Vada Pinson

Vada Edward Pinson Jr. (August 11, 1938 – October 21, 1995) was an American professional baseball player and coach. He played as a center fielder in Major League Baseball for 18 years, from 1958 through 1975, most notably for the Cincinnati Reds, for whom he played from 1958 to 1968. Pinson, who batted and threw left-handed, was primarily a center fielder who combined power, speed, and strong defensive ability.

Vada Pinson
Vada Pinson 1961
Pinson in 1961
Born: August 11, 1938
Memphis, Tennessee
Died: October 21, 1995 (aged 57)
Oakland, California
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
April 15, 1958, for the Cincinnati Reds
Last MLB appearance
September 28, 1975, for the Kansas City Royals
MLB statistics
Batting average.286
Home runs256
Runs batted in1,170
Career highlights and awards

Early life

Pinson was born in Memphis, Tennessee and his family moved to California when he was a child. He attended Oakland's McClymonds High School, a school attended by Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder Frank Robinson (a Pinson teammate in the major leagues for nine years), star centerfielder Curt Flood and Basketball Hall of Fame center Bill Russell). Pinson had interest in the trumpet in the school's band, to the point where he considered playing trumpet as a career, but his baseball coach George Powles convinced him otherwise, developing him into a player by cultivating his athletic ability and talent.

Professional career

Right before turning 18, he was offered a $4,000 bonus by the Cincinnati Redlegs, which he signed. He played two seasons in the minor leagues, playing with the Wausau Lumberjacks in the Northern League for 1956 (hitting .278 in 75 games) and the Visalia Redlegs in the California League the following year, hitting .367 with 209 hits in 135 games.[1][2]

After just two minor league seasons and still only 19 years old, he earned a spot on the Redlegs' 25-man roster out of spring training, making his major league debut on April 15, 1958 against the Philadelphia Phillies at home in Crosley Field.[3][4] Batting second and starting in centerfield, Pinson had one hit in five at-bats, his first hit a single off future Baseball Hall-of-Famer Robin Roberts.[5] Three days later, in the Redlegs' next game, he hit his first home run, a grand slam off Pittsburgh Pirates' starter Ron Kline at Forbes Field.[6] A slump in May that lowered his average to .194 resulted in him being sent to the Seattle Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League. He played in 124 games and hit .343 before being called up by the Redlegs, going .412 in twelve games in September. He finished the year with a .271 batting average in 27 games and 96 at-bats with a .352 OBP.

1959 was his first full year in the majors, and he responded with respectable numbers, having a .316 batting average and a .371 OBP on 154 games, with 131 runs, 205 hits, 47 doubles (a league high) and 20 home runs with 21 stolen bases. He had an .880 OPS. He was selected to both All-Star Games played that year (not playing in the first while pinch running in the second)[7] and finished 15th in Most Valuable Player voting. He led the National League in putouts as an outfielder with 423.

The following year, he played in 154 games again while having 107 runs on 187 hits, 37 doubles (a league high), 20 home runs, 61 RBIs, and 32 stolen bases on a .287 batting average and .339 OBP while finishing 18th in MVP voting. He had an OPS above 800 once again, having an .811 OPS. He led the league again in putouts with 401. He was named to both of the All-Star Games that year, batting once in the first game and having no at-bat in the second game.[8][9] However, the Reds went 67-87 and 6th in the National League. This was the worst season in terms of record in Pinson's tenure.

1961 was much of the same in consistent production, playing in all 154 games for the third straight year while having 208 hits (a career high and league high) on 607 at-bats with 101 runs, 34 doubles, 16 home runs and 87 RBIs on a .343 batting average and .379 OBP. He finished 3rd in the MVP voting while receiving a Gold Glove, his only career win. He had a career high .883 OPS. He finished 2nd for the batting title to Roberto Clemente, who edged him out by eight percentage points. For the third year in a row, he led the league in putouts with 391. That year, the Reds won the league pennant, going 93-61 (a 26 game improvement) while gaining the right to play the New York Yankees in the 1961 World Series. Pinson had two hits in 22 at-bats for a .091 batting average as the Reds lost to the Yankees in five games.

The following year, he played 155 games (with this being the first season of the National League having 162 games), having 181 hits with 107 runs, 31 doubles, 23 home runs, 100 RBIs, 26 stolen bases on a .292 batting average and a .341 OBP. He had a .817 OPS, his fourth straight year with an OPS above 800. He had 344 putouts as an outfielder, 5th best in the league. However, his season was marred by an embarrassing incident in which he took a swing at club reporter Earl Lawson, who suggested that Pinson would be able to hit for .350 if he went for bunts every so often instead of going for home runs along with questionable fielding.[10]The charges were dropped, but Pinson stated that this was the most embarrassing moment of his career.

For 1963, he played in all 162 games, the only time he would do so in his career. Accordingly, he had 204 hits (a league high), 37 doubles, 14 triples (a league high), 23 home runs, 106 RBIs and 27 stolen bases on a .313 batting average and a .347 OBP. For the fifth (and final) straight year, he had an OPS above 800, slugging a percentage of .861. He had 357 putouts an outfielder, 3rd most in the league. On September 11, 1963, Pinson recorded his 1,000th career hit, doing so on a home run against Claud Raymond of the Milwaukee Braves.[11] He finished 10th in MVP voting. Robinson noted in his autobiography Extra Innings a story of him and Pinson inviting then rookie Pete Rose to dinner during the season while helping to show him the ropes around the team and league. Pinson allegedly grabbed Lawson by the neck and pushed him against a wall in September of 1963, with Lawson filling assault and battery charges, although the trial ended in a hung jury three months later.[12][13] Lawson also described Pinson as a rare talent like Mickey Mantle that "combined speed with power...Pinson, one of the most graceful runners ever to put on a baseball uniform, gave the appearance of gliding across the ground, his feet barely touching the surface."[14]

Pinson played in 156 games the following year, having 166 hits (his lowest at this point in his career) while having 23 doubles and home runs, 84 RBIs, eight stolen bases and 99 strikeouts (a career high) with a .266 batting average and a .316 OBP. He had 299 putouts as an outfielder, 5th most in the league. He finished 18th in MVP voting. The Reds finished 92-70 that year, one game behind the St. Louis Cardinals and tied with the Philadelphia Phillies, who took both games in the final series of the season. Pinson had 1,177 hits before he turned 26, which is fifth most all time, with the four ahead of him (Ty Cobb, Mel Ott, Al Kaline, and Freddie Lindstrom) all being in the Hall of Fame. Additionally, he had more hits in before being 26 than hitters such as Alex Rodriguez, Robin Yount, Hank Aaron, Jimmie Foxx and Buddy Lewis.[15]

1965 was a fair improvement for Pinson, as he played in 159 games while having 728 plate appearances and 669 at-bats, both career highs. He had 204 hits (2nd in the league) and 97 runs with 34 doubles and 22 home runs with 94 RBIs with a .305 batting average, .352 OBP and a .836 OPS. This was the final year with his teammate Frank Robinson, as Bill DeWitt traded him to the Baltimore Orioles on December 9, 1965.

The following year, he played in 156 games while having 178 hits, 35 doubles, 16 home runs, 76 RBIs, with a .288 batting average, .326 OBP and .768 OPS. Although he was 4th in putouts as an outfielder with 344, he committed 13 errors, 2nd most in the League.

For 1967, he played in 158 games, having 187 hits, 90 runs, 28 doubles, 13 triples (a league high), 18 home runs, 66 RBIs, 26 stolen bases (4th in the League), with a .288 batting average, .318 OBP and a .771 OPS. He had 341 putouts as an outfielder (with 338 as a centerfielder), 2nd most in the League, with a decrease in errors to five.

The following year (described by some as "The Year of the Pitcher") was his final season with the Reds. He played 130 games, his least with the team in a full season, having 60 runs, 135 hits, 29 doubles, six triples, five home runs, 48 RBIs, 17 stolen bases, with a .271 batting average, .311 OBP, and a .694 OPS (his lowest as a Red). His putout total of 271 was also a career low for him in a full season, although he did have a .978 fielding percentage. On May 22, 1968, Pinson collected a double off Dave Giusti of the Houston Astros to pass Edd Roush (who had 1,784 hits with Cincinnati) for most hits as a Red. He retained the record for four seasons until Pete Rose passed him on September 1, 1972.[16] The Reds finished 83-79 that year, with Pinson finishing his Reds career on the final game on September 29, where he went 1-for-2 with a walk.[17] On October 11, he was traded by the Reds to the St. Louis Cardinals for Wayne Granger and Bobby Tolan. Since the trade in 1968, numerous players have worn his jersey number of 28, from Tolan (who Pinson was traded for) to Anthony DeSclafani, the current wearer.[18] In eleven years with the Reds, he had played in 1,565 games, garnering 1,881 hits on 6,335 at-bats while having 342 doubles, 186 home runs, 814 RBIs with 221 stolen bases for a .297 batting average. His numbers for the remaining seven year career were not as consistent, although he maintained fair production.

Later career (1969-1975)

In his only year with the Cardinals, he played in 123 games while having 126 hits, 58 runs, 22 doubles, 10 home runs, 70 RBIs on a .255 batting average (his 2nd lowest for his entire career) while having a .303 OBP and .686 OPS. Although he played in just 1,090.2 innings, he had a .996 fielding percentage as an outfielder (with just one error all season), 1st in the league. Pinson recorded his 2,000th hit off Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Joe Gibbon in the bottom of the 7th inning on September 18, 1969.[19]

He moved onto the Cleveland Indians for the 1970 season. He played in 148 games while having 164 hits, 74 runs, 28 doubles, a career-high 24 home runs, 82 RBIs on a .286 batting average, .319 OBP and .800 OPS (his highest since 1965). The following year, he played in 146 games, having 149 hits, 60 runs, 23 doubles, 11 home runs and 35 RBIs while stealing 25 bases (5th most in the American League) with a .263 batting average, .295 OBP, and a .672 OPS. He was third in both assists as a center fielder and errors committed, with nine and five respectively. On October 5, he was traded by the Indians (along with Frank Baker and Alan Foster) to the California Angels for Alex Johnson and Jerry Moses.

Vada Pinson 1972.jpeg
Pinson in 1972

For 1972, he played in 136 games while having 133 hits and 56 runs with 24 doubles, seven home runs, 49 RBIs, 17 stolen bases on a .275 batting average, a .321 OBP, and .697 OPS. In left field, he had 10 assists in his 112 games played at the position, with the former category being 2nd in the League, while turning three double plays, a league high. He regressed slightly the following year, playing in just 124 games while having 121 hits, 56 runs, 14 doubles, eight home runs, 57 RBIs with five stolen bases on a .260 batting average, .286 OBP and a .653 OPS. He appeared in under 1,000 innings on the field (having 997.2), the first time this occurred since his rookie year in 1958. His totals would go down the following two seasons. He was traded by the Angels on February 23, 1974 for Barry Raziano and cash.

In 115 games with the Royals the ensuing season, he had 112 hits, 46 runs, 18 doubles, 41 RBIs, 21 stolen bases for a .276 batting average, .312 OBP, and a .686 OPS. He played most of his games at right field (with occasional games at left or center), logging in 860 combined innings while having a .980 fielding percentage. In his final season in 1975, Pinson played in just 103 games, having 71 hits, 37 runs, 14 doubles, four home runs with 21 RBIs, five stolen bases with a .223 batting average, .248 OBP, and a .583 OPS. He played 629 total innings in the field, a good chunk in right field, while having a .993 fielding percentage, with five games played at DH. In his final game on September 28, 1975 against the Texas Rangers, he replaced Amos Otis in center field and played the position for three innings, having one at-bat against Stan Perzanowski in the 6th, grounding out.[20] On December 15, he was released by the team. He was signed as a free agent by the Milwaukee Brewers, but he was released by the team on April 4, four days before the season started.

Career statistics

In an 18-year career, playing for the Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians, California Angels, and Kansas City Royals, Pinson appeared in 2469 games, compiling a .286 batting average, with 2757 hits, 1365 runs, 485 doubles, 127 triples, 256 home runs, 1169 RBI, 305 stolen bases, 574 walks, .327 on-base percentage and .442 slugging percentage. He had four 200+ hit seasons in 1959, '61, '63 and '65, batting over .300 in each season. He recorded a career .981 fielding percentage and was a two-time gold glove winner (1961 and 1962).[21] [22]

Coaching career

Highly respected throughout the game, he was later a coach for the Seattle Mariners (1977–80; 1982–83), Chicago White Sox (1981), Detroit Tigers (1985–91), and Florida Marlins (1993–94) after his playing days ended. He coached on the inaugural editions of two expansion teams, the Mariners (1977) and the Marlins (1993).[23][24]

Personal life

He became eligible for the Hall of Fame in 1981. In his 15 years on the ballot, his highest ballot total was 15.7% in 1988. He fell off the ballot in 1996, receiving just 10.9% of votes.

He had three daughters, Valerie, Kimberly and Renee, and son Vada Pinson III.[25]

Pinson retired from baseball entirely after the 1994 season. On October 5, 1995, he was admitted to an Oakland hospital after suffering a stroke. He died on October 21, 1995.[26] He was interred at Rolling Hills Memorial Park, Richmond, California.[27]

See also


  1. ^ "Vada Pinson | Society for American Baseball Research". Retrieved 2019-01-02.
  2. ^ "Vada Pinson Minor Leagues Statistics & History". Retrieved 2019-01-02.
  3. ^ "Vada Pinson Stats". Retrieved 2019-01-02.
  4. ^ "Philadelphia Phillies at Cincinnati Redlegs Box Score, April 15, 1958". Retrieved 2019-01-02.
  5. ^ "Philadelphia Phillies at Cincinnati Redlegs Box Score, April 15, 1958". Retrieved 2019-01-02.
  6. ^ "Cincinnati Redlegs at Pittsburgh Pirates Box Score, April 18, 1958". Retrieved 2019-01-02.
  7. ^ "1959 All-Star Game Box Score by Baseball Almanac". Retrieved 2019-01-02.
  8. ^ "1960 All-Star Game Box Score by Baseball Almanac". Retrieved 2019-01-02.
  9. ^ "1960 All-Star Game Box Score by Baseball Almanac". Retrieved 2019-01-02.
  10. ^ "Pinson Clips Writer at Forbes Field: Reds Star Angry About Article on Sluggish Play". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (AP story). June 21, 1962.
  11. ^ "Milwaukee Braves at Cincinnati Reds Box Score, September 11, 1963". Retrieved 2019-01-02.
  12. ^ "Pinson Facing Assault Charge". The News-Dispatch. September 5, 1963.
  13. ^ "New Trial Is Slated for Pinson". Beaver County Times (UPI story). December 13, 1963.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Batting Season & Career Finder". Retrieved 2019-01-02.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "San Francisco Giants at Cincinnati Reds Box Score, September 29, 1968". Retrieved 2019-01-02.
  18. ^ "Cincinnati Reds Uniform Numbers". Retrieved 2019-01-03.
  19. ^ "Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals Box Score, September 18, 1969". Retrieved 2019-01-03.
  20. ^ "Kansas City Royals at Texas Rangers Box Score, September 28, 1975". Retrieved 2019-01-03.
  21. ^ Edes, Gordon (October 23, 1995). "Pinson, Former Reds Star And Marlins Coach, Dies". The (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 2019-01-03.
  22. ^ "Vada Pinson Stats". Retrieved 2019-01-03.
  23. ^ Eastham, Cliff. "Vada Pinson, the Most Underrated Baseball Player Ever". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  24. ^ "Vada Pinson Stats". Retrieved 2019-01-03.
  25. ^ Ap (1995-10-24). "Vada Pinson, 57, Cincinnati Outfielder in 60's". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-03.
  26. ^ Ap (1995-10-24). "Vada Pinson, 57, Cincinnati Outfielder in 60's". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-03.
  27. ^ The Baseball Necrology

External links

1961 Cincinnati Reds season

The 1961 Cincinnati Reds season was a season in American baseball. It consisted of the Reds winning the National League pennant with a 93–61 record, four games ahead of the runner-up Los Angeles Dodgers, but losing the World Series in five games to the New York Yankees. The Reds were managed by Fred Hutchinson, and played their home games at Crosley Field. The Reds were also the last team to win the National League in the 154-game schedule era, before going to a 162-game schedule a year later.

Cincinnati's road to the World Series was truly a remarkable one, as the Reds went through significant changes in a single season to improve from a team that won just 67 games and finished 28 games behind the eventual World Series Champion Pittsburgh Pirates in 1960. The architect of the turnaround was the Reds' new general manager Bill DeWitt, who left his role as president and general manager of the Detroit Tigers after the end of the 1960 season to replace Gabe Paul as the Reds' GM. Paul was hired as the general manager of the expansion Houston Colt .45s.

DeWitt, who had a short history of successful trades in Detroit including acquiring Norm Cash and Rocky Colavito, went to work at the 1960 Winter Meetings for Cincinnati. DeWitt found trade partners in the Milwaukee Braves and the Chicago White Sox. In essentially a three-team trade, the Reds acquired pitchers Joey Jay and Juan Pizarro for slick-fielding shortstop Roy McMillan on Dec. 15, 1960. On that same day, the Reds then traded Pizzaro and pitcher Cal McLish to the White Sox for third baseman Gene Freese. It was the fourth time Freese had been traded in 18 months. Most recently, the White Sox had acquired Freese from the Philadelphia Phillies for future all star Johnny Callison in December 1959.

Reds owner Powel Crosley, Jr. died suddenly of a heart attack at his home in Cincinnati 13 days before the start of the season. DeWitt would eventually purchase 100% of the team ownership from Crosley's estate by year's end.

The Reds began the season with Freese at third base, sure-handed Eddie Kasko moved from third (where he played in 1960) to shortstop and long-time minor leaguer Jim Baumer at second base. Baumer was one of MLB's "feel good" stories. After playing in nine games with the White Sox in 1949 as an 18 year old rookie, Baumer returned to the minor leagues and didn't make it back to the big league for 11 years. The Reds drafted Baumer during the Rule 5 draft after the Pittsburgh Pirates left him unprotected. After a solid spring training with the Reds, Baumer was named starting second baseman to open the season. As the season began, expectations were low for the Reds among baseball "experts." The Reds won their first three games, but then went into a slump, losing 10 of 12. To the surprise of many, it was the Reds' offense that struggled most. Baumer in particular was hitting just .125. DeWitt then made a bold move on April 27, 1961, trading all-star catcher Ed Bailey to the San Francisco Giants for second baseman Don Blasingame, catcher Bob Schmidt and journeyman pitcher Sherman Jones. Blasingame was inserted as starter at second base, and Baumer was traded to the Detroit Tigers on May 10 for backup first baseman Dick Gernert. Baumer never again played in the majors.

On April 30, the Reds won the second game of a double-header from the Pittsburgh Pirates to begin a 9-game winning streak. Exactly a month after the trade of Bailey, the Reds began another win streak, this time six games, to improve to 26-16. Those streaks were part of a stretch where the Reds won 50 of 70 games to improve to 55-30. Cincinnati led Los Angeles by five games at the All Star break.

After the break, the Dodgers got hot and the Reds floundered. After the games of August 13, Los Angeles was 69-40 and led Cincinnati (70-46) by 2½ games, but six in the loss column as the Dodgers had played seven fewer games than the Reds due to multiple rainouts. On Aug. 15, the Reds went into Los Angeles to begin a three-game, two-day series highlighted by a double-header. In the first game of the series, Reds' righty Joey Jay bested Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers, 5-2, as Eddie Kasko had four hits and Frank Robinson drove in two for Cincinnati. In the Wednesday double-header, knuckle-baller Bob Purkey threw a four-hit shutout as the Reds won Game 1, 6-0. In Game 2, Freese hit two home runs off Dodgers' lefty Johnny Podres and Jim O'Toole hurled a two-hitter as the Reds completed the sweep with an 8-0 victory. The Reds left Los Angeles with a half-game lead. It was the Dodgers' fourth-straight loss in what would turn out to be a 10-game losing streak to put the Dodgers in a hole, while the Reds stayed in first-place the rest of the season.

The Reds clinched their first pennant in 21 years on Sept. 26 when they beat the Cubs, 6-3, in the afternoon and the Dodgers lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 8-0, in the second game of a doubleheader. The Reds earned a chance to face the mighty New York Yankees in the 1961 World Series.

Outfielders Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson led the Reds offense while starting pitchers Bob Purkey, Jim O'Toole and newcomer Joey Jay were the staff standouts. Robinson (37 homers, 124 RBI, 117 runs scored, 22 stolen bases, .323 average) was named National League MVP. Pinson (208 hits, .343 average, 101 runs scored, 23 stolen bases) and a Gold Glove recipient, finished third in MVP voting. Purkey won 16 games, O'Toole won 19 and Jay won an NL-best 21 games. Jay also finished a surprising fifth in NL MVP voting, one spot ahead of future Hall of Famer Willie Mays who hit 40 home runs and drove in 123 for the Giants, such was the respect the Baseball Writers had for Jay's contributions to the Reds' pennant.

At a position (3B) that the Reds had received little offensive production from in the recent years leading up to 1961, Freese provided a major boost, slugging 26 home runs and driving in 87 runs to go with a .277 average.

Hutchinson, a former MLB pitcher, was masterful in his handling of the pitching staff as well as juggling a lineup that included part-timers (and former slugging standouts) Gus Bell, Wally Post (20, 57, .294) as well as Jerry Lynch (13, 50, .315). For the second straight season, Lynch led the National League with 19 pinch hits. Hutchinson was named Manager of the Year.

1961 World Series

The 1961 World Series matched the New York Yankees (109–53) against the Cincinnati Reds (93–61), with the Yankees winning in five games to earn their 19th championship in 39 seasons. This World Series was surrounded by Cold War political puns pitting the "Reds" against the "Yanks." But the louder buzz concerned the "M&M" boys, Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle, who spent the summer chasing the ghost of Babe Ruth and his 60–home run season of 1927. Mantle finished with 54 while Maris set the record of 61 on the last day of the season. With all the attention surrounding the home run race, the World Series seemed almost anticlimatic.

The Yankees were under the leadership of first-year manager Ralph Houk, who succeeded Casey Stengel. The Yankees won the American League pennant, finishing eight games better than the Detroit Tigers. The Bronx Bombers also set a Major League record for most home runs in a season with 240. Along with Maris and Mantle, four other Yankees, Yogi Berra, Elston Howard, Bill Skowron, and Johnny Blanchard, hit more than 20 home runs. The pitching staff was also led by Cy Young Award-winner Whitey Ford (25–4, 3.21).

The underdog Reds, skippered by Fred Hutchinson, finished four games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League and boasted four 20-plus home run hitters of their own: NL MVP Frank Robinson, Gordy Coleman, Gene Freese and Wally Post. The second-base, shortstop, and catcher positions were platooned, while center fielder Vada Pinson led the league in hits with 208 and finished second in batting with a .343 average. Joey Jay (21–10, 3.53) led the staff, along with dependable Jim O'Toole and Bob Purkey.

The American League added two teams, the Los Angeles Angels and the Washington Senators, through expansion and also increased teams' respective schedules by eight games to 162. The National League was a year away from its own expansion as the Reds and the other NL teams maintained the 154-game schedule.

The Most Valuable Player Award for the series went to lefty Whitey Ford, who won two games while throwing 14 shutout innings.

Ford left the sixth inning of Game 4 due to an injured ankle. He set the record for consecutive scoreless innings during World Series play with 32, when, during the third inning he passed the previous record holder, Babe Ruth, who had pitched ​29 2⁄3 consecutive scoreless innings for the Boston Red Sox in 1916 and 1918. Ford would extend that record to ​33 2⁄3 in the 1962 World Series.

The 1961 five-game series was the shortest since 1954, when the New York Giants swept the Cleveland Indians in four games.

These two teams would meet again 15 years later in the 1976 World Series, which the Reds would win in a four-game sweep.

1969 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1969 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 88th season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 78th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 87–75 during the season and finished fourth in the newly established National League East, 13 games behind the eventual NL pennant and World Series champion New York Mets.

The resurgent Chicago Cubs, featuring players such as Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, and Billy Williams and helmed by fiery manager Leo Durocher, led the newly formed NL East for much of the summer before faltering. The Cardinals put on a mid-season surge, as their famous announcer Harry Caray (in what would prove to be his final season of 25 doing Cardinals broadcasts) began singing, "The Cardinals are coming, tra-la, tra-la". However, to the surprise of both Chicago and St. Louis, the Miracle Mets would ultimately win the division, as well as the league championship and the World Series.

1970 Cleveland Indians season

The 1970 Cleveland Indians season was the 70th season for the franchise. The club finished in fifth place in the American League East with a record of 76 wins and 86 losses.

1972 California Angels season

The 1972 California Angels season involved the Angels finishing 5th in the American League West with a record of 75 wins and 80 losses.

1996 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1996 followed the system in use since 1995. The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players but no one tallied the necessary 75% support.

The BBWAA had petitioned the Hall of Fame Board of Directors on January 5, 1995, to reconsider the eligibility of Larry Bowa, Bill Madlock, Al Oliver and Ted Simmons, each of whom had failed to receive at least 5% of ballots cast in each of their first years of eligibility (Bowa and Oliver in 1991, Maddlock in 1993 and Simmons in 1994). The Board approved, but before the ballot was released, the BBWAA decided not to include them on the ballot after all.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions and selected four people from multiple classified ballots: Jim Bunning, Bill Foster, Ned Hanlon, and Earl Weaver.

Barry Raziano

Barry John Raziano (born February 5, 1947) is a former professional baseball player who pitched in parts of the 1973 and 1974 seasons for the Kansas City Royals and California Angels, respectively, of Major League Baseball. Raziano was originally drafted by the New York Mets in the 47th round of the 1965 draft and was traded to Kansas City for Jerry Cram on February 1, 1973. Raziano was traded to the Angels for Vada Pinson and cash in February 1974 and made 13 appearances for them, also pitching for the Angels' AAA team at Salt Lake City in 1974 and 1975. After not pitching in 1976, his professional career ended with 20 relief appearances for the St. Louis Cardinals in AA New Orleans, 1977.

Cincinnati Reds award winners and league leaders

This article is a list of baseball players who are Cincinnati Reds players that are winners of Major League Baseball awards and recognitions, Reds awards and recognitions, and/or are league leaders in various statistical areas.

Earl Lawson (sportswriter)

Earl Lawson (February 1, 1923 – January 14, 2003) was an American sportswriter for newspapers in Cincinnati, Ohio. He covered the Cincinnati Reds from 1949 to 1984 and was inducted into the "writers wing" of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1985.

In 1949, Lawson first began covering the Cincinnati Reds for the Cincinnati Times-Star. He was the beat reporter for the Reds at the Times-Star from 1951 to 1958 and at The Cincinnati Post from 1958 to 1984. Lawson had a series of run-ins with the Reds in his early year as a beat reporter covering the team. In June 1953, manager Rogers Hornsby barred Lawson from the locker room after Lawson questioned Hornsby's decision not to replace a pitcher. In June 1957, Lawson got into a fight with Reds' second baseman Johnny Temple after a game in which Lawson, who also served as official scorer, charged Temple with a fielding error. Temple reportedly greeted Lawson with a "blistering barrage of profanity" and knocked Lawson to the ground before other players separated them. In June 1962, Reds' star outfielder Vada Pinson punched Lawson on the chin after Lawson wrote an article criticizing the Reds for lackadaisical fielding. Lawson joked to fellow reporters that, based on first-hand knowledge, Pinson was a harder puncher than Temple. After a second incident in September 1963 in which Pinson allegedly grabbed Lawson by the neck and pushed him against a wall, Lawson filed assault and battery charges against Pinson. A trial in December 1963 result in a hung jury. He was also a correspondent for The Sporting News for many years and wrote for The Saturday Evening Post during its days of using iconic Norman Rockwell covers. In 1976, he was elected as the president of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

In 1985, Lawson was honored by the Baseball Writers' Association of America with the J. G. Taylor Spink Award for distinguished baseball writing. Recipients of the Spink Award are recognized at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in what is commonly referred to as the "writers wing" of the Hall of Fame.In 1987, Lawson published his autobiography, Cincinnati Seasons: My 34 Years With the Reds. Lawson wrote in his autobiography that he had been able to live like a millionaire while being paid to do it. He recalled that he had "mingled with the sports celebrities of the world and formed friendships that I'll cherish forever ... I was a baseball writer."Lawson moved to Sacramento, California, in 2000 to live with his daughter, Lisa Helene Lawson (Damron). In January 2003, he died of cancer and was interred in Arlington National Cemetery July 3, 2003.

Jack Heidemann

Jack Seale Heidemann (born July 11, 1949 in Brenham, Texas) is a former right-handed Major League Baseball shortstop who played from 1969 to 1977 with the Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers. He attended Brenham High School. He is also the uncle of Brett Bordes, a former minor league pitcher in the Baltimore Orioles organization. He is also related to Bordes' father, Charles Bordes – who played minor league baseball – and grandfather, Bill Cutler, who is the former president of the Pacific Coast League.Originally drafted 11th overall by the Indians in 1967, he made his debut on May 2, 1969 at the age of 19. The sixth youngest player that year in the Majors, he appeared in three games, collected three at-bats and hit .000 in that time.

In 1970, as the ninth youngest player in the league, Heidemann-at 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) and 178 pounds-took the starting job at shortstop away from Larry Brown. As the team's starter, he hit only .211 with six home runs, although he did collect a hit in his first at-bat of the season. He was the only starting player not to hit 10 home runs for the 1970 Indians. He kept his job through the 1971 season, for the most part. In 81 games that year, he hit only .208 with no home runs and nine RBI. This former first round draft pick obviously wasn't living up to what was expected of him. He was injured for some time during the 1971 season, suffering from a concussion and knee injury. He suffered the concussion on May 17, when Tommy McCraw hit a 140 (one source says 250) foot pop fly that should have been an out. Instead, Heidemann, Vada Pinson and John Lowenstein collided in the outfield, and McCraw actually got an inside-the-park home run.He played in only 10 games in 1972, relinquishing his starting job to Frank Duffy. In those 10 games, he came to bat 20 times and hit only .150.

He did not play any Major League baseball in 1973. Although he was traded to the Oakland Athletics with Ray Fosse for Dave Duncan and George Hendrick, he was re-signed by the Indians before the 1974 season began.

1974 was Heidemann's best season, even though he hit only .247. He started the season out with the Indians, but after collecting only one hit in his first 11 at-bats, he was traded to the Cardinals for Luis Alvarado and Ed Crosby on June 1. His average skyrocketed while with the Cardinals-he hit .271 with them in 47 games.

He was traded to the Mets with Mike Vail for Ted Martínez during the 1974/1975 offseason.He spent most of 1975 on the bench, collecting 145 at-bats in 65 games. He hit .214 with one home run-his first since 1970-and 16 RBI.

He started the 1976 season with the Mets, but hit only .083 in his first 12 at-bats, so he was traded to the Brewers for minor leaguer Tom Deidel. With the Brewers that year, he hit .219 with two home runs. Overall, he hit .209 that year, collecting 10 RBI.

He finished his career in 1977, playing his final game on May 10 of that year. Used almost entirely as a defensive replacement/pinch runner in the five games he played that year, he collected no hits in one at-bat, although he did score a run.

Overall, he hit .211 in his career with 9 home runs and 75 RBI. He was a .966 career fielder. He compares most statistically to Alvarado, and he spent 5 seasons with Dick Tidrow, John Lowenstein and Phil Hennigan-longer than any other teammates. He collected his final hit off Dave Roberts and his final home run off Bill Lee.

Jerry Lynch

Gerald Thomas Lynch (July 17, 1930 – March 31, 2012), nicknamed "The Hat", was an American professional baseball outfielder and pinch hitter. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1954 to 1966 for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds.

He was born in Bay City, Michigan. After two years of military service, he made his Major League debut at age 23 on April 15, 1954 in a 7-4 Pirates' loss to the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field. Starting in right field and batting third, he had one hit in four at bats. In his first three at-bats he flied out twice and struck out once against Dodgers pitcher Russ Meyer. His first career hit came in the ninth inning off Meyer, as he singled and also drove in his first two runs.Lynch helped the Reds win the 1961 National League pennant. On September 26, 1961, he propelled the Reds into the World Series with his two-run home run off Cubs pitcher Bob Anderson, scoring Vada Pinson. He finished 22nd in voting for the 1961 NL MVP. He was hitless in three official at bats and four plate appearances during the 1961 World Series, which the Reds lost in five games to the New York Yankees.

Lynch is considered one of baseball's all-time best pinch hitters. He had 116 pinch hits during his career, which ranks him 10th on the all-time list. Lynch is third on the all-time pinch hit home run list (he was first when he retired) with 18, with five of those coming during the 1961 season while driving in 25 runs.Lynch was once quoted as saying, "The good pinch-hitter is the guy who can relax enough to get the pitch he can hit. You almost always do get one pitch to hit every time you bat. So you have to have the patience to wait. And then you've got to be able to handle the pitch when you get it."In 13 seasons, he played in 1,184 games with 2,879 at bats, 364 runs, 798 hits, 123 doubles, 34 triples, 115 home runs, 470 RBI, 224 walks, .277 batting average, .329 on-base percentage, .463 slugging percentage and 1,334 total bases.After his baseball career ended, Lynch partnered with former Pirates teammate Dick Groat to operate the Champion Lakes Golf Course in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. He retired to the Atlanta, Georgia area in the late 1980s. Lynch died on March 31, 2012 at age 81 in Atlanta. He was survived by his wife Alice, sons Mark, Keith and Gerald, and daughter Kimberly.

Jesse Gonder

Jesse Lemar Gonder (January 20, 1936 – November 14, 2004) was an American professional baseball player. A catcher, he appeared in 395 games in the Major Leagues over eight seasons (1960–67) for the New York Yankees, Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets, Milwaukee Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates. Gonder batted left-handed, threw right-handed, and was listed as 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) tall and 180 pounds (82 kg). He played for Baseball Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel with both the Yankees (1960) and Mets (1963–65).He was born in Monticello, Arkansas, but attended McClymonds High School in Oakland, California, alma mater of Basketball Hall of Fame center Bill Russell, as well as two of Gonder's future MLB teammates, Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson. Gonder signed with Cincinnati in 1955 and began his 15-year professional career. Acquired by the Yankees' Triple-A Richmond Virginians affiliate in 1960, he made his MLB debut that September and hit a pinch home run at Yankee Stadium off Bill Monbouquette for his first big-league hit on September 30. He was a member of the Yankees for the first weeks of the 1961 season as a pinch hitter before being sent back to Richmond for the rest of the year. The Reds then reacquired Gonder in an off-season trade for pitcher Marshall Bridges.

Assigned to the Triple-A San Diego Padres, Gonder led the 1962 Pacific Coast League in batting (.342) and runs batted in (116) and was named the PCL's most valuable player. He was recalled by Cincinnati that September, then spent the following four full seasons in the National League. Gonder batted over .300 in 1963 (.304) in part-time duty for the Reds and Mets, and was the Mets' regular catcher in 1964, starting behind the plate for 82 games and setting personal bests in home runs (seven) and runs batted in (35).

Gonder reverted to part-time status in 1965, and for the remainder of his big-league career played behind regular catchers Chris Cannizzaro, Joe Torre and Jim Pagliaroni. He was sent to Triple-A in June 1967 and wrapped up his pro career in 1969.

In the Majors, Gonder collected 220 hits, including 28 doubles, two triples and 26 home runs. Five of those home runs came as a pinch hitter.

List of Major League Baseball annual doubles leaders

Major League Baseball recognizes doubles champions in the American League and National League each season.

Mark Ballinger

Mark Alan Ballinger (January 31, 1949 – June 13, 2014) was an American Major League Baseball pitcher who appeared in 18 games, all in relief, for the 1971 Cleveland Indians. The right-hander stood 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m) tall and weighed 205 pounds (93 kg), and entered professional baseball after Cleveland selected him in the second round of the 1967 Major League Baseball Draft.

Over the next five seasons, Ballinger played in the Indians' farm system, gradually moving up the ranks. In 1971, he spent the season with the Jacksonville Suns, and went 5-10 with a 2.91 ERA before being promoted to the major league squad.

Ballinger worked in 34⅔ innings during his two-month-long MLB career, giving up 30 hits and 13 bases on balls, while striking out 25. He recorded eight games finished, but no saves. Ballinger earned his only victory on August 28, 1971, with a stellar, four-inning relief appearance against the Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Stadium, allowing no hits and only one base on balls (to future Hall of Famer Rod Carew) and striking out three as the Indians rallied to win, 9–8, on a three-run home run by Vada Pinson.He was demoted after the 1971 season, and spent two more seasons in the minors. After not playing in 19741, he spent the next five years alternating between the Suns and the Omaha Royals. His minor league career lasted all or parts of 12 seasons; he appeared in 260 games and won 54 of 115 decisions.

Rick James (baseball)

Richard Lee James (born October 11, 1947) is an American former professional baseball player. A 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m), 205 lb (93 kg) right-handed pitcher, James was the Chicago Cubs' first #1 draft pick in the inaugural Major League Baseball Draft of June 1965. Selected after his graduation from Coffee High School, Florence, Alabama, James had a six-season (1965–1970) professional career, but his Major League stay was only three games and 4⅔ innings pitched — a proverbial "cup of coffee" — at the tail end of the 1967 season.

James was the sixth player selected in the first round of the first MLB Draft, following #1 overall choice Rick Monday (taken by the Kansas City Athletics), #3 overall Joe Coleman (Washington Senators), and just ahead of #7 pick Ray Fosse (Cleveland Indians); Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench was taken in the second round, 36th overall, by the Cincinnati Reds.James was called up by the Cubs after a successful 1967 season split between the Double-A and Triple-A levels of minor league baseball. His first two appearances came in relief against the eventual 1967 world champion St. Louis Cardinals and the National League runners-up, the San Francisco Giants. James held them scoreless over 1⅔ innings. But in his third game, this time as a starting pitcher against the Reds on the closing day of the season at Crosley Field, James lasted only three innings and was roughed up for seven earned runs and nine hits, including a home run (by Vada Pinson) and three doubles, and he was charged with the loss in a 10–3 Cincinnati triumph.In 1968, James returned to the minors and pitched through the 1970 season before leaving baseball at age 23.

Steve Dillon (baseball)

Stephen Edward Dillon (born March 20, 1943) is an American former professional baseball player. He was a left-handed pitcher whose professional career lasted for four seasons (1962–1965), including Major League stints with the 1963 and 1964 New York Mets. While Dillon appeared in only three MLB games during his career, all in relief, he pitched in the first-ever night game played at Shea Stadium on May 6, 1964.Listed at 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) tall and 160 pounds (73 kg), Dillon initially signed with the New York Yankees and turned in a stellar 14–7 won–lost record for the 1962 Fort Lauderdale Yankees of the Class D Florida State League, striking out 196 batters in 169 innings pitched, with a 2.61 earned run average. He was selected by the Mets in the first-year player draft after that season and spent 1963 with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons. He made his Met debut on Thursday, September 5, in a 9–0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Relieving Roger Craig in the sixth inning, he lasted 1⅔ frames and gave up three hits and two earned runs (on a triple by Tim McCarver), with one strikeout.He made the Mets' 28-man roster out of spring training in 1964, and hurled an inning of relief on April 24 at Pittsburgh's Forbes Field before being called into the first game played under the lights at the Mets' new ballpark, Shea Stadium, on Wednesday, May 6. He was the Mets' fifth and final pitcher that evening in a 12–4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. Dillon got the Reds out in order in the eighth inning, but in the ninth, he gave up a leadoff home run to Vada Pinson and an RBI single to Leo Cárdenas. Pinson's blast hit the right-center field scoreboard at the new park. When Dillon reached the dugout, legendary Mets' manager Casey Stengel told him, "Listen, if another player hits a home run off that scoreboard and breaks it, you're paying for it." It was Dillon's last big league game; he returned to minor league baseball when the rosters were reduced to 25 men in May.

Ironically, Dillon retired from baseball because of low minor league wages. His Major League totals included seven hits and five earned runs allowed in 4⅔ innings pitched, with three strikeouts. Dillon became a salesman, then a New York City police officer for over twenty years. As of 2009, he was living in Baldwin, Nassau County, New York, on Long Island. He is currently head of security at a building in Queens, New York.

Wausau Lumberjacks

The Wausau Lumberjacks (occasionally known as the Timberjacks) were a minor league baseball team based in Wausau, Wisconsin that existed on-and-off from 1905 to 1957. The Wausau franchise then became the Wausau Timbers before relocating to become today's Kane County Cougars. The Lumberjacks played in the Wisconsin State League (1905–1907, 1946–1949), Wisconsin–Illinois League (1908, 1912–1914), Minnesota–Wisconsin League (1909–1911) and Northern League (1936–1939, 1956–1957).

The team was affiliated with the Cleveland Indians (1936–1937), Milwaukee Brewers (1938), St. Louis Browns (1947–1949) and Cincinnati Redlegs (1956–1957). The team played its home games at Athletic Park from 1936 to 1957.

Wayne Granger

Wayne Allan Granger (born March 15, 1944) is a former Major League Baseball right-handed relief pitcher who played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1968, 1973), Cincinnati Reds (1969–1971), Minnesota Twins (1972), New York Yankees (1973), Chicago White Sox (1974), Houston Astros (1975) and Montreal Expos (1976). The 6–4, 165-pound Granger was one of baseball's most effective and durable relief pitchers during the early years of Cincinnati's famed Big Red Machine.Granger graduated from Huntington High School in Huntington, Massachusetts. He attended Springfield College (Massachusetts) where he was a pitcher on the 1965 baseball team.Before his professional career began, Granger played two seasons in the province of Quebec in the Saguenay senior league—in 1963 for the Jonquiere Braves and in 1964 for Port-Alfred in 1964.Granger was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent in 1965. He made his big-league debut at age 24 on June 5, 1968, in a 3–1 Cardinals win over the Houston Astros at the Astrodome, also earning his first save with one perfect inning in relief of starter Larry Jaster. The first-ever batter he faced was Bob Aspromonte, whom he struck out. The rookie sinkerballer went 4–2 with a 2.25 ERA in 34 games that season.

However, on October 11, 1968, the Cardinals traded Bobby Tolan and Granger to the Cincinnati Reds for Vada Pinson.

With the Reds in 1969 Granger posted a 9–6 record and 2.79 ERA with 27 saves in a then-National League record 90 appearances, and he won the first of two straight Fireman of the Year awards. The following season in 1970 he set a National League record with 35 saves (since broken) while going 6–5 with a 2.66 ERA in 67 games. That season, he ranked eighth in the National League Cy Young Award voting.

In June of that year, he threw the final pitch and also earned the last victory at the Reds' venerable home Crosley Field before the team moved to Riverfront Stadium.During Game 3 of the 1970 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles, Granger surrendered a grand slam to opposing pitcher Dave McNally. It is the only time in World Series history that a pitcher has hit a grand slam. The Reds lost the best-of-seven series in five games, and Granger never again pitched in the postseason.

In 1971 he again led the league in games pitched with 70, posting a 7–6 record with a 3.33 ERA and 11 saves. After the season the Reds traded him to the Minnesota Twins.

After one year with the Twins, beginning in 1973 Granger pitched for five teams in four seasons. Arm injuries cut short his career in 1976.

He earned induction into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1982, only the second Reds' relief pitcher to be so honored. He has since periodically returned to Cincinnati for Reds reunions including the annual RedsFest and Reds Hall of Fame inductions.

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