1919 Cincinnati Reds: Talk About Being Overshadowed!

1919 Cincinnati Reds: Talk About Being Overshadowed!

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 1919 Cincinnati Reds: Talk About Being Overshadowed!

“If they threw some of the games they must be consummate actors, and their place is on the stage, for nothing gave us the impression they weren’t doing their best.” -Reds’ manager Pat Moran, commenting on the 1919 World Series.

“Well, I guess I’m just a big dope. That Series looked all right to me.” Hall-of-Fame umpire Billy Evans, commenting on the 1919 World Series.

I long ago came to the conclusion that I’m the only person on the planet who doesn’t accept the conventional wisdom about the 1919 World Series. That’s OK. Cavorting with gamblers and accepting money? Yes, for sure. Actually throwing World Series games? Well, of that I’m not so sure. But that’s an argument for another day. Meanwhile…

My recent post on the 1919 Black Sox scandal got me to thinking more about that infamous World Series and the other team that actually won the Series: the Cincinnati Reds.

In the featured photo above, we see the 1919 Reds team photo. Complete player identifications are available upon request. 

There’s no question the White Sox were a great team with stars like Shoeless Joe Jackson, Buck Weaver, Hap Felsch, Chick Gandil, Eddie Cicotte, Eddie Collins, and Ray Schalk. But guess what – the Reds were a great team too – and, being overshadowed by the Black Sox, a team that gets very little notoriety!

The Reds were led by their great Hall-of Famer Edd Roush and their roster included at least two other stars: Jack Daubert and Heine Groh. There were solid ball players up and down the lineup, including Ivey Wingo, Morrie Rath, Larry Kopf, and Greasy Neale. With White Sox star Red Faber out for the series, the Reds actually had deeper pitching with starters Dutch Ruether, Hod Eller, Slim Salee, Jimmy Ring, and Ray Fisher, plus relievers Dolf Luque and Rube Bressler,  

They were managed by Pat Moran in his first season at the Reds’ helm since taking over for the ailing Christy Matthewson. Moran had previously managed the Phillies (1915-1918), going 323-257, and leading them to the 1915 National League pennant. On February 1st, the Reds obtained first baseman Jake Daubert from the Brooklyn Robins, releasing the notorious Hal Chase and solidifying their infield. In March, they added pitching depth as they signed Ray Fisher from the Yankees and Slim Sallee from the Giants off waivers.

The Reds were coming off a solid year (68-60) in the shortened 1918 season, and started 1919 off with nine wins in the first ten games. After an 11-15 slump, they went 24-7 over their next 31 games. By late August they began to pull away from the league with a  81-34 record and a nine-game lead. They finished the season with a then franchise-best record of 96-44 and cruised to their first pennant since 1882.

Star center fielder Edd Roush posted a league-leading .321 average, a team high 71 RBI, plus 20 stolen bases. Third baseman Heinie Groh hit .310 with a team high five home runs, 63 RBI, and 21 stolen bases; while newly acquired Jake Daubert hit .276 with two home runs and 44 RBI. Outfielder Greasy Neale led the team with 28 stolen bases, while batting .242 with a home run and 54 RBI.

Hod Eller anchored the pitching staff, going 19-9 record with a 2.39 ERA, 248 innings and 137 strikeouts. Dutch Ruether led the National League with a .760 winning percentage (19-6), and a team best 1.82 ERA. Slim Sallee led the Reds in victories at 21-7, a 2.06 ERA and a team high 22 complete games. Ray Fisher had a solid 14-5 record with a 2.17 ERA in 26 games.

Overall this was a very solid Reds team, vastly overshadowed by the Black Sox scandal. They set a club record for attendance with 532,501, breaking the team record of 424,643 set in the 1909 season.

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Gary Livacari

Photo Credits: All from Google search

Information: Excerpts edited from the Wikipedia page.

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I'm a baseball historian who also loves to write. My forte is identifying ballplayers in old photos, and my specail interest is the Dead Ball Era.

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