This Day in Reds History: One Fine Chick

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Lou Piniella is introduced during The New York Yankees 65th Old Timers Day game on June 26, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)


On this day in 1924, Hall of Famer and former Red, Chick Hafey, made his major league debut. Hafey is best known for his days as a St. Louis Cardinal, but he spent the last five years of his career in Cincinnati. In his major league career, Hafey slashed .317/.372/.526, but he had only 5,115 plate appearances. Hafey had sinus and vision problems that caused him to miss all of the 1936 season and effectively forced his retirement the following year. In the New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, James recounts an anecdote from Hafey's former teammate, Andy High. James says that High "once told me that Hafey's eyesight was so bad that he would see him standing in front of the departure board at the train station, squinting and trying to make out the letters."

Hafey's qualifications for the Hall of Fame are now viewed as questionable. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971 by a Veterans Committee (VC) that has become notorious for bad selections. Frankie Frisch was a key member of the VC at that time, and this VC inducted a string of marginally or poorly qualified players that happened to be some of Frisch's former teammates. It would be impossible to detail the history of all of these selections in one blog post. Those interested in learning more about this VC (and the Hall of Fame, in general) should check out Bill James' Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame? James covers this VC in chapter thirteen. Also, for what it is worth, Hafey is not a member Baseball Think Factory's Hall of Merit.

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On this day in 1943, former Reds manager Lou Piniella was born in Tampa, FL.

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On this day in 1951, former Red Joel Youngblood was born in Houston, TX. Youngblood spent his first and last seasons in Cincinnati. He is best known to Reds fans as Cincinnati's utility man on the 1976 championship team. The rookie Youngblood appeared at catcher, second base, third base, and all three outfield positions for the 1976 Reds.

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On this day in 1967, Hall of Famer and former Red, Johnny Bench, made his major league debut. Bench went 0 for 3 with 2 strikeouts. Reds manager Dave Bristol lifted Bench for pinch hitter Chico Ruiz in the ninth inning. This was the only time in Bench's career that he was lifted for a pinch hitter.

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On this day in 1980, current Red Ryan Madson was born in Long Beach, CA.

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On this day in 1991, the Reds' Tom Browning defeated the Expos' Dennis Martinez, 11-3, at Riverfront Stadium. It was the first game in 25 years that featured two perfect game pitchers. Sandy Koufax and Jim Bunning had been the last two perfect pitchers to meet. Koufax's Dodgers won over Bunning's Phillies, 6-3, on October 2nd, 1966. Coincidentally, that was also Koufax's last regular season game.

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