Just when you thought that the Reds ordeal with Aroldis Chapman was over, it isn’t.

The best arm on the Cincinnati Reds pitching staff was destined for a trade a week ago for much-needed prospects. No longer would Reds fans be frustrated at the lack of use of Aroldis Chapman out of the bullpen (an average of 67 innings pitched per year) or of his not being used in high leverage situations regardless of the inning of the game, which is more on the shoulders of his two Reds managers (Dusty Baker and Bryan Price) than him.

It seems like just yesterday when Matt Latos was facing Buster Posey with the bases loaded in Game 5 of the 2012 playoffs. I begged and pleaded for Chapman to come in. I didn’t care if it was the 5th inning of a scoreless game. And then a tiring Latos gave up a grand slam home run to Posey, part of a 6-run inning. The Reds lost 6-4. Chapman finally did get into the game, pitching a scoreless 9th inning. Sound familiar?

Game, set and match. The Giants won the playoffs and also a World Series championship.

And now, thanks to an incident that happened on October 30 at Chapman’s home in Florida, the trade of the Cuban Missile to the Dodgers never materialized. No trade and no movement. Allegedly, Chapman fired a revolver eight times in his garage and there were allegations of domestic abuse to a woman as well. The sordid event is being sorted out.

***

Painful as it is to recount this sad situation, it’s also not the first time a Reds player has been involved in an incident involving a gun. Twice in the modern era of Reds history (after 1956) incidents happened during the off-season that affected baseball in Cincinnati.

The first one involved Frank Robinson on February 9, 1961. After a pickup basketball game, Robinson and two of his friends went to a sandwich shop on Reading Road in Cincinnati to pick up some cheeseburgers. Three youths inside sitting in a booth became involved in a verbal altercation with Robinson and his friends who were sitting at the lunch counter. The cook on duty was alarmed and he contacted the police. They weren’t far away; a Cincinnati police cruiser was in the parking lot outside with two police officers.

As the two cops entered the shop, the three youths slipped away outside. But Sonny Webb, one of Robinson’s friends got into an altercation with the cops. He was arrested for disorderly conduct. Robinson paid Webb’s $100 bail after the arrest and they went back to the sandwich shop.

As fate would have it, the cops were still there. Webb started a conversation with the police officers, joking about what had happened. Meanwhile, Robinson and the cook were exchanging glares and words. According to Robinson, the cook brandished a knife and made a throat cutting gesture towards Robinson.

At that point, Robinson pulled out a concealed gun. The Reds right fielder claimed he carried it for personal protection as he would carry large sums of money on him at times. And on this night, he stated he wanted to show the cook that he had something more dangerous than a knife.

Robinson was arrested and taken to the District 7 police headquarters and charged with carrying a concealed weapon. One of the detectives called Earl Lawson, a sportswriter that covered the Reds, and tipped him Robby had been arrested.

Lawson went to District 7 and visited Robinson in a dingy holding cell at 3 am. He then called Reds President Bill DeWitt and told him his star player was being held and that the bond was $1000. “Well, I guess one of his friends will bail him out,” DeWitt told a stunned Lawson.

Lawson called a bond attorney for Robby and he was out early in the morning. The police didn’t take a mug shot or fingerprint Robinson. Three weeks later, Robinson paid a $250 fine for the offense and the matter was settled.

The arrest, though, was big news. Robinson was a major star in baseball at that time and the best player on the Reds. Opposing players were merciless on Frank Robinson during that spring training in Florida, performing mock ‘searches’ on him for a weapon and calling him ‘John Dillinger.’ But in the end, Robinson had the last laugh and a huge season, winning the NL Most Valuable Player Award and leading the Reds to the 1961 pennant.

***

The second incident was far more serious. On March 9, 1967, matrimonial problems between Thomas Eugene Davidson and his wife reached the point where Mary Ruth Davidson shot the Reds left handed reliever in the abdomen and in the shoulder. Mary Ruth shot Ted Davidson (he was called ‘Ted’ after the three initials of his name) outside of a cocktail lounge in Tampa, Florida with a .22 caliber pistol.

Davidson wasn’t a “can’t miss” prospect but he had showed some promise early in his career. He made his debut on July 24, 1965 and in his first full season (1966) he finished with a 5-4 record and a 3.90 ERA in 85 innings of work.

Teammate Tony Perez and Manager Dave Bristol were among the first Reds to visit Davidson in the hospital. Perez at that time spoke little English but was a good teammate. Seeing his wounds, Bristol passed out onto the floor. After undergoing surgery, Davidson was moved to a hospital in California to further recuperate. He eventually rejoined the Reds that season in June but was never as effective as he once was.

After shooting her husband, Mary Ruth was released on a $2500 bond. She was charged with assault to commit murder but the charges were dropped after Davidson failed twice to show up in court,

Ted Davidson was traded to the Braves in June 1968. He and Milt Pappas were sent to Atlanta for Clay Carroll, Woody Woodward and Tony Cloninger. The 1968 season was the last one for Ted Davidson. He eventually moved to Arizona, where he passed away in 2006.

***

Aroldis Chapman has not been charged with any criminal offense. If Chapman committed the acts of abuse that he was accused of by his girlfriend, his behavior was abhorrent and morally reprehensible.

While he may not be charged with a crime, his behavior may have more significant consequences for the Reds than either the Robinson or Davidson incidents. His trade value has plummeted and the Reds seem to be stuck with a high voltage closer on a bad team in dire need of some young prospects that can hit. The Reds are stuck in neutral; a bad situation, given their current roster makeup.

42 Responses

  1. Jack

    Now is the time to move Chapman into the rotation and get something from their investment.

    • Reaganspad

      Agreed

      And now they may get his attention as he tries to rebuild his value in a free agent market

    • Dave

      Chapman is not going into the rotation. That ship sailed a few years ago. Best they can hope for is he is cleared and they get a couple marginal prospects.

    • DEN

      He won’t agree to it so it’s a non starter.

  2. Mark from NC

    The only punishment here will be for the Reds. This will come from MLB dragging their feet as long as possible, making Chapman an unknown as long as they do.

    I am sorry, but the reporting, descriptions, and pictures all are ample evidence that no crime of domestic violence has been committed (and that is the FACT of the situation, the police have closed the investigation). But since DV issues are a close 2nd to perceived racial incidents in this public media sphere, MLB has to appear as concerned about this as they can. If they can find anything else in Chapman’s past, or if by delay they can have another Chapman incident to handle, then MLB can give the severe punishment that ‘the masses’ want but can’t justify given the current lack of evidence.

    Chapman will eventually get cleared by MLB (maybe a small fine), but the delay in “clearing” him will be the real punishment. And it will be a burden for the Reds, not Chapman…

    • Bryan E

      As un-PC as this comment is in today’s world, you are absolutely spot on. MLB is going to go through their song and dance over what is according to the police, a non issue.

      This will be a bad situation for the Reds which could significantly affect the future of the franchise. It’s easy to call that hyperbole especially when we are talking about one relief pitcher with one year left on his contract, but Chapman’s trade value has undoubtedly been affected and the downstream effect could be quite damaging to the organization.

    • Hotto4Votto

      I agree with this. And, like Bryan E said, it’s not PC, but the fact of the matter is there were no charges, so legally there was no crime. Innocent until proven guilty, well it appears he’s been proven innocent. Yet the Reds (and their fans) will be the ones will pay the price for this, as it will be long forgotten history by next off season when he’s signing his big pay day.

      • greenmtred

        Well, he hasn’t been proven innocent; he just hasn’t been charged.. Not the same thing. Other teams undoubtedly will try to use the situation as leverage in lowering what they offer for him, but, at worst, if he starts the season out in his normal dominating fashion, a team that needs him will lose its memory of non-baseball issues.

  3. The ToddFather

    I’ve seen the pictures from the police report in articles, Chapman’s girlfriend has no visible injuries. Chapman says he pushed her off of him with 2 fingers, while the girlfriend says she was choked. The pictures support Chapman. The only thing Chapman did “wrong” (unless there’s other evidence the public hasn’t seen) was firing 8 gunshots in his garage, and to be honest, if someone wants to relieve stress by randomly shooting their empty garage, I see nothing wrong with that. Hopefully, Chapman’s name will be completely cleared and he can get back to just being a dominant pitcher.

    • jessecuster44

      These days, you probably should go to a shooting range if you want to fire a gun, dontcha think?

      Guilty or not, Chappy is cuckoo- not Randy Myers or Mitch Williams cuckoo, but perhaps much worse.

      • WVRedlegs

        Yes and yes.
        And maybe beyond Milton Bradley and CoCo Puffs coo-coo.

      • Michael_Øk

        @MARK FROM NC : I believe you misunderstood my statement. Everything that you’re saying applies moreso to the NFL, not the MLB.

        On the note of “How can the ‘MLB do right?'” Well that depends on your definition of “right.” Personally, I’d say to leave the situation alone due to the fact that he did not harm anyone physically-speaking. Though I do believe it wouldn’t hurt if the Reds’ front office spoke with him and made sure everything is going all right. As it would help both sides (Reds could hurry up and trade him, and Chapman could increase his value) in getting what they want.

        And to answer your question: Just who decides what is “right”?

        Unfortunately, for all of us 😭, I am not the person who decides what is “right”, but I wish I was. I guess you could say the Commisioner is the decider, but realistically I have no idea.

      • Michael_Øk

        My bad, I replied to the wrong person. (Is there anyway a person can delete this specific one? Because I’m not aware of a delete button on your own comments/replies).

      • greenmtred

        Milton Bradley coo-coo is a pretty high bar.

      • Michael_Øk

        True enough, but think about how this whole situation could be a lot worse. While I do agree that it seemed reckless for him to fire a hangun into his garage, there is no law against it. Therefore nothing will really happen, but let’s see if the MLB will do right where the NFL did wrong.

      • The ToddFather

        Yeah, sure, shooting your garage might make you a bit crazy, but definitely nothing illegal. Honestly, that aspect could even add a bit of credibility to Chapman’s account of the incident because he admitted to firing the gunshots.

      • Mark from NC

        How can the “MLB do right?”

        By imposing an unwarranted and unjustified punishment on Chapman bc some folks think he is crazy? (Which he may well be…)

        THIS is the kind of thinking that has me truly scared for our society (not as it relates to baseball but the world). Just who decides what is “right”?

        It used to be the law that was designed to do that… now, it appears we have come as close to mob rule as we can without actually changing the law.

        PC or no PC, we have the rule of law in this country. God help us when we end up with the rule of facebook or twitter or whatever…

      • Michael_Øk

        @MARK FROM NC : I believe you misunderstood my statement. Everything that you’re saying applies moreso to the NFL, not the MLB.

        On the note of “How can the ‘MLB do right?’” Well that depends on your definition of “right.” Personally, I’d say to leave the situation alone due to the fact that he did not harm anyone physically-speaking. Though I do believe it wouldn’t hurt if the Reds’ front office spoke with him and made sure everything is going all right. As it would help both sides (Reds could hurry up and trade him, and Chapman could increase his value) in getting what they want.

        And to answer your question: Just who decides what is “right”?

        Unfortunately, for all of us 😭, I am not the person who decides what is “right”, but I wish I was. I guess you could say the Commisioner is the decider, but realistically I have no idea.

      • Mark from NC

        Michael, I took you to mean “let’s see if the MLB will do right where the NFL did wrong”, ie, let’s see if MLB hands down harsh punishments where the NFL failed to do so. If I misinterpreted, my apologies.

        And I didn’t mean to be too chicken little about it all — but I am frustrated by the way certain incidents are handled lately. Its all about placating the loudest voice or voices on any issue (and any side), regardless of facts or reason.

        It would seem that if the media hype surrounding Chapman falls off, this will all be handled quietly. Should media (that includes social media) keep the volume up, Chapman faces a far greater likelihood of being made a scapegoat.

      • Michael_Øk

        Oh, well my opinion is nearly the opposite. I think a comment I made on here a week ago highlights my opinion on the whole situation. Here it is:

        Agreed, the reason the police did not press charges was because of the conflicting and varying stories. Let us not forget that some people do lie, so his girlfriend could be. With that said, the same goes for Chapman and his attorney.

        Personally, I don’t think anything will come of this from a law-perspective. The only thing that could happen is if the MLB wishes to model itself after the NFL with its domestic-violence policy that allows for no errors. According to my knowledge, I don’t believe Chapman has been in any criminal wrongdoing since he has been in the U.S. (Though I could be wrong, in which case you can gladly tell me otherwise), and there were no injuries. Also, his girlfriend was not reported to have had any marks on her body, per police report.

        The whole thing just seems like he was pushed over the edge in an argument, and he made a mistake. With that said, seriously? This is something between him and his girlfriend, and he was not even charged. I mean I understand that a team may be wary of signing him, but to put his career in jeopardy on a situation that seemed to have gone over extremely well (keeping in mind the circumstances)?

        In no way am I a Red Sox fan, but I applaud what they did. They were unsure of what they allegedly found, so they simply retracted their pursuit for Chapman. It was none of the Red Sox’s business to possibly destroy a career because of a report (that he may not have even done), nor the MLB’s.

      • sixpacktwo

        Shooting a Gun in your Garage is not illegal in Florida and in most cases it is not even in your backyard.

      • jessecuster44

        Just because something isn’t illegal doesn’t mean that it is wise to do.

  4. WVRedlegs

    CBS’s Jon Heyman says the Frazier trade talks heated up again. Indians and WhiteSox again, but others getting more involved. Dodgers, Nats and a couple of others.
    Maybe something gets done this time. It is in about the same timeframe as the Choo trade went down.

    • The ToddFather

      Dodgers would have to be willing to offer Seager or Pederson plus more. Not sure they would be willing to do so.

  5. larry papania

    Come on guys! You never took a 22 out to a remote area and shot at some beer cans (after you emptied them)? Even though the gun wasn’t registered to you? Hell, he got into a heated argument with his girlfriend and was jumped by her brother, also a friend I assume, and then run down to the basement and fired eight rounds into a empty room-he may have killed a couple of spiders-and you think he’s crazy enough to costar in one frew over the coo coo nest? He’ll regain some of his trade value after the mlb circus leaves town and he pitches his usual brilliant two innings a week in the first half of 2016…

    • TR

      I doubt if there are many basements in South Florida. But instead of waiting around for MLB to act or not act on Chapman, the Reds should tell him, point blank, that he’s the starting pitcher on opening day and get him ready for April 4th. against the Phillies.

      • larry papania

        Ops, garage, not basement. I think that the ship has sailed on him converting to a starter. I understand that the conditioning program is a much more severe program then that of a reliever,, and the throwing pattern is much different (more stress on the arm?). Even if you could convince him to start, the stress of throwing ninety pitches, vs twenty or twenty-five per outing might lead to a injury…if he tears a rotator cuff or injures his elbow or arm, he really would become worthless. Too much risk on a arm that has been very good in a relief situation over the years.

      • TR

        I think the ship is still sailing for Chapman as a starter as he approaches his 28th. birthday. This guy was a starter in the rough and tumble Cuban League and he can also do it in the ML’s with his 100 mph fastball and assortment of pitches. Starting every five days is no more arm strain than warming up and pitching an inning two days in a row. The way things are shaping up the Reds are not going to need Aroldis very often in the 9th. inning anyway. While MLB decides on whatever penalty, now is the time to prepare Chapman as a starter.

      • redmountain

        Absolutely correct on there not being a basement in Florida. He shot up his garage. However, it is unlikely he would be the opening day starter, unless he is on another team.

      • TR

        I’m confused why Chapman could be an opening day starter on another team and not on the Reds.

    • Mark from NC

      It certainly makes you wonder about Walter and the top brass here…

      Are they really going to Slash the budget? I mean, this thing is totally broken, not just a busted Axel. All the November Rain in the world won’t put the bloom back on this Rose.

      Iz he Straddlin the middle of a rebuild, or is there a committed Appetite for Destruction? Failure to act one way or the other would leave the Reds Adlered — I mean, Addled forever.

      Anyway, I am ok with a little Patience but fear they are looking for One in a Million with any potential trade. I feel my feelings turning and its almost I Used to Love Her all over again — just like a bunch of ’90’s rock songs or something!

  6. Carlos

    The reds should extend chapman now and trade him later….the reds are running out of time and while more time less return should expected. Today Jim Bowden ranked the reds last among the 30 teams with an F in the offseason goals. To much work to do yet.

    • Hotto4Votto

      And Bowden would be an expert on an F offseason.

  7. james garrett

    In reality though if you haven’t done anything and what you did try to do(move Chapman) turns into a circus that probably won’t have an end until the start of the season welllllllll you kind of get a low score.Maybe we can bring that grade up some in the coming months.

    • greenmtred

      We are always collectively upset when nothing happens at the Winter Meeting. It’s understandable, too, because we’re bored and have nothing baseball-related to think about. But the Reds can and do make moves after the Meeting, so it’s clearly premature to grade their off-season.

  8. Carl Sayre

    MLB will be afraid of the courts kicking their backside like they have Goodell but to make this right suspend Chapman 30 games so he is under control an additional season. His value may rebound for the Reds and the immature player who doesn’t understand firearm safety has to wait for that big contract. I am still of the opinion if you discharge a firearm after an argument with your honey it was intimidation and that is abuse. The best I can tell what he did was illegal in that jurisdiction just not often prosecuted. I wonder if it had been a modest 1000 square feet home if the homeowner would have not been charged?

  9. mikemartz

    Not to make light of a very serious situation, but maybe Chapman didn’t actually shoot the gun. My theory is that he grabbed a handful of bullets and threw them at the wall with so much velocity it caused them to explode on contact. 🙂

  10. California red

    Why do we have to trade him? Make him a starter, sign him, pay him, then maybe trade him later on down the road. But for Pete’s sake, make him a starting pitcher already!

    • TR

      With Baker gone for two years it is amazing that the Reds have not made Chapman a starting pitcher. It would be interesting to know the truth why this has not happened.