a professional team. The Red Stockings folded at the end of this season for they were not profitable and the club president A.P. Bonte is reported to have said “You can’t run the club on glory.”
As for standings among professional teams, “Redleg Journal” by Greg Rhodes and John Snyder put it this way:
Because there was no league and no set schedule, and thus no standings, the method for determining a national champion in the era of the Red Stockings was quite different than today. The system involved a sort of never-ending tournament that often failed to eliminate losers, leaving the final outcome always in doubt. In fact, the system was so rife with confusion and corruption, that the so-called “champion” was seldom accepted as such by the baseball community….the need for a better system…led to the creation of the first professional league in 1871…
Unfortunately for Cincinnati, the local baseball club decided to play as amateurs during this time and did not field a team in the National Association which existed from 1871-1875. Major League Baseball does not recognize the National Association as a major league when it comes to historical records. For 1870, the Red Stockings were 27-6-1 (.809 winning percentage) amongst other proclaimed “professional teams,” but the Chicago White Stockings (22-7-0, .759) were generally considered to have been the national champions.
Culver had been acquired by the Reds from the Cleveland Indians following the 1967 season along with 1B-PH Fred Whitfield and outfielder Bob Raudman for outfielder Tommy Harper. Culver, a reliever for the Indians, was placed into the Reds rotation and responded by going 11-16 with a 3.23 ERA (98 ERA+). Culver pitched his no-hitter in the second game of a double header on July 29th, defeating the Philadelphia Phillies, 6-1. Having walked five and struck out four in the game, the Phillies’ only run came in the second inning as a result of an error, an infield out, and a sacrifice fly. Culver was a swing man in 1969 and went 5-7 with a 4.26 ERA (1.668 WHIP and a 89 ERA+) before being dealt that winter.
Washburn had joined the Cardinals in 1961 and pitched for the Cardinals throughout the 1960’s, going 68-60 with a 3.34 ERA. He was 12-9 with a 4.10 ERA as a rookie in 1962 and then arm injuries slowed him over the next couple of years. He recovered well enough to post double digit wins from 1966-68 with 1968 being his best season when he went 14-8 with a 2.26 ERA (129 ERA+). His no-hitter came on September 18 when he no-hit the San Francisco Giants, 2-0, walking five and striking out eight. In 1969, Washburn was a swingman for the Cardinals, going 3-8 with a 3.06 ERA (117 ERA+).
Washburn only pitched one ineffective year for the Reds, going 4-4 with a 6.92 ERA. He made 35 appearances (3 starts), pitching 66 innings and allowing 90 hits and walking 48, a 2.080 WHIP before being released. Culver pitched five more seasons, going 25-21 with a 3.49 ERA (104 ERA+) in 203 appearances (seven starts). He pitched for four more teams during this time before being released.
A couple of trivial notes for Ray Washburn. Washburn had the distinction of thowing the first pitch ever at Busch Stadium II when the Cardinals defeated the Atlanta Braves. As a Red, he pitched in the first game ever at Riverfront Stadium, an 8-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves. Washburn’s last career appearance came in the fifth and final game of the 1970 World Series loss to the Baltimore Orioles.