Baseball

Major League Baseball filled with weird, wild records

reds-recordsPart of the fun of following baseball are the records that are created. As I write this blog, Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco tied a franchise record when he connected for a home run in the 9th — his fifth home run in five consecutive games. What I like about the guy is he seems grounded and puts the home run in perspective.

It was late in the game. All the other homers were to help the team win, and important, big homers,” he said. “They actually meant a lot. That one didn’t really help us come back, so it doesn’t mean as much.

I recently came across a book, The Baseball Hall of Shame’s Warped Record Book, filled with the game’s unusual records. Here are a few Reds-related oddball feats.

  • Eric Davis holds the record for the shortest ‘4-bagger’
    In 1986, Davis hit a routine ground ball to Houston Astros pitcher Nolan Ryan who fired the ball to first — it went wild and landed near the bullpen where it was retrieved by right fielder Kevin Bass. Bass threw the ball to third ahead of Davis, but his throw was also wild so Davis cruised in and scored. His manager Pete Rose was quoted as saying, “I haven’t seen anything like that since Little League.”
  • Strikeout victim No. 3,000 — twice
    As a member of the Great Eight, the illustrious Reds center fielder Cesar Geronimo made significant contributions to The Big Red Machine — especially in the 1975 World Series. But, he also has the misfortune of being the 3,000 strikeout victim for both Bob Gibson (1974) and the aforementioned Nolan Ryan in 1980.
  • Sparky Anderson’s Two Big Losses
    Even though Sparky Anderson led the Reds to four pennants and two World Series titles, he holds the distinction of being the only MLB manager to lose an All-Star game in both the American and National Leagues. Under his guidance the National League team lost in 1971 while the American League team lost in 1985.

But possibly the funniest ‘warped’ record in the one involving pitcher Luis Vasquez who holds the dubious honor of ‘most poisonous snakes clubbed to death with a bat.’  The incident occurred in 1990 in Plant City, Florida. A pond near the Reds spring training camp was home to venomous water moccasins which found their way into the playing area. While teammates were careful where they stepped, Vasquez went on the offense to rid the camp of the deadly reptiles.

Categories: Baseball, Sports

My Memories of the Big Red Machine

Cesar GeronimoWhen it comes to baseball I was lucky. I was in the prime of my Little League career when the Big Red Machine was making sports history. When I was 11 they won the World Series by beating the Red Sox in seven games — and then won it again a year later by sweeping the Yankees in four games.

I also had a good problem — both of my favorite teams were in the ’75 World Series. Although I was a die-hard Reds fan, the Red Sox were winning me over with Fred Lynn, Jim Rice, Carl Yastrzemski — and of course, Dwight Evans. Evans almost cost the ’75 Reds the Series when he robbed Joe Morgan of a go-ahead home run in the 11th inning of game 6.

Growing up with the Big Red Machine, meant I had plenty of baseball players to idolize. Of course, Pete Rose, was my favorite. He played with such intensity — he could switch hit — dove head first into base when sliding and even ran to first when he was walked. But a close second, was Cesar Geronimo, possibly the least known of the Great Eight.

Cesar was much more than just a dependable outfielder (he won Golden Glove awards for 1974-1977), in fact, he proved to be a great clutch player during the 1975 World Series. His .280 batting average in the Series was second only to Rose’s .370 average. Cesar, who only hit six home runs during the regular season, had 2 home runs in the Series, a triple, scored three times, had 3 RBIs and was walked three times. The only teammate to hit more home runs during the ’75 Series, was Tony Perez, who had hit 20 during the regular season.

But Cesar’s greatest contribution to the team was in Game 3. He hit a solo home run in the fifth expanding the Reds lead 5-1, but it was the 10th inning that matter. In the 10th, Cesar led off with a single, advanced to third on a bunt when Carlton Fisk’s throw-out attempt to second sailed into centerfield, setting the stage for Cesar to score the winning run on a deep centerfield fly by Joe Morgan.

The Machine

The Machine is one of the best books written about the 1975 Reds season and what is arguably the best World Series in baseball history — the 1975 clash between the Reds and the Red Sox. Whether you lived through the season, or are just a fan wanting to know why the ‘Great Eight’ are legendary — this well-written book by Joe Posnanski — will entertain and enlighten. Highly recommended.

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Most Popular Blog Entries Address War, Dogs and Little League Baseball

I enjoy writing and connecting with readers. Despite my best efforts, some blog entries fall to the wayside while others flourish. Here are three of my most popular entries in case you missed them.

Significant Revolutionary War Battle Did Not Involve British soldiers

One of the most decisive battles in the War for Independence involved the Overmountain men. One of my forefathers was there, unfortunately he was bitten by a rattlesnake so how much he participated is a mystery. Read more >>

Broken Spirit: What A Rescued Dog Taught Me About Life

Technically, Versa is my daughter’s dog. We went to the local dog pound and my daughter picked out the 40-pound, black and white mix-breed, nine-month-old female pup. Within a month the pup — plagued with fear aggression — was mine. What was unexpected for me, though, was as Versa conquered her fears, she taught me a few things about my own. Read more >>

Little League and the Big Red Machine

This nostalgic piece looks back at what it was like to grow up an hour north of Cincinnati in the era of the Big Red Machine. It was a time when baseball was king and it was impossible as a Little Leaguer not to love the game. But I had a big problem — I was small, underweight, weak – and unlike Pete Rose, I could not hit. Read more >>

Categories: American History, American Revolutionary War, Appalachia, Baseball, Dogs, Family History, Versa