This Day in Reds History: Cincy secures Selbach

www.baseballhistorian.com - Kip Selbach

On this day in Reds history, Cincinnati acquired Kip Selbach, and Billy Martin passed away at age 61. Also, Merry Christmas!

On this day in 1898, the Reds bought leftfielder Kip Selbach from the Washington Senators for $5000. Originally from Columbus, Selbach spent only one season with the Reds. In 1899 with Cincinnati, Selbach posted a slash line of .297/.386/.410 (116 OPS+) in more than 600 plate appearances. He was a speedy player who could take a walk, scoring more than 1000 runs and stole 334 bases in his career. His extra-base hits were mainly doubles and triples. Selbach averaged 15 triples per 162 games over his career and led the league with 22 three-baggers in 1895 while with Washington.

Despite a productive career (.293/.377/.412; 121 OPS+) spanning 13 seasons and over 7000 plate appearances, Selbach did not always find success. He played for a string of pathetic teams in Washington before the Reds acquired him. In Cincinnati, sportswriter Ren Mulford lambasted Selbach, quipping that "Selbach's strongest point is making his toilet while standing at the plate." According to Bill James, this phrase meant that Selbach spent a great deal of time adjusting his uniform and equipment while at the bat, much like Nomar Garciaparra or Sean Casey. After the 1899 season, the Cincinnati and New York (NL) owners conspired to load up the Giants with the best players from the two teams. Cincinnati transferred Selbach to New York, but the Giants experienced terrible chemistry issues. Selbach jumped to the American League in 1902, where he played until 1906 with Baltimore, Washington, and Boston. He played several seasons in the minor leagues before retiring from baseball and going home to Columbus. Selbach was an excellent bowler and ran a bowling alley in Columbus after baseball (The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, 699-701).

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On this day in 1950, former Red Manny Trillo was born in Caripito, Monagas, Venezuela. The longtime second baseman spent the final season (1989) of his 17 year big league career in Cincinnati. He appeared in 17 games for the Reds with a Valdez-esque line of .205/.262/.205 (34 OPS+).

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On this day in 1958, Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson was born in Chicago. Rickey! had a big series against the Reds in the 1990 World Series. He went five for 15 with two runs, two doubles, a home run, and three walks in the Fall Classic. Fortunately for Cincinnati, Rickey! was the only Oakland regular that played well in the series.

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On this day in 1981, former Red Willy "T-Virus" Taveras was born in Tenares, Hermanas Mirabal, Dominican Republic.

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On this day in 1989, former Red Billy Martin died in Johnson City, NY at age 61. Best known for his long managerial career and multiple stints as skipper of the Yankees, Martin played for the Reds in 1960. He was killed in a automobile accident in an ice storm.

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BubbaFan, ams78, and TaubenseeHOF each earned a point last time.

Players that bat right-handed and throw left-handed are uncommon. Many of the players that throw lefty and bat righty are pitchers (Randy Johnson, Jerry Koosman, and Sandy Koufax). The phenomenon is quite rare among position players. Rickey Henderson easily has the most plate appearances among said players, with 13,346.

The following questions pertain to the modern era (1901-2012).

1) Two players active in 2012 are among the top 10 in plate appearances by BR, TL players. Who are they?

2) Coincidentally, six of the top 10 on the aforementioned list appeared for the Reds. Who are they? There may be overlap between the two answer sets.

Hint: One of the Reds players was a pitcher.

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