This Day in Reds History: Big Red birthdays and debuts

Darryl Norenberg-US PRESSWIRE

On this day in Reds history, Cincinnati acquired Old Hoss Radbourn.

On this day in 1891, the Reds acquired Old Hoss Radbourn from an unknown team in an unknown transaction, seriously. Baseball-Reference doesn't have anything else on the transaction other than some question marks. Radbourn was probably truly team-less at the time since he jumped from Boston in the National League to the short-lived Players' League before the 1890 season. The PL folded after one year, leaving many players without jobs. This type of situation was probably the closest thing to free agency many players experienced in the years between the establishment of the reserve clause in 1879 and the Seitz decision (also known as the Messersmith case) in 1975.

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On this day in 1945, the Reds signed pitcher Boom-Boom Beck.

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On this day in 1950, Reds Hall of Famer Ken Griffey, Sr. was born in Donora, PA. Amazingly, Griffey is only the third best left-handed hitting, left-handed throwing outfielder born in the small town of Donora (pop. of 5,653, as of the 2000 U.S. Census).

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On this day in 1956, the Redlegs acquired righty reliever Frank Smith off of the waiver wire from the Cardinals. Smith had previously pitched in Cincinnati from 1950 to 1954. Smith retired from professional baseball after the 1956 season.

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On this day in 1959, Hall of Famer Sparky Anderson made his major league playing debut with the Phillies. Anderson has one of the oddest playing careers in that he started for one full season, but received no playing time in any other season.

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On this day in 1962, the Reds played the Dodgers in the first game at Dodger Stadium. Vada Pinson rapped two doubles, and Wally Post homered to lead Cincinnati to a 6-3 victory. The game was a preview of two of the NL's top three teams as the Reds went on to win 98 games while the Dodgers would win 102 that season. Despite triple-digit wins, Los Angeles lost the pennant to San Francisco in a three-game playoff.

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On this day in 1970, Reds Hall of Famer Don Gullett made his major league debut with the Reds at the tender age of 19. He pitched a scoreless inning and a third in a 3-4 loss to the Giants.

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On this day in 1975, former Red Mike Lincoln was born in Carmichael, CA. Lincoln has pretty much been the definition of a replacement level relief pitcher during his major league career. In between injuries, he has struck out about 5.5 batters per nine innings while walking 3.5 per nine. His ERA of 5.33 (85 ERA+) in nearly 400 innings is just a shade above his career FIP of 5.05. Lincoln's WAR numbers are right in line with what you'd expect: -0.5 fWAR and -0.2 rWAR.

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On this day in 1982, former Red Chris Dickerson was born in Hollywood, CA. Dickerson flashed good production in his role as a reserve player with CIncinnati, but could never stay healthy or effective for an entire season. He has led the major leagues in RAGAR since his debut though (recycling awareness generated above replacement).

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On this day in 1985, the Reds signed Tony Perez. The "Big Dog" had a total of seven years with the Expos, Red Sox, and Phillies since his last appearance as a Red in the 1976 World Series. Perez played well in 1985, but slipped badly in 1986, which was his last season as a player.

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On this day in 1989, Ken Griffey, Jr. hit his first home run in the major leagues.

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On this day in 1995, Reds Hall of Famer Billy Myers died in Carlisle, PA at the age of 84. Myers was the "Jaguar" in the Reds' "Jungle Cat" infield.

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