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View Full Version : Former Reds Catcher Ed Bailey Dead At 75



savafan
03-25-2007, 06:03 AM
http://www.wric.com/Global/story.asp?S=6275379

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. Ed Bailey, an All-Star catcher with the Cincinnati Reds in the 1950s, died of cancer on Friday. He was 75 and suffered from throat cancer.

The five-time All-Star catcher started his professional career with the Reds in 1953. Bailey hit 28 home runs in 1956 for Cincinnati, including three in one game. He went on to play for the Milwaukee Braves, the Chicago Cubs and the California Angels, appearing in his final game in 1966.

RANDY IN INDY
03-25-2007, 08:48 AM
Bailey was one of the guys that was really fun to be around at Reds Fanatasy Camp. He was gruff and pointed with his comments and really kept things stirred up. He and Nuxhall went at it all week. Sad to hear the news.

RIP "Gar."

westofyou
03-25-2007, 09:35 AM
http://baseballminutia.com/blog/2006/08/29/the-trade/


April 27, 1961
Traded Ed Bailey to the San Francisco Giants. Received a player to be named later, Bob Schmidt, and Don Blasingame. The San Francisco Giants later sent Sherman Jones to the Cincinnati Reds to complete the trade.

Ed Bailey was a fan favorite, a slugging catcher whose slow southern drawl was a good fit in a town that bordered the south. His bat made his reputation, and somehow in the midst of that he was known as possessing a strong arm. However the prior three years to the 1961 season had shown a rise in stolen bases and a drop in home runs, the game was changing. As was the Reds front office, Bill DeWitt was a Rickey man, which meant that he valued youth and speed, something that Ed Bailey had neither of. On April 15th Ed Bailey paid his taxes like every other American, he also turned 30, which in the world of Rickey men was the proverbial “coach into a pumpkin” moment. Sensing a change in Bailey as well as the speed game DeWitt traded Bailey to the Giants (A team that was picked to finish ahead of the Reds) for a 30-year-old middle infielder Don Blasingame (Law #1 Rickey men would often bend their own rules to fix holes) a catcher who had just turned 28 five days before the trade and a middle reliever.

A real head scratcher to many Reds fans, the season was early, surely there must time? Surely there had to be better deals out there, like a starting pitcher.

After all the Reds were 5-7 and in the pre-season Sporting News query, none of the over 200 baseball writers asked had picked the Reds to finish 1st, surely the move was made too soon, it smacked of desperation.

A month after the trade it looked like a wasted move, the replacement (Bob Schmidt) for the departing Bailey was bust, whereas Bailey had a bat that the Reds could count on Schmidt had no such thing, compiling a putrid .140/.229/.140 batting line in the month of May. Meanwhile rookie catcher Jerry Zimmerman who was earmarked as the backup was pushed into a role he wasn’t ready for, after Schmidt produced a line of .095/.208/.238 in June he was sent down and replaced by 23 year old Johnny Edwards who split the year with Zimmerman, the Reds catchers that season produced a .534 OPS, a huge drop from the .704 that Bailey and company had produced the prior year.

To compound matters the centerpiece of the trade for the Reds was 2nd Baseman Don Blasingame a man who up until 1960 had produced a robust .341 on base percentage in the National League, unfortunately his bat never made it to Cincinnati. Don batted as poorly as he ever would in the game and his .222/.287/.286/.573 line would have Reds fans pining away for Billy Martin, the man who was the first to go in Dewitt’s attempt to reshape the Reds when he took over in the late fall of 1960. The middle reliever (Sherman Jones) didn’t do to well either, appearing in only 55 innings that season and surrendering 2 home runs in his first appearance in a Reds uniform. The next year would be his last as he experienced the ultimate insult, being cut from the expansion New York Mets. In fact in two years the other two acquired players would be toiling for the Senators, the American Leagues answer to the Mets at the time.

From the onset it was an odd trade, from the Reds point of view it was not only odd, but a bad trade, they lost a steady starter with pop and got nothing to build on, Blasingame ended up being known as the man who was moved aside for Pete Rose, and essentially in the eyes of Reds fans he’s the Wally Pip of Reds lore. Meanwhile the starting catcher that the Giants were obtaining began to show his warts, namely a bum arm and declining batting skills. Bailey produced his lowest on base percentage and power numbers as a starter, but it was his arm that worried the Giants, the league was changing running was sneaking back into the offense of many teams and with that occurring the need to have a healthy arm behind the plate was an important need, especially if the team to the south was going to run on you every time the chance arose. In hopes of finding a problem with Bailey’s wing x-rays were taken, but alas nothing was found. Bailey’s descent was more or less natural. The Rickey men had forecasted his path and 1961 would be the last year that Ed was a fulltime catcher.

In the end the Reds would jump from a .435 winning percentage in 1960 to first place and a .604 winning percentage in 1961, cementing that team in the hearts of the locals who had been patiently waiting for a championship of any kind since 1941, the odd trade faded into the background and the players involved followed shortly after. Meanwhile the Reds and Giants would do battle the following year with the Dodgers, neither missing the men that had been such a major part of “The Trade.”

RANDY IN INDY
03-25-2007, 01:10 PM
I have heard that Reds management had "other" reasons for the Bailey trade besides baseball.

westofyou
03-25-2007, 01:38 PM
I have heard that Reds management had "other" reasons for the Bailey trade besides baseball.

Quite possible, that would be the reason you take a chance with losing a skill position guy. Sometimes the move has to be made for the non baseball reason, it is after all a workplace and you can bet the inmates behavior is/was and always will be observed with the health of the organization (or its crown jewels)

Stingray
03-25-2007, 03:37 PM
Wasn't Bailey from Strawberry Plains, Texas?

RedFanAlways1966
03-25-2007, 03:44 PM
Wasn't Bailey from Strawberry Plains, Texas?

Yes, according to the Baseball Encyclopedia. Born April 15, 1931. April 15... the same day taxes are due, Abraham Lincoln died and the Titantic sunk.

redsupport
03-25-2007, 05:00 PM
Sherm Jones was unmercifully exposed tothe rigors of the 1962 expansion draft and was rapaciously selected by the Metropolitans

RANDY IN INDY
03-25-2007, 05:29 PM
Wasn't Bailey from Strawberry Plains, Texas?

I thought it was Strawberry Plains, Tennessee. Pretty sure of it.

westofyou
03-25-2007, 07:15 PM
I thought it was Strawberry Plains, Tennessee. Pretty sure of it.

Gar is from Tennessee, IIRC he might have went to UT briefly

Mutaman
03-28-2007, 08:37 PM
I seem to recall reading somewhere that back in the 50's, the Red's spring training ball park had segregated seating, and that Bailey would insist on sitting in the nonwhite section, an action which caused the park to integrate the stands? Or maybe the "white" and "colored" sections were divided by a rope, and one day Bailey went and pulled down the rope.

Does anybody have any knowledge about this?

Mutaman
03-28-2007, 08:56 PM
I found it:

According to Jules Tygiel in Baseball's Great Experiment, while in Tampa for Spring Training in 1955:


...after being removed from a game, [pitcher Brooks Lawrence] and catcher Ed Bailey entered the stands to watch the remainder of the contest. A rope separated the black and white sections and while Bailey sat on the white side, Lawrence sat next time him on the black. "Boy, this is stupid,' exclaimed Bailey, a Tennessean. "I'm gonna change this." The catcher removed the rope and, according to Lawrence, no one ever reattached it.

Yachtzee
03-29-2007, 12:07 AM
I found it:

According to Jules Tygiel in Baseball's Great Experiment, while in Tampa for Spring Training in 1955:


...after being removed from a game, [pitcher Brooks Lawrence] and catcher Ed Bailey entered the stands to watch the remainder of the contest. A rope separated the black and white sections and while Bailey sat on the white side, Lawrence sat next time him on the black. "Boy, this is stupid,' exclaimed Bailey, a Tennessean. "I'm gonna change this." The catcher removed the rope and, according to Lawrence, no one ever reattached it.

That's a pretty cool move. I think that's what I will now remember him for from now on. RIP Ed Bailey.