This Day in Reds History: Happy birthday, Josh Hamilton

Bob Levey

On this day in 1930, the Reds traded Hughie Critz to the Giants for Larry Benton. Critz was a glove-first second baseman in the middle of his career. In his seven years in the Queen City, he hit .280/.320/.373 (83 wRC+). He played in New York for the rest of his career, retiring after the 1935 season.

Benton was a serviceable pitcher who spent five seasons in Cincinnati. He posted a respectable ERA of 4.20, good for an ERA- of 108*. Benton went 32 - 52 (.381) with the Reds. Unfortunately, Cincinnati was miserable in the early 1930s and lost 94 or more games every year that Benton was with the team. As a result, the Reds actually had a worse record (255 - 426, .374) without Benton. That's not a significant difference, but I like to look at a pitcher's record in this way. Is it anywhere near as insightful as a more thorough analysis using runs above average or a FIP-based approach? No, but anyone can calculate these numbers quickly. The approach is simple and intuitive. Was Benton a good pitcher? No, he wasn't even average, but he was a decent enough pitcher stuck on a terrible team.

*For those unfamiliar with ERA-, a mark of 108 means that his ERA was 8% higher than league average. Recently, Patriot explained why ERA- is preferable to ERA+ at The Hardball Times.

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On this day in 1938, former Red Silver King died in St. Louis at the age of 70.

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On this day in 1955, former Red Eddie Milner was born in Columbus, OH.

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On this day in 1973, former Red Herm Wehmeier died in Dallas at the age of 46.

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On this day in 1981, former Red Josh Hamilton was born in Raleigh, NC.

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On this day in 2007, Cincinnati claimed infielder Pedro Lopez off waivers from the Chicago White Sox. Lopez appeared in 14 games for the Reds in 2007.

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