December 14, 1938: Major league teams adopt several resolutions. The National League allows the Cincinnati Reds to play their season opener one day before other teams, as a way of honoring the 100th anniversary of baseball and of the 1869 Red Stockings being the first professional team. (from baseball-reference.com’s bullpen)
Knuckleballer Bob Purkey had one of the greatest years for a starting pitcher in modern Reds history in 1962. Purkey was 23-5 with a 2.81 ERA, and completing 18 starts. He led the league in winning percentage and finished third in Cy Young voting (only one winner for both leagues then, not one for each league), and eighth in MVP voting. Purkey started the season 7-0 and was 13-1 at the all-star break with a 2.55 ERA. He also won seven of his last eight decisions of that season as the Reds finished the season in third place with a 98-64 record, 3 1/2 games behind the league champion San Francisco Giants.
Purkey was hurt and slumped in 1963, dropping to 6-10 with a 3.55 ERA before rebounding to 11-9 with a 3.04 ERA in 1964 at age 34. The Reds picked the right time to deal him. He was 10-9 with a 5.79 ERA (67 ERA+) for the Cardinals before being sold to the Pittsburgh Pirates, his original major league team, for the final 10 games of his career. With the Reds/Redlegs for seven seasons, Purkey was 103-76 with a 3.49 ERA (112 ERA+). For his 13-year career, Purkey was 129-115 with a 3.79 ERA (104 ERA+).
The Reds received former Dodger and Met Craig in the deal. Craig’s best season had been 1959 when he was 11-5 with a 2.06 ERA for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Selected by the New York Mets in the expansion draft, Craig twice led the National League in losses, going 10-24 with a 4.51 ERA (92 ERA+) for the first-year Mets and 5-22 with a 3.78 ERA (92 ERA+) in 1963. Craig pitched 40 games in relief for the Reds, going 1-4 with a 3.64 ERA before being released by the Reds. He played one more season for the Philadelphia Phillies (2-1, 5.56 ERA). For his career, Craig pitched 12 seasons, going 74-98 with a 3.83 ERA (104 ERA+).
James was a reserve outfielder who hit .205 in 41 plate appearances for the Reds. For his career, James played six seasons, batting .255 with 29 home runs.