Looking Back At Some Past REDS Opening Days
APRIL 11, 1961…Reds’ lefty Jim O’Toole is up to the task and throws a complete game four-hitter against the Cubs on Opening Day. First baseman Andre Rodgers supplies Chicago's only run with a HR in the third-inning. Cubs’ starter Glen Hobbie gets knocked around for seven runs and is chased from the game in the fifth-inning. Frank Robinson and Wally Post hit HR’s for the home team. Reds 7, Cubs 1.
APRIL 8, 1963…Reds’ rookie second baseman Pete Rose makes his major league debut on Opening Day at Cincinnati’s Crosley Field. Shortstop Leo Cardenas leads off the bottom of the first-inning and hits a fly to left field before Rose draws a four-pitch base-on-balls. Rose gets his career underway by sprinting to first base. Vada Pinson lines out to left field just before Frank Robinson crushes an Earl Francis pitch for a HR to put the Reds up quickly, 2-0. Reds win, 5-2, with Jim O’Toole picking up the complete game victory.
APRIL 13, 1964…The Reds bust loose with three runs with the aid of Bob Skinner’s two-run HR, but those runs come in the ninth-inning to finally knock Houston starter Ken Johnson out of the game. Jimmy Wynn’s two-run HR off Jim Maloney in the sixth-inning drives in the winning run. Colt 45’s 6, Reds 3.
APRIL 12, 1965…Reds’ lefty Jim O’Toole and Milwaukee’s Tony Cloninger go the distance but Cloniniger prevails with a two-hitter as the Reds fall, 4-2, on Opening Day. Braves’ catcher Joe Torre cracks two solo HR’s and veteran third baseman Eddie Mathews contributes a two-run blast in the sixth-inning. Pete Rose manages a single in the bottom of the first-inning and Deron Johnson homers in the sixth-inning to account for Cincinnati’s only two hits on the day.
APRIL 10, 1967…Reds’ pitchers Jim Maloney and Ted Abernathy combine to limit the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers to just six hits and a run in Cincinnati’s 6-1 win on Opening Day. Maloney goes seven innings before giving way to Abernathy. 'Abby' makes his Reds’ debut and whiffs four in his two innings of shutout relief. Spare outfielder Dick Simpson cracks a pinch-hit solo HR off veteran lefty reliever Ron Perransoki while batting for Maloney in the bottom of the seventh-inning.
APRIL 7, 1969…Pete Rose and newcomer Bobby Tolan belt HR’s off of the first two pitches served up by Don Drysdale in the bottom of the first-inning. Drysdale settles down and is able to pick up the win in the 3-2 Dodgers’ win over the Reds on Opening Day in Cincinnati. Twenty-year-old Reds’ pitcher Gary Nolan fans twelve batters in his seven innings of work but is tagged with the loss. Wayne Granger, who came from the Cardinals with Bobby Tolan for Vada Pinson during the off-season, makes his Reds’ debut and pitches the eighth-inning. Jim Merritt, acquired over the off-season from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for shortstop Leo Cardenas, pitches the ninth-inning.
APRIL 6, 1970…George ‘Sparky’ Anderson makes his managerial debut on the final Opening Day at Crosley Field. Expos’ starter Joe Sparma allows four fourth-inning runs by allowing HR’s to Lee May, Bernie Carbo, and Bobby Tolan. Defending batting champ Pete Rose gets his season off to a great start by banging out a double and a triple. Reds’ lefty Jim Merritt throws a complete game and allows just three hits and one run. Reds 5, Expos 1.
APRIL 5, 1971…The Cincinnati Reds play their first season opener at Riverfront Stadium before 51,702 fans in chilly temperatures hovering in the mid-40’s. The game features sloppy defense from Cincinnati with today’s third baseman, Woody Woodward, making three of the team’s six errors. Wayne Granger allows the Braves the go-ahead run in the seventh-inning in the 7-4 Braves’ win. Cecil Upshaw relieves Phil Niekro and throws four shutout innings to pick up the victory.
APRIL 7, 1975…Cesar Geronimo scores the winning run on George Foster’s pinch-hit single in the bottom of the fourteenth-inning to give the Reds a 2-1 win over the Dodgers at Riverfront Stadium. Reds’ starter Don Gullett makes a valiant effort and allows just 5 hits and one run in his 9 2/3 innings of work on a cold day in Cincinnati. Dodgers star reliever Mike Marshall takes over for Don Sutton in the eighth-inning and tosses five innings of two-hit shutout relief. The roof falls in on Charlie Hough while in his second inning of work. Pat Darcy gets the win after his two scoreless innings of work.
APRIL 8, 1976…The defending World Champion Big Red Machine Cincinnati Reds bust out of the gate on Opening Day by scoring eleven runs on fifteen hits. Pete Rose and Joe Morgan contribute to the fun with three hit apiece. Tony Perez drives in three runs. Astros’ starter J.R. Richard leaves the game after four innings, however, the Reds continue with the offensive assault by bombing Jose Sosa for five runs in the fifth-inning. Gary Nolan picks up the win. Reds 11, Astros 5.
APRIL 6, 1977…The grounds crew works to clear the field of four inches of snow that fell earlier in the day, but the game is able to start on time. Woodie Fryman, acquired over the off-season for Tony Perez, pitches just well enough in his 5 1/3 innings to pick up the win over the Padres. Reds 5, Padres 3.
APRIL 4, 1979…John McNamara enjoys his first Opening Day as a Reds’ manager until the Giants chase Tom Seaver off the mound while scoring eight runs in the second-inning. The Reds add to the pain by committing five errors on the day. Lefty ace Vida Blue goes the distance for San Francisco. Giants 11, Reds 5.
APRIL 8, 1981…Phillies’ reliever Tug McGraw enters the game with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth-inning and surrenders a base-on-balls to Danny Driessen allowing Ken Griffey to score the winning run. Tom Seaver allows just one run on six hits in his eight inning of work. Tom Hume picks up the win, Sparky Lyle gets tagged with the loss. Reds 3, Phillies 2.
APRIL 4, 1983…Gary Redus homers in the sixth-inning to tie the score at 4-4 after after the Reds had been down 3-0 after the second-innng. Reds’ ace Mario Soto settles down and leaves after eight innings. Eddie Milner scores the winning run on Dave Concepcion’s eighth-inning single. Reds 5, Braves 4.
APRIL 8, 1985…Reds’ player/manager Pete Rose drives in three runs and scores one run in the 4-1 win over the Montreal Expos on a cold, windy, rainy, and snowy afternoon in Cincinnati. Reds’ ace Mario Soto wins his third consecutive Opening Day assignment.
APRIL 6, 1987…The Reds bust the game open with nine runs in the fourth-inning, most of that damage coming against Expos’ starter Floyd Youmans. Barry Larkin, Eric Davis, and Terry Francona hit HR’s for Cincinnati in the 11-5 Reds win.
APRIL 3, 1989…The Reds win their seventh consecutive Opening Day game by defeating the Dodgers, 6-4. Right fielder Paul O’Neill goes four-for-four with a double and a HR and drives in three runs. Danny Jackson picks up the win.
APRIL 8, 1991…Reds’ manager Lou Piniella begins his sophomore year as the Reds manager after leading Cincinnati to a World Championship in 1990. Houston starter Mike Scott departs after allowing five runs in four innings. Astros’ catcher Craig Biggio and Reds’ shortstop Barry Larkin hit the only HR’s in the game. Tom Browning throws 8 1/3 innings and picks up the win. Reds 6, Astros 5.
APRIL 5, 1993…Over 55, 000 fans show-up on a chilly and misty day in Cincinnati to see the Reds defeat the Expos, 2-1. Jose Rijo throws eight innings of shutout ball before giving way to Rob Dibble. Left fielder Kevin Mitchell singles in the winning run in the fifth-inning. Expos’ right fielder Larry Walker belts a HR off Dibble in the ninth-inning to ruin Cincinnati’s shutout.
APRIL 26, 1995…We’re back to baseball after a 234-day players’ strike. The Cubs chase Jose Rijo out of the game in the sixth-inning. Barry Larkin’s eighth-inning HR scores Cincinnati’s only run. Cubs 7, Reds 1.
MARCH 31, 1998…Who woulda thunk? Who woulda thunk Cincinnati would be experiencing a high temperature of 78 degrees on Opening Day in March? The usually sure-handed Pokey Reese, subbing for injured shortstop Barry Larkin, commits four errors on the day including three errors in the third-inning. Reds’ reliever Ricardo Jordan goes to the mound in the seventh-inning and allows four walks and six earned runs before being yanked in favor of Gabe White. Padres 10, Reds 2.