This Day in Reds History: Cincinnati finds a second baseman in Frey

Lonny Frey, year unknown (looks like a photo from spring training) - http://www.wondrousstories.com/

On this day in 1909, the Reds bought shortstop Bill "Professor" Moriarty from the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League. He would appear in six games for the Reds in 1909, which were the only six games of his major league career.

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On this day in 1932, Cincinnati purchased infielder George Grantham from Pittsburgh. Grantham had a good season with the Reds in 1932, but slipped badly in 1933 and was out of the major leagues after just 32 games with the Giants in 1934.

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On this day in 1933, the Reds bought utility player Harry Rice from the Minneapolis Millers of the American Association.

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On this day in 1938, Cincinnati purchased second baseman Lonny Frey from the Cubs. I believe that Frey is a bit overlooked in comparison to some of the other players from the 1939 and '40 championship teams. He was probably the best player of Cincinnati's famed "Jungle Cat Infield" (Frank McCormick has a strong case as well). Frey was every bit as important to those two teams as Ernie Lombardi was. The only player who clearly contributed more to those clubs was Bucky Walters.

Bill McKechnie made one of his best decisions when he moved Frey from shortstop to second base. Frey was always a productive hitter for a middle infielder, but couldn't quite handle shortstop. After establishing himself with Brooklyn in the mid-30s, Frey was in danger of falling into a bench role after making fewer than 250 plate appearances as a Cub in 1937. McKechnie put him at second base where Frey quickly became one of the league's preeminent defensive second basemen. Frey continued to hit as well and put together a stretch of years as good as any by a Cincinnati second baseman not named Joe Morgan.

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On this day in 1943, former Red Frank Dwyer died in Pittsfield, MA at the age of 74. This series gives me a chance to learn a lot about players who were previously unknown to me. Very few of these newly discovered players are as good as Frank Dwyer was. I don't think I'd ever heard of Dwyer until yesterday, but he was a tremendous pitcher for the Reds in the 1890s. I still contend that Charley Jones is the Reds Hall of Fame's biggest snub, but I have to admit that Dwyer is now in the conversation. Dwyer had eight years with the Reds and posted a 3.77 ERA (121 ERA+) in nearly 2000 innings with the team.

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On this day in 1944, former Red Dixie Davis died in Raleigh at the age of 53.

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On this day in 1986, former Red Jordan Smith was born in American Fork, UT.

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Quone earned a point last Wednesday while RoastBeefKazenzakis picked up two points.

Lonny Frey led the National League with 22 steals in 1940. Only two other Reds have led the league in steals in the modern era (1901-present). Name them. Each player is worth one point. One Red led the league in steals four seasons in a row, yet I had never heard of him. I'm not sure if that says more about me or him.

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