Re: Have The Reds Ever had Pitching? Howsam Era-Act 3
Great stuff as usual.
A few thoughts......while Merritt, Grimsley, Simpson--and later Nolan and Billingham--would all complain about how Sparky didn't use them properly or give them enough chances, for the most part they were very ineffective once they left the Reds. Grimsley was the exception, as he had a couple of good seasons after he left Cincinnati, but Simpson did nothing, and Merritt really was through at age 28.
The trade of Grimsley may have cost the Reds the 1974 NL West title.
Billingham was great in 1973, but I wonder if his workload of pitching 293 innings and making 40 starts contributed to his inability to ever again be as effective. While he won 19 games in both 1973 and 1974, along with 15 in 1975, leading or tying for the team lead in wins each season, I can recall that Billingham was not very good down the stretch in '74, and he was not nearly as strong throughout '74 and '75 as he had been in '73. Maybe '73 was just his career year, but I believe his heavy workload that season may have haunted the Reds after that.
Gullett had a heavy workload at a very young age, which may have factored into his later arm woes and inability to stay healthy. The Reds made heavy use of all of their young arms--Gullett, Grimsley, Simpson, Nolan.
It's great to recall an era when every season the Reds had a deep and effective bullpen. I kind of took that granted until recent seasons.
"Hey...Dad. Wanna Have A Catch?" Kevin Costner in "Field Of Dreams."