November 6, 1869: The Cincinnati Red Stockings win their 57th and final “official” game of the 1869 season, 17-8, over the Mutuals of New York. Hall of Fame shortstop George Wright had six hits, including two home runs, and scored six runs to lead the Cincinnati squad to their 57th consecutive win.
The Mutuals did tie the score at 7-7 in the fifth inning, but the Red Stockings scored ten of the final eleven runs to seal the game.
The Red Stockings team batting average was .505 with a slugging percentage of .830. They outscored their opposition 2396-574. George Wright was the leading hitter, batting .633 with 49 home runs. Catcher Doug Allison batted .504, and second baseman Charlie Sweasy and rightfielder Cal McVey both batted .502. Sweasy was second on the team with 30 home runs. Asa Brainard was the club’s pitcher.
Sidney Weil resigns as president of the Reds because of financial difficulties and is replaced by Larry MacPhail. The Central Trust Company held Weil’s stock as collateral for loans, and when Weil was on the verge of bankruptcy, the banking concern took over the ball club. MacPhail was hired by the Central Trust, but the company had no interest in owning the ball club and directed MacPhail to run the Reds day-to-day operations and to find a local buyer for the team.
Bringing on MacPhail was a stroke of genius. The future Hall of Fame executive entered the baseball world at age 40 and had been working for Branch Rickey, the Hall of Fame St. Louis Cardinals executive. In his first off season with the Reds, MacPhail made seven trades and went about starting to build the Reds farm system. The Reds still finished last in 1934, but began moving up despite a last place misstep in 1937. By 1938 they were contenders and by 1939 they were in the World Series, winning the World Championship in 1940. MacPhail had left by 1936 with Warren Giles overseeing the fruits of MacPhail’s design.
MacPhail was an innovator. Under MacPhail, the Reds became the first team to offer season tickets to it’s fans and the first team to fly by plane on a roadtrip (it was from Cincinnati to Chicago). He built a six-team deep farm system that first offseason, painted Crosley Field, initiated the first night games in major league history (with United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt “hitting” the switch from the White House), and started the Reds radio network (another new baseball idea) with Hall of Fame Red Barber behind the microphone. He also recruited local businessman Powel Crosley to buy the team and Crosley owned the team until his death in 1961.
MacPhail’s time with the Reds came to an end in 1936. According to “The Ballclubs” by Donald Dewey and Nicolas Acocella:
For all his business foresight and association with Crosley, MacPhail was not quite a darling of the organization’s board of directors. He insisted on running the Reds by reinvesting profits in further promotions and renovations–denying dividends to stockholders while he himself sat on a hefty base salary and an attendance bonus. Whenever this strategy was challenged, MacPhail went into a temper tantrum, daring the board to do without him. In September, 1936, one such scene ended with the general manager punching out Crosley. It took only a few days for the club to announce that MacPhail had “resigned,” and was being replaced…
MacPhail later was president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and GM, President, and owner of the New York Yankees. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1978. His son, Lee MacPhail, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1998.
November 6, 1987: The Reds trade pitcher Ted Power and shortstop Kurt Stillwell to the Kansas City Royals for pitcher Danny Jackson and shortstop Angel Salazar. This was a major trade in Reds history as much for determining that Barry Larkin was the team’s shortstop of the future in addition to the acquisition of Jackson.
Stillwell had been the Reds #1 draft choice in 1983, the second pick overall. The Reds drafted Larkin in the 1984 first round (the fourth overall pick overall) and both made the majors in 1986, Larkin at age 22 and Stillwell at age 21. Stillwell played only ten games in the minors in 1986 and was with the Reds for most of the season. Larkin came up in August and played 2b in his first major league game with Stillwell at shortstop. By 1987, Larkin was getting more and more time at shortstop with Stillwell beginning to play other infield positions as Larkin began to showcase his all-star skills.
In two seasons with the Reds, Stillwell batted .246 with four homers; for his nine-year career, Stillwell batted .249 with nine homers. He later returned to the Reds organization and played in the Reds minor league system in 1994-95 before moving on to the Texas Rangers organization for his last season in 1996.
Ted Power had been caught behind the Los Angeles Dodgers plethora of starting pitchers in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Traded to the Reds, Power first went to the Reds bullpen, eventually becoming the Reds closer and posted an 8-6 record with a 2.70 ERA and 27 saves in 1985. He then converted to the starting rotation and went 10-13 with a 4.50 ERA in 1987. After his trade to the Royals, Power worked as a swing man for a couple of years and then eventually finished his career as a reliever, including one more season with the Reds in 1991. In 13 big league seasons, Power was 68-69 with a 4.00 ERA and 70 saves over 564 appearances, including 70 starts. Power is currently the pitching coach for the Louisvlle Bats, the Reds AAA farm team.
Angel Salazar never played a regular season game for the Reds, being released by the Reds in March of 1988. He did sign on with the Cubs and played a few games with them. He had been a semi-regular shortstop with the Royals and Montreal Expos, but was a non-hitter. In five major league seasons, Salazar batted .212 with two home runs.
Jackson was a major talent for the Royals, having gone 37-49 with a 3.69 ERA (117 ERA+) in five seasons for the Royals. After a 9-18 1987 season, he became available to the Reds. Jackson’s 1988 season is one of the finest pitching performances for the Reds since 1950. Jackson went 23-8 with a 2.73 ERA (132 ERA+), and 15 complete games including six shutouts. He finished second in Cy Young Award balloting and was even ninth in MVP balloting. He was runner-up to Orel Hershisher for the Cy Young who pitched 59 consecutive scoreless innings which set him apart from Jackson (Hershisher was 23-8 with a 2.26 ERA, 15 complete games, eight shutouts).
However, the lefthanded Jackson pitched 261 innings in 1989, easily the highest total of his career and his arm didn’t hold up. He dropped to 6-11 with a 5.60 ERA in 1989 and was 6-6 with a 3.61 ERA for the Reds 1990 World Championship team. Jackson left as a free agent following the 1990 season and went on to pitch seven more seasons, including a sixth place Cy Young season in 1994 for the Philadelphia Phillies when he went 14-6 with a 3.26 ERA. For the Reds, Jackson was 35-25 with a 3.61 ERA. For his career, Jackson was 112-131 with a 4.01 ERA.