On this day in 1894, former Red Kip Selbach made his major league debut with the Washington Senators. Many people know that the Senators of the first half of the 20th century moved to Minnesota and became the Twins while the Senators of the 1960s moved to Texas and became the Rangers. The Washington club for which Selbach played was actually not related to either of these franchises. Rather, that version of the Senators played in only nine major league seasons, starting with the American Association in 1891 and competing in the National League from 1892 to 1899. It was a moribund franchise, never finishing above .500 and only twice above .400. The club's best season came in 1897, when the Senators went 61-71-3 (.462) and finished sixth out of 12 teams.
Anyway, Selbach spent his career on mostly miserable teams. As I covered in a previous post, he had a good season in 1899 with the Reds. Cincinnati went 83-67 that year, and it was the first time Selbach played for a winning team. He then returned to losing teams for a number of seasons, including the absolutely dreadful 1904 Senators (the Twins incarnation) who lost 113 games. Fortunately, Selbach only spent about a third of the 1904 season with Washington. The Senators traded him to the Boston Americans (Red Sox) on Independence Day. Boston won 95 games and the American League by a game and a half. However, the National League champion New York Giants refused to play the Americans, so there was no World Series that year. Giants manager and Hall of Famer John McGraw showed everyone how red his ass was by claiming that the American League was still "minor league" (Creamer, Sports Illustrated, April 13, 1981).
Selbach played two more years in Boston and several additional seasons in the minors before retiring from baseball. In his career, he was often one of the only productive players on his team. Ballplayers on losing teams are seldom remembered, but Selbach deserves to be remembered. Lesser players have received far more praise.
On this day in 1914, Reds Hall of Famer Rube Bressler made his major league debut with the Philadelphia Athletics.
On this day in 1957, the Redlegs drew nine walks in the fifth inning of a game against the Cubs at Crosley Field. Chicago's ineptitude at throwing strikes set a National League record. Cincinnati scored seven runs in the inning and went on to win 9-5. Joe Nuxhall earned the win for the Redlegs.
On this day in 1962, the Reds beat the already woeful Mets, 7-3. Wally Post doubled twice and knocked a bases-empty homer while Vada Pinson added a solo shot of his own.
On this day in 1984, former Red John Franco made his major league debut with Cincinnati. Franco allowed one run in one inning in a 4-2 loss to the Braves.
On this day in 1987, Kal Daniels and Ron Oester each walloped a big fly to lead the Reds to a 4-3 win over the Astros in 11 innings. Oester's two-run shot in the top of the eleventh provided the winning run.