On this day in 1934, the Reds purchased pitcher Don Brennan from the New York Yankees. Brennan pitched for the Reds from 1934 into the 1937 season. Cincinnati used Brennan predominantly as a reliever, and he was the Reds' de facto closer in 1935 and 1936. His best year came in 1935 when he logged 114.1 innings of 3.15 ERA (126 ERA+) ball.
On this day in 1947, former Red Kent Tekulve was born in Cincinnati. The longtime Pirate wrapped up his 16-year career with 37 appearances for the Reds in 1989.
On this day in 1962, Reds third baseman Gene Freese fractured his ankle in the team's first intrasquad scrimmage of the spring. Freese would sit out until August 17th with the injury.
On this day in 1971, former Red Brian Hunter was born in Portland, OR. Hunter made fewer than 50 plate appearances in his one half-season with the team in 2000.
On this day in 1973, former Red Ryan Franklin was born in Fort Smith, AR.
On this day in 1976, former Red Paul Konerko was born in Providence, RI. Cincinnati actually acquired Konerko pretty cheaply when the Dodgers traded the slugger with Dennys Reyes to the Reds in exchange for closer Jeff Shaw. Reyes was a fungible reliever while Shaw was a good closer entering the expensive years of his contract. Despite this, Konerko was a highly regarded prospect that should have netted the Dodgers a better player than Shaw. Baseball America ranked Konerko as the game's 11th best prospect in 1997 and the second best prospect in 1998*. That certainly does not seem like an even trade, and it is hard to imagine a deal like that taking place today. Cincinnati also received a very good player in Mike Cameron when the team traded Konerko to the White Sox in November of 1998. This sequence surely featured some of Jim Bowden's better moves as general manager.
*Baseball America did quite well with the top five prospects of 1998. The number one prospect was Ben Grieve, who was a much better hitter than I remembered although he had no glove. Grieve won the AL Rookie of the Year award in 1998. Adrian Beltre, Kerry Wood, and Aramis Ramirez rounded out the top five.
On this day in 2008, the Reds signed Jerry Hairston, Jr. The veteran utility player had a nice season in 2008, slashing .326/.384/.487 (125 OPS+) in almost 300 plate appearances. He also played six different positions for Cincinnati that season including all three outfield spots. Hairston did not repeat that performance for the Reds in 2009 as his OPS+ dipped below 85. Cincinnati traded him to the Yankees for catching prospect Chase Weems at the deadline. Hairston probably holds the distinction of being the Reds' most productive leadoff hitter of the Dusty Baker era.
Also on this day in 2008, the Reds signed Corey Patterson, who unfortunately may not hold the distinction of being the Reds' worst leadoff hitter of the Dusty Baker era.
Ken and ams78 each earned a point last time.
1) Who was the Reds' top-rated prospect on BA's 1997 list?
2) Who was the Reds' top-rated prospect on BA's 1998 list?