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redsmetz
09-21-2006, 03:03 PM
Sometimes I forget how long the Internet has been around, but here's a story I found from 1997 in the Cincinnati Post about the 1982 season. Interesting read. BTW, the 1997 club finished in 3rd place in the Central Division, the year of Jack McKeon and Ray Knight.


The longest season

Reds' 1982 squad suffered 101 losses
By Mike Bass, Post staff reporter


As bad as the Reds are this year, they have a long way to go before matching another Reds club broken up at least partially because of financial reasons, the only team in franchise annals to lose 100 games.

The 1982 Reds finished 61-101, the worst record in the National League, just one year after compiling the best record in baseball - for what that was worth.

The 1981 season was shortened because of a players' strike and split into halves, and the Reds didn't win their division in either half, eliminating them from the makeshift postseason.

''The 1981 season took a real toll on our ballclub,'' says then-general manager Dick Wagner. ''Over the winter, we made various moves, some we wanted to, some we had to. Then things just went to pot.''

Four key members of the 1981 team left after the season, with the starting outfield relocating to New York. The Yankees acquired Dave Collins as a free agent and Ken Griffey in a trade for pitchers Fred Tolliver and Brian Ryder. The Mets picked up George Foster for pitchers Jim Kern and Greg Harris and catcher Alex Trevino.

The Reds did acquire an outfielder in Cesar Cedeno for a third baseman who would later return as a coach, Ray Knight.

Wagner says money was only partly responsible. He said Griffey wanted a long-term contract when the Reds were shying away from those - and were concerned about his knee. Wagner said Foster was offered one of the highest salaries in Reds history, for one to four years, but Foster wanted to be traded.

''George's production had fallen a bit,'' says Wagner. ''I could not build a market for a great trade, so we made a trade we thought was helpful.''

The '70s Big Red Machine was supposed to have evolved into a model emphasizing pitching, defense and speed. In 1982 Tom Seaver and Mario Soto would headline the rotation, and Tom Hume and Kern would lead a deep bullpen. Cedeno would solidify the young and talented outfielders, and Machine holdovers Davey Concepcion and Johnny Bench would anchor the lineup.

''I want to be in a World Series again,'' Bench said shortly after agreeing to a three-year contract just before the season. ''This is a team that, if every player does as well as he can, could be in the World Series.''

One key would be how the all-star catcher fared moving to third base at age 34. ''He wanted to play another position,'' says Wagner. ''I asked him if he would be willing to catch once a week, and he agreed to that. Bob Howsam, who was a consultant at the time, told me it was a bad move, and it proved to be true.'' Wagner said it set a bad precedent and limited manager John McNamara. As it turned out, Bench caught only one game that year.

Not that Wagner blames Bench for 1982. Plenty went wrong. Young outfielders Clint Hurdle (.206), Paul Householder (.211) and Duane Walker (.218) flopped. Soto (14-13) and reliever Ben Hayes (2-0) had the only winning records.

Wagner said drug use affected his club, but was ''maybe 5 percent or 10 percent'' of the problem.

He found another type of chemistry problem with Kern, seeing him as divisive to the clubhouse. He told the unhappy reliever to stay quiet and he'd try to trade him.

''We had a deal for two very fine young pitchers worked out while we were on the West Coast, and the general manager on the other club said he'd have to tell his manager first and probably wouldn't get him until the morning,'' Wagner says.

''That night, Kern unleashed a real blast at our club about how he was going to grow a beard (against club policy). ''The story moved on the West Coast, and the manager on that other club was also playing out there. He called his GM and said there was no way he'd make that deal.''

On Aug. 23, Kern went to the Chicago White Sox for infielder Wade Rowden and outfielder Leo Garcia. The Reds, well into the abyss by then, went on streaks of 0-9 and 9-33 to fall to fall to 40-73. Wagner replaced McNamara with Russ Nixon. ''I'd asked John to play some youngsters, and he agreed,'' said Wagner. ''Later, like so many managers, they resort to basic needs and play veterans, who can do better. We didn't get a good look at some of our kids.''

In 1983, Howsam returned.

Today, Wagner still stands behind his moves. ''I was probably the first guy to really run the risk of letting older players walk (out) on you. It was an experiment, and it cost me my job.''

Publication date: 05-08-97

redsmetz
09-21-2006, 03:07 PM
Regarding Ben Hayes, which is what led me to this story, I found this article from the Niagara Falls newspaper (his hometown):


What can you say about Ben Hayes? How about the fact the righty hurled 115 innings of Major League Baseball without committing a single error? Or the fact that his lifetime record, 6-6, makes him one of just three hurlers listed here who managed to meet or beat a .500 win-loss percentage?

Born and bred in Niagara Falls, Hayes was first trotted out in June 1982 by the Cincinnati Reds. He showed great promise that rookie season, posting a stellar ERA of 1.97 and a record of 2-0 in 45 2/3 innings of work.

But there is nothing more delicate than a pitcher's arm, and Hayes' sophomore campaign in 1983 proved disastrous. He lost six and won four, but his ERA shot up to a nauseating 6.49 as he gave up 50 earned runs in just 69 innings.

Sent packing by the Reds, Hayes failed to catch on anywhere else and his big league career ended as suddenly as it had begun.

The list of pitchers mangled by the Reds over the years would be a mile long sadly.

cumberlandreds
09-21-2006, 03:34 PM
1982 was the pits. As bad things are now I can remember back to that year and the present doesn't seem too awfully bad. Wagner was terrible pure and simple. He made everyone mad at him. It was his way or the highway. Most went the highway and it did eventually cost him his job. You can't replace a very good outfield,which the Reds had in 1981, with unproven(Householder) and inconsistent MLB players(Cedeno and Hurdle). The Big Red Machine was aging and was going to have to be torn apart. But it went to pot much faster than it had to be. The Reds did have the best record in MLB in 1981 only to go to 2nd worst in 1982(IIRC the Twins lost 102 games that season).
Still being a young fan at the time I had grown used to the Reds being a very good team every season. I started following the Reds in 1971(BTW a losing season) so I was used to a contender. 1982 was a real comedown and I got see how the other side lived like the Indians and Padres were in the 70's. It really didn't last that long. 1982 and 1983 were awful. But when Rose came back near the end of the 1984 season a breath of fresh air was infused into the franchise. All seemed better and it was. The Reds were contenders the rest of decade but seemed to always come in 2nd. But it was the big build up to the 1990 season when it all did come together. I will keep hoping that this franchise will find that spark that it did in 1984. Maybe it has and we just don't know it yet. I have seen the Reds in their full glory(the 70's) and go down in flames(82) only to rise back up again(90). They can and will rise again. You just have to hang in there. That's just a part of being a baseball fan.

Matt700wlw
09-21-2006, 05:43 PM
I was 2....

Maybe that's a good thing :D

Unassisted
09-21-2006, 06:40 PM
"The Yankees acquired Dave Collins as a free agent and Ken Griffey in a trade for pitchers Fred Tolliver and Brian Ryder. The Mets picked up George Foster for pitchers Jim Kern and Greg Harris and catcher Alex Trevino."

Those right there are some transactions to get upset about. Wagner gave up a lot of offense for what turned out to be not much return. Obviously, as the article indicates, it wasn't long before he mightily regretted the trade for Kern. And yet his view was that it was simply an experiment that cost him his job. Amazing.

goreds2
09-21-2006, 08:45 PM
Nice story. THANKS.

graveyard
09-22-2006, 08:26 AM
For as great as Howsam was the minor leagues sucked at that time and there were very few to replace the aging reds. I am not sure Howsam had many players drafted in his tenure that turnded out to be good Reds.

Roy Tucker
09-22-2006, 08:44 AM
I had the bad luck of having a lot of spare time through that early-mid 80's era plus being a huge Reds fan so I was a full season ticket holder. Got them in a block of 4 with 3 other guys. I probably went to 70+ home games in '82.

Imagine what has happened to the the Reds the last month stretching out over a whole season. But it was a good opportunity to drink beer often and hurl insults at both the home team and opposition. We were just a few aisles from WEBN's Wild Man Walker and his crew so we'd go stand with them every so often for entertainment.

MrCinatit
09-22-2006, 09:06 AM
I was 2....
Maybe that's a good thing :D

Gee. Thanks. I needed to feel older.

in '82, I was rooting for both the Phillies (Pete) and the Reds.
It was oh so difficult getting excited for the Reds that year - and it is difficult to make a 14-year-old baseball fanatic not get exicted. But, wow, they did it.
A couple of things I remember about that season:
I went to school with a Hurdle - he said Clint Hurdle was his cousin. Many doubted him, though I did not - why make something like THAT up?
I remember opening a pack of baseball cards that year, and the memory of TBRM still fresh in my mind. The first card in that pack was "Concepcion" - in a Royals uniform. I about fainted, until I realized it was the great Onix Concepcion.
When looking through my cards, my dad had the same reaction.

dougflynn23
09-22-2006, 11:07 AM
For as great as Howsam was the minor leagues sucked at that time and there were very few to replace the aging reds. I am not sure Howsam had many players drafted in his tenure that turnded out to be good Reds.
:) The Reds amateur drafting in the 1970s was abysmal. Most top picks didn't make it out of the lower levels of the minors. The Reds would only draft HS players who could run, a prequel to the "5 tool player" and passed on guys like Mike Schmidt, Buddy Bell, etc due to their lack of speed. They had better success with later picks like Dan Dreissen, Griffey, Will McEnaney, etc.

Regarding the Foster trade....at the time, it seemed like a good deal. Alex Trevino was a top prospect at a need position, Greg Harris was a quality young arm, and Jim Kern was an excellent late inning reliever. Foster had slipped a bit, and had also developed a reputation as a negative presence and as not giving a full effort. It didn't work out, but at the time it was not nearly as criticized as the Griffey trade.

BuckWoody
09-22-2006, 01:04 PM
Those were dark times but they only lasted three years, 1982-1984. From 1985 through 1995 they only had three losing seasons ('89, '91, & '93) and two of those sandwiched a World Championship. We're now "enjoying" our 6th straight losing season this year so I'm not sure which era is worse. Hopefully we'll enjoy a re-birth under B-Cast.

RedsBaron
09-22-2006, 02:23 PM
:) The Reds amateur drafting in the 1970s was abysmal. Most top picks didn't make it out of the lower levels of the minors. The Reds would only draft HS players who could run, a prequel to the "5 tool player" and passed on guys like Mike Schmidt, Buddy Bell, etc due to their lack of speed. They had better success with later picks like Dan Dreissen, Griffey, Will McEnaney, etc.



The Reds had about a twenty year run of an extraordinarily productive fram system. From 1956 through 1976 the Reds produced five NL Rookies of the Year in Frank Robinson ('56), Pete Rose ('63), Tommy Helms ('66), Johnny Bench ('68) and Pat Zachry ('76). The farm system also produced Vada Pinson, Curt Flood, Claude Osteen, Mike Cuellar, Jim O'Toole, Leo Cardenas, Johnny Edwards, Jim Maloney, Sammy Ellis, Tommy Harper, Tony Perez, Lee May, Gary Nolan, Hal McRae, Wayne Simpson, Dave Concepcion, Bernie Carbo, Don Gullett, Ross Grimsley, Ken Griffey Sr., Dan Driessen, Rawly Eastwick, and Will McEnaney, among others. That's a ton of Hall of Famers, MVPs, HR champs, batting champions, twenty game winners, ace relief pitchers, Gold Glovers and all stars.
When the farm system ceased to be as productive, the Reds ceased to win as much. Hardly surprising.

redsupport
09-22-2006, 03:29 PM
How about Mike Cuellar and Claude Osteen just given away for nothing

mth123
09-22-2006, 05:12 PM
:) Regarding the Foster trade....at the time, it seemed like a good deal. Alex Trevino was a top prospect at a need position, Greg Harris was a quality young arm, and Jim Kern was an excellent late inning reliever. Foster had slipped a bit, and had also developed a reputation as a negative presence and as not giving a full effort. It didn't work out, but at the time it was not nearly as criticized as the Griffey trade.

Sounds a lot like the current Dunn situation. Lets hope that history does not repeat itself.

NastyBoy
09-22-2006, 09:12 PM
A team that went from the best record in baseball in 1981 to the worst in 1982. Let's not forget Mario Soto went 14-13 with 13 CG on a team that lost 100 games. Davey Concepcion was the all-star game MVP.

The offense was horrible, with Danny Driessen batting cleanup and leading the team with 17 HR and 57 RBIs.

dougflynn23
09-23-2006, 01:33 PM
The Reds had about a twenty year run of an extraordinarily productive fram system. From 1956 through 1976 the Reds produced five NL Rookies of the Year in Frank Robinson ('56), Pete Rose ('63), Tommy Helms ('66), Johnny Bench ('68) and Pat Zachry ('76). The farm system also produced Vada Pinson, Curt Flood, Claude Osteen, Mike Cuellar, Jim O'Toole, Leo Cardenas, Johnny Edwards, Jim Maloney, Sammy Ellis, Tommy Harper, Tony Perez, Lee May, Gary Nolan, Hal McRae, Wayne Simpson, Dave Concepcion, Bernie Carbo, Don Gullett, Ross Grimsley, Ken Griffey Sr., Dan Driessen, Rawly Eastwick, and Will McEnaney, among others. That's a ton of Hall of Famers, MVPs, HR champs, batting champions, twenty game winners, ace relief pitchers, Gold Glovers and all stars.
When the farm system ceased to be as productive, the Reds ceased to win as much. Hardly surprising. :) Not disagreeing with you, just saying that Howsam's 1st round draft picks (Simpson was his 1st) were bad. The scouting was very good, and diamonds were uncovered, but his only 1st rounder that panned out was Don Gullett. All of the players bolded above were pre-Howsam and Concepcion was not drafted. Also, IMHO, it's hard to call Wayne Simpson a success....he was more a tragedy that Larry Shepard should have been shot for.

redsmetz
09-23-2006, 03:50 PM
Sounds a lot like the current Dunn situation. Lets hope that history does not repeat itself.

Well except that George Foster was 33, whereas Adam Dunn is only 25 right now. By the time he was 25, George Foster had hit a total of 40 home runs. Adam Dunn has hit that many this year alone and has nearly 200 homes (or almost five times what George Foster had). That's no knock on Foster, but Adam Dunn, despite how he frustrates folks, is a talent. I hope he continues with us. I think you're agreeing with me on that.

mth123
09-23-2006, 03:52 PM
Well except that George Foster was 33, whereas Adam Dunn is only 25 right now. By the time he was 25, George Foster had hit a total of 40 home runs. Adam Dunn has hit that many this year alone and has nearly 200 homes (or almost five times what George Foster had). That's no knock on Foster, but Adam Dunn, despite how he frustrates folks, is a talent. I hope he continues with us. I think you're agreeing with me on that.

I absolutely am agreeing. Good point about the ages.

RedsBaron
09-23-2006, 03:59 PM
:) Also, IMHO, it's hard to call Wayne Simpson a success....he was more a tragedy that Larry Shepard should have been shot for.

Wayne Simpson was a success for the scouting department and the farm system, as he had all star talent. The Reds just failed to take proper care of him. What could have been in the 1970s with a healthy rotation of Simpson, Nolan and Gullett, all of whom were overworked as young pitchers......

redsmetz
09-23-2006, 04:22 PM
Wayne Simpson was a success for the scouting department and the farm system, as he had all star talent. The Reds just failed to take proper care of him. What could have been in the 1970s with a healthy rotation of Simpson, Nolan and Gullett, all of whom were overworked as young pitchers......

All three of these pitchers were through before they were 30. What always surprises me is that Gary Nolan had ten seasons with the Reds, including winning 30 games for the Big Red Machine (15 wins both in 75 and 76). I always forget he was on the back to back teams.

mth123
09-23-2006, 04:48 PM
Wayne Simpson was a success for the scouting department and the farm system, as he had all star talent. The Reds just failed to take proper care of him. What could have been in the 1970s with a healthy rotation of Simpson, Nolan and Gullett, all of whom were overworked as young pitchers......

Just think what 3 All Star caliber pitchers would have meant to the 70's. With that starting 8, the team may never have missed the play-offs. There are some other what-ifs though:

- Maybe they make the playoffs in 71 and the May/Helms/Morgan/Geronimo/Billingham trade never happens.

- With no Trade then no Ed Armbrister in the 75 series.

- Maybe no trade for Foster.

- With no trades above, Tony Perez stays at 3B and doesn't make the Hall because he was a defensive liability. He may have the record for most errors at 3b.

- Rose never moves to 3B from the OF and by being pinned to a position he suffers in comparison to others at his position when remembered. Playing a lot of positions is part of his value in baseball history. Well, that and gambling.

- With those pitchers the Reds never trade for Tom Seaver and his no-hitter isn't part of Reds history.

- W/O Geronimo and Morgan and with Perez at 3B the Reds become a less impressive defensive team creating a whole different dynamic.

- W/O Geronimo, Bobby Tolan sticks around a while longer.

- W/O Foster and Morgan the run of MVPs in the 70s isn't so impressive.

- Maybe they win so much because of pitching that the "Big Red Machine" isn't the name we remember them by.

- With those pitchers, the bullpen becomes less important and Sparky never becomes Captain Hook. Clay Carroll, Pedro Borbon, Tom Hall, Rawly Eastwick and Will McEnaney become more minor figures.

- Pat Zachry doesn't come up and become Rookie of the Year.

- No trade for Freddie Norman (a personal favorite).

I could go on forever (it seems like I did). Kind of fun on a rainy boring Saturday afternoon.

Back to the topic, I agree that Simpson was a success.

redsmetz
09-23-2006, 05:27 PM
Just think what 3 All Star caliber pitchers would have meant to the 70's. With that starting 8, the team may never have missed the play-offs. There are some other what-ifs though:

- Maybe they make the playoffs in 71 and the May/Helms/Morgan/Geronimo/Billingham trade never happens.

- With no Trade then no Ed Armbrister in the 75 series.

- Maybe no trade for Foster.

- With no trades above, Tony Perez stays at 3B and doesn't make the Hall because he was a defensive liability. He may have the record for most errors at 3b.

- Rose never moves to 3B from the OF and by being pinned to a position he suffers in comparison to others at his position when remembered. Playing a lot of positions is part of his value in baseball history. Well, that and gambling.

- With those pitchers the Reds never trade for Tom Seaver and his no-hitter isn't part of Reds history.

- W/O Geronimo and Morgan and with Perez at 3B the Reds become a less impressive defensive team creating a whole different dynamic.

- W/O Geronimo, Bobby Tolan sticks around a while longer.

- W/O Foster and Morgan the run of MVPs in the 70s isn't so impressive.

- Maybe they win so much because of pitching that the "Big Red Machine" isn't the name we remember them by.

- With those pitchers, the bullpen becomes less important and Sparky never becomes Captain Hook. Clay Carroll, Pedro Borbon, Tom Hall, Rawly Eastwick and Will McEnaney become more minor figures.

- Pat Zachry doesn't come up and become Rookie of the Year.

- No trade for Freddie Norman (a personal favorite).

I could go on forever (it seems like I did). Kind of fun on a rainy boring Saturday afternoon.

Back to the topic, I agree that Simpson was a success.

Well, there's a thought...it's good thing their arms fell off when they did! And it's also good I missed that bus on March 14, 1966. Lord knows what would have happen if I'd made it!

(All kidding aside, one never knows what effects what, do we?)

mth123
09-23-2006, 05:32 PM
(All kidding aside, one never knows what effects what, do we?)

Hard to say what might have been. Might be some lesson in that. I'm glad we try though or it would be pretty boring on here.:devil: