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WVRedsFan
08-27-2010, 12:49 AM
During the 1961 season, I was 12 years old and had found a new love in the Cincinnati Reds. My father had been a Reds fans all his life and I can remember listening to Waite Hoyt by the radio as long as I could remember. But there was a difference. The Reds were surprising everyone by winning, challenging the hated Los Angeles Dodgers, and having a good shot at the NL pennant and a trip to the World Series. It was a nip and tug affair all season. As late as August 26, 1961, the Reds were only 1.5 games up on the Dodgers, and the lead fluctuated between that and 2 games until September 8th when they pulled away. The lead fell as low a 1 game and Dad and the rest of this once loyal Reds town panicked. but by September 20th, they were up by 5 games and never looked back winning the penant by 4 games.

Why do I bring this up? Mainly because this season is so similar. Coming into 1961, not one writer or person gave the Reds much of a chance. They had added Joey Jay and had some pitching prospects in Jimmy O'Toole and Jim Maloney, and had reliable Bob Purkey. Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson were good players, but could they win the pennant? They didn't have a reliable catcher, and the infield was suspect. Sixth place was the consensus.

The 2010 team has a similar resume. Losers for ten long years, everyone had them picked third. Earlier, Walt Jocketty, who was maligned by many fans, came on and got to work adding Scott Rolen, Orlando Cabrerra, Ramon Hernandez, and others just like Bill DeWitt had added Joey Jay and others to that team. The scary part? At 127 games played, the 1961 had a 76-51 record and led the NL by 2.5 games. This team stands at 73-54 and 4 games up. On August 26, 1961, the Reds were 76-52 and only 1.5 games up. Uncanny.

I see a repeat of that first season where I started paying attention to the Reds. Listening to the Dodgers lose and lose only to win many in a row and the Reds doing the same, it's almost like I'm 12, playing Babe Ruth League baseball and getting home in time to catch the last 4 innings (games started at 8:05 at Crosley back then). There were no transistor radios then, so you got in the house, turned on the Zenith console and listened to Waite and Gene Kelley. It was exciting just like this year. And I remember Dad firing Fred Hutchinson maybe 100 times during the season.

The 1961 World Series was a disappointment, but even it it happens this year, I won't care. Just like that year when I was in the 7th grade, games are something to look forward to. It's been a long time since I could say that.

VR
08-27-2010, 01:34 AM
That was fantastic WV, well done!

sabometrics
08-27-2010, 01:39 AM
In 1961 my parents weren't even in junior-high O_O

Thanks for insight like this, because I'm not a huge Reds history buff past the 70's and these are the kind of posts that really help me learn about the history of the team pre-machine.

Heath
08-27-2010, 07:02 AM
For an insider's look at the '61 season, read Pennant Race by Jim Brosnan.

I am.

I also have only read it 3 million times before.

redsmetz
08-27-2010, 07:46 AM
For an insider's look at the '61 season, read Pennant Race by Jim Brosnan.

I am.

I also have only read it 3 million times before.

It's a great book and Brosnan ran rings around Bouton. I'd highly recommend it, a great read.

I was six during the entire '61 season, so I don't remember the season itself, but coupled with the photo finish of the 1964 season, I always had the sense we had a decent ballclub (we finished over .500 in all but 1960 and 1966) even though we finished out of the money the rest of that decade. It's funny because I'm always surprised that my oldest daughter doesn't remember the 1990 season, but then again, she had just turned seven during that year, so it's much the same for me.

I talked to Jim O'Toole at the start of last season and I told him I thought the pitchers we saw with the club were the best since his squads. He agreed and we've only improved the staff since then.

This is proving to be a very fun season. Lets hang on to our hats and enjoy it.

cumberlandreds
08-27-2010, 07:55 AM
That's a good historical perspective WV. :thumbup: The 1961 season was two years before I was born so I don't have any first hand knowledge of that team. I have read Brosnan's book but that was a long time ago now. I'm sure that had to be a fun season.

westofyou
08-27-2010, 09:08 AM
Mike Leake = Ken Hunt
Homer Bailey=Jim Maloney
Joey Votto=Frank Robinson

Heath
08-27-2010, 09:19 AM
Mike Leake = Ken Hunt
Homer Bailey=Jim Maloney
Joey Votto=Frank Robinson

Bronson Arroyo = Joey Jay.

I hope Mike Leake pitches a lot longer in the bigs than Ken Hunt.

westofyou
08-27-2010, 09:21 AM
Bronson Arroyo = Joey Jay.

I hope Mike Leake pitches a lot longer in the bigs than Ken Hunt.

Bronson Arroyo = Bob Purkey is my thinking

Brosnan= Rhodes

RichRed
08-27-2010, 09:50 AM
For an insider's look at the '61 season, read Pennant Race by Jim Brosnan.


One of my favorite books of all-time. Bless my mom who bought it for me at a yard sale for 50 cents when I was about 12.

I wasn't even alive in '61 but I feel like I know that Reds team better than almost any that's come after, thanks to that book.

Great post, WVRedsFan.

George Anderson
08-27-2010, 09:55 AM
One of my favorite books of all-time. Bless my mom who bought it for me at a yard sale for 50 cents when I was about 12.


What was so good about the book?

I may invest in it.

Heath
08-27-2010, 09:58 AM
Bronson Arroyo = Bob Purkey is my thinking

Brosnan= Rhodes

Actually I'd give the honor of Bill Henry to Rhodes. Both were left-handed and hard throwers.

We really don't have any veteran cagey right handers in the pen.

westofyou
08-27-2010, 09:59 AM
Another parallel of past Reds teams that succeeded is the 3rd baseman matrix

1919 - Henie Groh, aside from Roush the best Reds player, had previously played 2nd base and was moved to 3rd which was then a more defensive position than now and by 1919 was perhaps the best 3rd sacker in the league,

1939 - Bill Werber - came aboard to solidify the IF and that helped the Reds have the best defense in the league

1961 - Gene Freese - Obtained and 3rd sacker Kasko moves over to SS, adding some stability to the left side of the field, the Reds IF during this era was a mess, guys in, guys out, no stability.

1975 - Some guy named Pete moved to 3rd so a guy named George could get some ab's the rest is in your history books.

1990 - Sabo had come out of nowhere 2 years prior and helped provide some power and intensity to a team that was always a bridesmaid late in the 80's.

westofyou
08-27-2010, 10:00 AM
What was so good about the book?

I may invest in it.

Everything.

Mostly Hutch going ballistic and Lynch holding his hand

RichRed
08-27-2010, 10:34 AM
What was so good about the book?

I may invest in it.

Think "Ball Four" but about a decade earlier and with tamer language, only better because it's about the Reds.

It's basically a running diary of the '61 season, written by Reds reliever Jim Brosnan. Good writing, excellent insight into the team, some witty comments and observations that raised an eyebrow, such as "Winning ball games makes some players happy; cashing paychecks makes me delirious with joy." (Don't know if I'm remembering that exactly right but that's the gist.)

Plus, no ghostwriter. Brosnan wrote the whole thing himself.

WVRedsFan
08-27-2010, 11:44 AM
Bronson Arroyo = Bob Purkey is my thinking

Brosnan= Rhodes

I agree, though Joey Jay fits the mold, too. Purkey just won with that fluttering stuff and Arroyo does it with smoke and mirrors. Both had great baseball IQ's.

redsmetz
08-27-2010, 12:32 PM
What was the story with Ken Hunt? One year, did well, then gone. I see he played for a number of seasons in our minor league system after that. Just lost it?

westofyou
08-27-2010, 12:48 PM
What was the story with Ken Hunt? One year, did well, then gone. I see he played for a number of seasons in our minor league system after that. Just lost it?

Lost his curve, which was his pitch.

That team i covered awhile back here

http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=52244

HokieRed
08-27-2010, 01:09 PM
What we need now is another Ken Johnson, who came in in the middle of that season from KC and won about 6 starts in a row, giving the team a tremendous lift.
Oh, and I've been to two opening days in my 56 years of watching the Reds, 1961 and 2010. I'm hoping my luck holds. Good piece WVRedsfan.