On this day in 1886, the St. Louis Browns' Charlie Comiskey created a dustup at Cincinnati's old League Park when he bowled over Bid McPhee at second base. Comiskey's dirty deed successfully broke up the Reds' double play attempt. The enraged fans could not force the umpire to rule the batter out due to runner interference, and the Browns went on to win 2-1.
On this day in 1890, former Red Bill Gray made his debut with the Phillies. Gray played all four infield positions as well as catcher for Cincinnati in 1895 and '96. He slashed .265/.343/.371 (82 OPS+) in 345 plate appearances for the Reds.
On this day in 1906, the Reds lost to the Giants, 6-3. New York's Christy Mathewson earned his first of 22 wins on the season.
On this day in 1942, Hall of Famer Tony Perez was born in Camaguey, Camaguey, Cuba. According to the New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, Perez was known as "Tany" as a youngster, which is derived from his first name, Atanasio (p. 437).
I'm sure you all know that Johnny Bench won the NL MVP Award in 1970. Bench had a fantastic season, hitting .293/.345/.587 (144 wRC+) in 671 plate appearances while leading the league with 45 homers and 148 RBI. However, Perez was nearly as good, if not better. The Big Dog slashed .317/.401/.589 (162 wRC+) in 681 plate appearances. His counting numbers weren't bad either, as he slammed 40 home runs and drove in 129.
The difference in on-base percentage gives Perez a 17-run advantage with the bat per Baseball-Reference.com, so it all comes down to defense. The Big Dog played average defense at third, where he appeared for about 1300 innings. You'd have a hard time arguing that Bench didn't make up 17 runs behind the plate. The only reason the two are so close is that Bench caught "only" 1158 innings in 1970. Bench's other defensive innings were predominantly spent in left field, first base, and right field.
Is 130 games of Bench at catcher combined with another 20 games at positions on the left end of the defensive spectrum worth 17 runs more than 145 games of Perez at third base? If you're expecting a definitive conclusion, then I'm afraid you're in for some disappointment, because I don't know. What do you think?
On this day in 2008, Paul Janish made his big league debut. He entered the game in the top of the eighth, replacing Bronson Arroyo as part of a double switch. Janish batted twice, flying out in his first appearance and driving in the winning run (Johnny Cueto) with a single in the bottom of the 10th. The strong-armed shortstop also recorded two assists in the field as the Reds beat the Marlins, 7-6.
Also on this day in 2008, Jose Arredondo made his major league debut with the Angels. He entered at the start of the ninth inning against the White Sox. Arredondo struck out one and allowed one run on one hit as Nick Swisher led off the inning with a home run. Chicago defeated Los Angeles, 6-1.
I miss the winter trivia, so I'm going to try out a new game here. I'm going to post a line score, box score, player's line, photo, or other item from a game on the day in question. Your goal is to guess the year. I'll include a hint to keep it from devolving into a complete guessing game. Please do not look up the answer so that all may enjoy the contest. Let me know what you think of the idea in the comments.
|Philadelphia Phillies||Cincinnati Reds|
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Hint: Both Robin Roberts and Joe Nuxhall appeared in relief.