On this day in 1906, former Red Snake Deal made his major league debut with Cincinnati. 1906 was Deal's only major league season, and he hit .208/.228/.251 (47 OPS+) while covering first base.
On this day in 1929, Reds Hall of Famer Wally Post was born in St. Wendelin, OH. Post was one of Cincinnati's big sluggers during the Redleg years along with Ted Kluszewski and Gus Bell. In 1955, Post walloped 40 homers while Big Klu led the team with 47 (second in the NL to Willie Mays' 51). Bell added another 27, and catcher Smoky Burgess clubbed 20. The rest of the team combined for only 47 . . . The top of the home run leaderboards in that era look a great deal like today's: 51, 47, 44, 42, 41, 40, 33, 32, 29, and three tied with 27 in the NL in 1955. However, the idea that a team's weaker hitters could hit 15 (e.g. Zack Cozart) was totally foreign.
If you want to look at one of the reasons why pitchers throw so many fewer innings today than 60 years ago, look at the weakest hitters on the rosters. Johnny Temple hit zero home runs in 684 PA for the Redlegs that season. Richie Ashburn won the batting title, led the league in on-base percentage, and hit three home runs. Pitchers didn't have to waste pitches on these guys. They weren't going to strike out, and they weren't going to homer. A good pitcher could ease up on a guy like Johnny Temple and let his defense do its job.
On this day in 1951, Hall of Famer and former Red Harry Heilmann died in Southfield, MI at the age of 56. Best known for his big years with the Tigers in the 1920s, Heilmann finished his career with two seasons in Cincinnati in 1930 and 1932. He probably had something left as a ballplayer, hitting .333/.416/.577 (143 OPS+) in 1930, but missed all of the 1931 season with severe arthritis in his wrists. His attempted comeback in 1932 lasted for only 31 plate appearances before retiring due to the pain. While with the Reds, Heilmann homered in every NL park, becoming the first player to hit a home run in every active major league park over the course of his career. (He had previously homered in every AL park while playing for the Tigers.)
Known as "Slug" due to his poor speed, Heilmann was a born hitter. He won the AL batting title four times, all coming in a stretch of odd-numbered years: 1921, 1923, 1925, and 1927. In 1923, he broke the .400 mark with an average of .403. He came close in the other three seasons as well, batting .394, .393, and .398. Heilmann hit for good power, too, recording double-digit doubles, triples, and home runs in each season from 1921 to 1925 and again in 1928. He finished his career with a gaudy line of .342/.410/.520 (148 OPS+), one of only 22 members of the .300/.400/.500 club. Heilmann died of lung cancer just six months before his election to the Hall of Fame.
On this day in 1961, Frank Robinson smacked two homers, a double, and a single in four at-bats against the Dodgers at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Robinson was also hit by a pitch and walked intentionally. He finished the day with three runs and seven RBI. Wally Post collected a two-run, pinch-hit single on his 32nd birthday. Joey Jay picked up the complete game win for the Reds, allowing only three runs, as Cincinnati won, 14-3.
On this day in 1973, the Reds and Expos combined to walk 25 times (in only nine innings!), which broke a 62-year old NL record. Every Cincinnati starter except third baseman Dan Driessen and pitcher Tom Hall drew at least one walk. Pete Rose led the way with four free passes, and Joe Morgan walked three times. Despite out-walking the Expos, 15-10, the Reds lost 11-6 at Parc Jarry in Montreal.
On this day in 1976, in the first game of a doubleheader at Riverfront Stadium, Pittsburgh's Richie Zisk* smacked a two-run homer off of Will McEnaney in the top of the 10th to put the Pirates ahead, 11-9. Undeterred, the Reds rallied with three singles and three walks in the bottom of the 10th to win, 12-11. Dave Concepcion actually erased Cesar Geronimo's leadoff single with a groundball double play, but the next five Reds reached to pull off the victory.
*Pitch at risk to Rich Zisk
On this day in 1986, Reds Hall of Famer Red Lucas died in Nashville, TN at the age of 84. Lucas led the NL once in shutouts and thrice in complete games for the Reds during the late '20s and early '30s. In his eight years with the team, Lucas posted a 109-99 record with a 3.64 ERA (110 ERA+) in over 1750 innings.
On this day in 1992, the Reds traded outfielder Billy Hatcher to the Red Sox for lefty Tom Bolton.
On this day in 2009, the Reds signed righty Kip Wells.