November 10, 1932: Donie Bush is named manager of the Reds. Bush had previously managed the 1927-29 Pittsburgh Pirates to great success (246-178, one pennant) and the 1930-31 Chicago White Sox to no success at all (118-189, 7th and 8th place of eight teams)
With the Reds, I suppose Bush demonstrated that it takes talent to win. The Reds finished last with a 58-94 record, 33 games behind the champion New York Giants. It also demonstrates the power of age when it comes to talent. The 1933 Reds had five future Hall of Famers on the team,tied with the 1932 team as having the most at any time in club history. However, none were in their primes. 42-year-old Eppa Rixey was 6-3 with a 3.15 ERA in 16 games (12 starts). 33-year-old first baseman Jim Bottomley batted .250 with 13 homers (.706 OPS), 25-year-old catcher Ernie Lombardi batted .283 with four homers, and 27-year-old shortstop Leo Durocher was traded after 16 games. 30-year-old outfielder Chick Hafey had a good year, batting 303 with a .772 OPS (122 OPS+), but it was nowhere near his best slugging seasons.
This was the season that the oldest Red to ever play participated. 49-year-old Jack Quinn pitched his last season, pitching in 14 games covering 15 2/3 innings, going 0-1 with a 4.02 ERA. His last two games came after his 50th birthday. Quinn and Hall of Fame knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm are the only players with at least ten games in the season of their fiftieth birthday. Quinn was a spitballer who finished his career 247-218 with a 3.29 ERA in 756 games (443 starts). 1933 was Quinn’s only season with the Reds.
As a player, Bush was a low-average, lots-of-walks, no-power shortstop. He finished third in MVP balloting for the 1914 Detroit Tigers when he batted .252 with 112 walks for a .373 OBP. He led the American League in walks in five of his first six full major league seasons. 1933 was his only year as Reds manager.
November 10, 1997: The Reds trade closer Jeff Brantley to the St. Louis Cardinals for Corner Guy Dmitri Young. Young is then the principal in three Reds transactions within nine calendar days with the Reds “acquiring” him twice.
Young was a young slashing line drive hitting slugger with no real position on the field. In two years with the St. Louis Cardinals he had played 1B-LF-RF with promising power and the Reds had finished last in the league in runs scored in 1997. The Reds traded for Young, who was then selected eight days later in the 16th round by the newly formed Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the expansion draft. Tampa Bay immediately returned Young to the Reds as the player to be named later for receiving Reds outfielder Mike Kelly in trade on November 11.
In 1998, the Reds had decided to corner the market on young first basemen with Young, Sean Casey, Paul Konerko, Roberto Petagine, and Eduardo Perez. Young was inserted into left field for the Reds and immediately began to hit, finishing the year at .310 with 14 home runs and 48 doubles, good for second in the league. By the end of the year all but Casey and Young were gone and Young became a mainstay in LF. He had a similar year in 1999, batting .300 with 30 doubles. Young hit over .300 in all four seasons he played with the Reds, before being traded to the Detroit Tigers at the conclusion of the 2001 season. Young played for another seven years after his trade.
As a Red, Dmitri Young batted .304 with 143 doubles and 67 home runs in four years, an OPS+ of 111. For his 13 year career, young batted .292 with 301 doubles and 171 home runs with an OPS+ of 114.
Jeff Brantley was an extremely effective relief pitcher through a ten-year career before being traded to the Cardinals. With the Reds in 1996, Brantley led the majors with 44 saves, going 1-2 with a 2.41 ERA (178 ERA+). In four seasons with the Reds, Brantley was 11-11 with a 2.64 ERA and 88 saves. An arm injury in 1997 limited him to 13 games and the Reds decided he was expendable. For his 14 year career, Brantley was 43-46 with a 3.39 ERA and 172 saves, pitching in 615 games. He’s currently a broadcaster for Reds television games.
November 10, 1998: The Reds trade second baseman Bret Boone and reliever Mike Remlinger to the Atlanta Braves for starting pitcher Denny Neagle, outfielder Michael Tucker and pitching prospect Rob Bell.
There were two keys to this trade: Bret Boone was about to make big money at second base and Denny Neagle would be replacing Remlinger as a true lefty starter in the Reds starting rotation. Reds manager Jack McKeon had converted Reds lefty reliever Mike Remlinger to the rotation in August of the previous season. Of Remlinger’s 69 1997 appearances, 12 were starts and he responded by going 6-4 with a 4.30 ERA, striking out 81 batters in 73 innings. In the rotation for most of 1998, Remlinger was 8-15 with a 4.82 ERA as control problems (4.8/9 innings) got the best of him. After his trade to Atlanta, Remlinger never started another big league game in the next eight seasons. As a Red, Remlinger was 16-24 with a 4.63 ERA. For his career, Remlinger was 53-55 with a 3.90 ERA in 14 major league seasons.
Boone was traded right as his power developed as a hitter. In 1998 before the trade to Atlanta, Boone batted .266 with 24 homers and 95 rbi, his first season with more than 15 home runs. He would then connect for 159 homers over his next six seasons after only hitting 57 in his first six major league seasons. Boone made $2.8 million for the Reds in 1998, $2.9 million for the Braves in 1999 before jumping to $3.75 million for the San Diego Padres in 2000. The trading of Boone allowed future Gold Glove winner Pokey Reese to take over at second base for the Reds. Boone had won the Gold Glove for the Reds in 1998 himself.
Neagle pitched very well for the Reds but an injury and contract demands led the Reds to trade him to the New York Yankees only a year and a half after joining the Reds. Neagle was 17-7 with a 3.89 ERA in 38 games (37 starts) for the Reds before being dealt to the Yankees for four minor leaguers, including third base-quarterback phenom Drew Henson, who eventually went back to football. In eight seasons before joining the Reds, Neagle had been 81-55 with a 3.78 ERA. Neagle played 3 1/2 more seasons after leaving the Reds, going 26-30, but was named in the Mitchell Report as having purchased Human Growth Hormone in 2000-01 from Kirk Radomski, the main source for the Mitchell Report. The evidence included eight checks signed by Neagle. Neagle pitched for the Reds and Yankees in 2000.
Michael Tucker was an outfielder who played very well in an part-time outfield role for the Reds in 2000, batting .267 with 15 home runs in 148 games (323 plate appearances). He had an .892 OPS for the year (121 OPS+). As a Red, he played three seasons batting .255 with 30 homers (96 OPS+) which was indicative of his career. In 14 major league seasons, Tucker batted .256 with 125 home runs (95 OPS+).
Rob Bell was a pitching prospect that didn’t work out. Bell was 7-8 with a 5.00 ERA in his 2000 rookie season with the Reds, but went 0-5 with a 5.48 ERA in nine starts the next year before being traded in midseason to the Texas Rangers. For his career, Bell was 34-37 with a 5.71 ERA in seven seasons.
November 10, 1999: Reds manager Jack McKeon is named National League Manager of the Year. A grandfatherly type figure as a manager, McKeon has been hired four times during a season to replace existing managers typically to lower the pressure cooker in a clubhouse. His major league managerial record is 1011-940 and he was also named Manager of the Year for the 2003 season when he piloted the Florida Marlins to the World Championship—after taking over for Jeff Torborg on May 11 with the team holding a 16-22 record.
McKeon managed three and one-half seasons for the Reds, going 33-30, 77-85, 96-67, and 85-77 from 1997-2000. His 1999 team (97-67) narrowly missed the post season by losing an added regular season playoff game to break the wildcard tie with the New York Mets. That season was the closest the Reds came to a post season playoff from 1991-2009. McKeon was charged with sifting through a make-shift pitching staff and having them come through with the fourth best ERA in the league at 3.98. McKeon liked defense and gave starting opportunities to superior glove men like Pokey Reese at 2B, Aaron Boone at 3B, Mike Cameron in CF, and Michael Tucker in RF. McKeon also had to sift through the first base logjam (see Dmitri Young above) and decided to jettison aging star Hal Morris, future star Paul Konerko, future Japanese star Roberto Petagine, and role player Eduardo Perez in favor of Young and future all-star Sean Casey.
Chris Jaffe’s book “Evaluating Baseball’s Managers” describes McKeon as the managerial profession’s greatest fireman. Jaffe’s analysis shows that McKeon would stay with his relievers longer than most of today’s managers, he typically had good pitching, and liked to play one-run strategy baseball.