View Full Version : The Holy Trinity of Baseball

06-22-2005, 03:27 PM
I was going to post this on on thursday, I had a feeling the Cardinals were going to be Dave’s last team, I just thought the off day would be the day…. I guess Dan O wanted the day to visit the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

Around the league, blogs, chat boards, XM radio etc the Reds are fast becoming the laughingstock of the NL. They are an abject failure and the fans will stay away as previously discussed.

However this isn’t new in the history of the Reds, the battle to compete against the bigger cities with fewer resources and less workers has been as connected with the Reds as long as the team nickname.

My belief is that there are three non player key positions in an organization, each has the power to turn a franchise around, the Reds have three examples of this in their past. One could only hope that something similar is going to happen with the latest move.


The Manager

In 1916 The Reds could claim to have finished less than 10 games behind first place only one time in the existence in the National League and that was in 1892!

The seasons leading up to 1916 were pretty pitiful, with a constant change of managers, styles and players the Reds finished so far back each season that hope was basically lost.

“As the season progressed the Reds were a little better than the year before. The fans , after so many lean years, were running out of patience. Ned Hanlon, John Gazel, Clark Griffith, Hank O’Day, Joe Tinker and now Herzog-all of them had been unable to elevate the team from the mire. Each spring had brought new hopes, each autumn more bitterness.

Was there no hope?

Were the Reds destined never to finish on top?

Sure, they’d one the pennant-back in 1882 in the American Association But in 1916 one had to be a middle-aged man to remember it

Lee Allen The Cincinnati Reds 1948

Preceding the 1916 season the Reds were just woeful

1905 5th 79 74 .516 26
1906 6th 64 87 .424 51.5
1907 6th 66 87 .431 41.5
1908 5th 73 81 .474 26
1909 4th 77 76 .503 33.5
1910 5th 75 79 .487 29
1911 6th 70 83 .458 29
1912 4th 75 78 .490 29
1913 7th 64 89 .418 37.5
1914 8th 60 94 .390 34.5
1915 7th 71 83 .461 20
1916 T7th 60 93 .392 33.5
In July of 1916 the Reds completed the following trade:

Christy Mathewson traded by New York Giants with Edd Roush and Bill McKechnie to Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Buck Herzog and Red Killefer

Herzog was the Reds manager and he was replaced by Mathewson after a enduring a “vote of confidence” earlier in the season.

With the arrival of the great Matty the Reds actually instituted a system. Mathewson’s strength was pitching, his seminal book “Pitching in a Pinch” described the method of pitching that was prevalent in the Deadball Era and is best exemplified today in Livian Hernandez’s approach.

Immediately he went to crafting a usable staff and a fleet outfield to cover the massive expanse of the Redland outfield. Among the outfielders was the young Edd Roush. Perhaps the greatest Centerfielder in Reds history, this trade laid groundwork

The results were seen in a matter of years in the pitching and fielding statistics below.

1 Pirates .964
2 Cubs .964
3 Phillies .963
4 Dodgers .960
5 Reds .959
6 Cardinals .957
7 Giants .956
8 Braves .954

1 Reds .971
2 Cubs .967
3 Pirates .967
4 Dodgers .964
5 Giants .963
6 Cardinals .959
7 Braves .959
8 Phillies .95

ERA vs. the league average displayed only–not a sorting criteria
1 Cubs 2.48 0.36
2 Giants 2.56 0.28
3 Pirates 2.59 0.26
4 Phillies 2.73 0.12
5 Reds 2.93 -.08
6 Dodgers 2.97 -.12
7 Braves 3.26 -.41
8 Cardinals 3.27 -.43

1 Reds 3.21 0.41
2 Giants 3.37 0.25
3 Pirates 3.40 0.21
4 Dodgers 3.45 0.17
5 Cubs 3.47 0.15
6 Cardinals 3.65 -.03
7 Braves 3.92 -.30
8 Phillies 4.49 -.87

The ten years following the arrival of Mathewson were some of the best for the Reds, but it was a trickle down result of increased defense and better pitching.

The change showed a slight increase in offense, but as a whole the Reds offense was below league average.

From 1905-1916 the Reds in RC/27 vs. the League

1 Giants 0.36 4.63 4.27
2 Cubs -.06 4.21 4.27
3 Pirates -.07 4.20 4.27
4 Phillies -.19 4.08 4.27
5 Reds -.36 3.92 4.27
6 Cardinals -.55 3.72 4.27
7 Braves -.60 3.67 4.27
8 Dodgers -.65 3.62 4.27

Post Matty Offense.
1 Cardinals 0.13 4.87 4.74
2 Giants 0.11 4.85 4.74
3 Pirates -.20 4.54 4.74
4 Reds -.26 4.48 4.73
5 Phillies -.28 4.46 4.74
6 Dodgers -.40 4.34 4.74
7 Cubs -.43 4.31 4.74
8 Braves -.77 3.96 4.73
The Reds record and place in the standings changed drastically after this change in a management, one could only hope that it happens again.


The Owner

After the 1933 season, Sidney Weil decided to abandon the fight, which had begun to appear hopeless. After four seasons of battling he had grown weary with the repetitions of disaster. In November1933 he stepped aside as president and resigned as a director, turning the club over to the Central Trust Company, which had held his stock for three years.

As the depression got deeper so did the Cincinnati Reds fortunes in the National League.

1930 7th 59 95 .383 33
1931 8th 58 96 .377 43
1932 8th 60 94 .390 30
1933 8th 58 94 .382 33
1934 8th 52 99 .344 42
1935 6th 68 85 .444 31.5

Easily the bottom of the Reds life was achieved during Weil’s ownership. Shortly after he purchase the Reds Weil lost his fortune in the Crash of 29, shortly after that he handed over the club to be held in trust for debts he owed the Central Trust company. This ownership team had no money and no baseball acumen, which is evident in their placement statistically in the National League during that time.


ERA vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria
1 Giants 3.57 0.45
2 Cubs 3.70 0.33
3 Cardinals 3.73 0.29
4 Pirates 3.92 0.10
5 Braves 4.05 -.03
6 Dodgers 4.09 -.07
7 Reds 4.19 -.17
8 Phillies 4.94 -.92

1 Cardinals .286 0.00
2 Cubs .286 0.06
3 Phillies .286 -.05
4 Pirates .285 -.17
5 Giants .285 -.08
6 Dodgers .281 -.23
7 Braves .265 -1.17
8 Reds .265 -1.07

1 Cubs .346 0.06
2 Pirates .341 -.17
3 Cardinals .340 0.00
4 Phillies .340 -.05
5 Dodgers .338 -.23
6 Giants .335 -.08
7 Reds .318 -1.07
8 Braves .313 -1.17

1 Cubs .416 0.06
2 Giants .413 -.08
3 Cardinals .413 0.00
4 Phillies .406 -.05
5 Dodgers .399 -.23
6 Pirates .398 -.17
7 Braves .364 -1.17
8 Reds .363 -1.07

In January of 1934 it was announced that Crosley had purchased controlling interest in the Cincinnati Reds.

Lee Allen The Cincinnati Reds 1948

With the arrival of Larry McPhail the Reds begin their second hand association with the Cardinals. It was McPhail that resurrected the Columbus franchise for the Cardinals and it was McPhail who was hired by the Reds to do the same in Cincinnati.

His first job was to find an owner.

Powell Crosley was an innovative man, he invented a line of Radios, founded WLW, a gas saving automobile and he was the man who first put doors on the refrigerator, my pickles thank you Powell.

Mostly though he was a man who loved Cincinnati, as McPhail regaled the Reds problems to Crosley over lunch one day, he let it slip that the Reds might have to move if an owner didn’t step forward soon. Within weeks Crosley had secretly obtained ownership of the Reds and the purchase of the omnipotent “controlling share.”

With a fresh coat of paint and cigarette girls roaming the stands the Reds opened the 1934 season, ready for what was going to be a long climb to respectability.

Here’s a quick laundry list of what Crosley brought to the Reds.

1. Not a “hands on owner” he delegated the baseball duties to capable men
2. Installed Lights to increase Revenue
3. Became first team to Fly and Play on TV
4. Brought Warren Giles (former Cardinal employee)to town, who brought Frank Lary, Bill McKetchnie (yes the same one obtained in 1916) and Gabe Paul.
5. Moved Home Plate out to increase offense
6. Established the Reds broadcasting legacy
7. Established Reds Farm System

A good owner is one who knows how to delegate duties to the proper people, the owner’s legacy is not found in anything other than bringing a winning team to the fans. This is best accomplished by not meddling in contract negotiations that are established by the people hired to do the job.

It wasn’t until 1938 that all the fruits of labor begun to show but the results from 1938-1942 are the glory years that preceded the Big Red Machine and helped establish the Reds Hall of Fame.


The General Manager

After Powell Crosley died former Browns owner Bill DeWitt bought the Reds. Being a Browns owner (the guy who signed Pete Grey (http://www.baseballlibrary.com/base...Person_Sam11.st) ) the Reds were run on a pretty tight budget, the big thrust in DeWitt’s tenure was his attempt to get a suburban baseball stadium built. It was the failure to do this that caused DeWitt to sell the team in the wake of the disappointing 1966 season, a season that had started with DeWitt’s friend Don Hefner as manager… a plan that failed miserably.

1966 7th 76 84 .475 18

The first task the new ownership group undertook was the same as Crosley’s, choose someone else who knows what the hell they are doing.

The 617, INC group had the money to buy the Reds, but they were not baseball men, and their first task was to find a new general manager. They wanted someone with experience, who was promotions-minded and committed to a vigorous farm system. They turned to Dewitt, Giles and Gabe Paul all former general managers of the Reds for recommendations. Two names topped the list: Buzzy Bavasi and Bob Howsam.

Big Red Dynasty Greg Rhodes & John Eradi

Howsam came on and the rest is history.

Oh BTW he was also a Cardinal

This is what his legacy left us.

1967 4th 87 75 .537 14.5
1968 4th 83 79 .512 14
1969 3rd 89 73 .549 4
1970 1st 102 60 .630 +14.5 NL CHAMPIONS
1971 T4th 79 83 .488 11
1972 1st 95 59 .617 +10.5 NL CHAMPIONS
1973 1st 99 63 .611 +3.5 NL WEST CHAMPIONS
1974 2nd 98 64 .605 4
1975 1st 108 54 .667 +20 WORLD CHAMPIONS
1976 1st 102 60 .630 +10 WORLD CHAMPIONS
1977 2nd 88 74 .543 10
1978 2nd 92 69 .571 2.5
I’m a baseball guy….. Jerry Narron, Reds new manager at his introduction Tuesday.

One could only hope that some change was on the horizon… but it takes more than one to get it done and it takes the ability to know when to get out of the way.

I’m still waiting on some evidence from the current front office that they know this too.

06-22-2005, 05:46 PM
I'd call this professional-grade writing, but, truth is, it's a whole lot better than that.

06-22-2005, 05:55 PM
What he said.

I always feel like a better baseball fan after reading a post from you because I know more than I did before I read it.

06-22-2005, 06:02 PM
I hope you're saving all this stuff.

06-22-2005, 06:36 PM
Shortly after he purchase the Reds Weil lost his fortune in the Crash of 29, shortly after that he handed over the club to be held in trust for debts he owed the Central Trust company. This ownership team had no money and no baseball acumen, which is evident in their placement statistically in the National League during that time.

Could just as easily describe the situation now, just replace Central Trust with Great American Insurance.

Nicely done, WOY. :thumbup:

06-22-2005, 07:41 PM
Outstanding work, WOY, as usual.

06-22-2005, 07:42 PM
Nice job WOY...always a good read

06-22-2005, 08:00 PM
I do not know a whole lot about Reds history, so this was a good lesson. Thanks WOY!

06-22-2005, 08:09 PM
Yep, thanks for taking the time to write that up WOY.

cincinnati chili
06-22-2005, 08:29 PM
I had a feeling the Cardinals were going to be Dave’s last team

He's not lying. I have electronic evidence that WOY saw this coming.

And great, informative post. I used to think I knew baseball history until I met you, Sandy and others on this site.

06-22-2005, 08:47 PM
Thanks for the great and informative read! The REDS Hall should use your work... if you allowed.


06-23-2005, 04:01 AM
WOY -- That's some incredible stuff :thumbup:

06-23-2005, 06:46 AM
I loved the post. I was particularly surprised by the section on Christy Mathewson. If someone was going to name a significant Reds manager for that era, I would have assumed it would be Pat Moran, who was the manager in 1919 when the Reds defeated the Black Sox in the World Series. I didn't realize that Matty played that big a role in building the 1919 Reds, who remained a very good club for several years after 1919.
The other two great eras for the Reds, 1938-42 and 1970-78, came with a complete package of leadership. WOY rightly focused on the contributions of Crosley as owner in 1934-42 and Howsam as GM in 1967-78. However he also mentioned Larry McPhail who helped build the 1939-40 champs and Bill McKechnie as Reds manager had much to do with the Reds becoming winners. Similarly, ownership didn't get in Howsam's way as GM, and the Howsam built Reds didn't win a title until Howsam hired Sparky Anderson as manager.
Unfotunately, the current Reds have no Mathewson, no Crosley, no Howsam; they have no McPhail or McKechnie or Anderson either.
Just a terrific post by WOY. :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: