On this day in 1928, Sam Wright died. A shortstop, Wright played for the short lived original National League Cincinnati Reds (the version founded in 1876 and folded in 1880) in its final year of existence. He appeared in nine games that season, amassing a slash line of .088/.088/.088 in 34 plate appearances. Wright spent parts of four seasons in the major leagues in the late 1870’s, playing in a total of 45 games. But he was a member of one of the most important families in baseball history, as his brothers Harry and George Wright were founding members of the original 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball’s first openly and fully professional team. Sam Wright was the youngest of the three.
On this day in 1942, the Reds completed two trades, both with the St. Louis Cardinals. In one transaction, the Reds sent Whitey Moore to the Cardinals for Clyde Shoun. Both were pitchers. In the other, the Reds sent Jim Gleeson to the Cardinals for Max Marshall. Both were outfielders.
On this day in 1956, the Redlegs played a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Phillies at Cincinnati’s Crosley Field. The Reds won both games. Cincinnati’s Gus Bell hit a home run in both games, and both home runs came off the same pitcher, Phillies reliever Bob Miller.
On this day in 2009, Paul Janish made his pitching debut. Bronson Arroyo started for the Reds against the Milwaukee Brewers, but he only lasted one inning, giving up nine run before being removed from the game. Danny Herrera followed and gave up a run of his own, and Mike Lincoln, David Weathers and Francisco Cordero all held the Brewers scoreless in their relief appearances. Janish pitched the ninth inning for the Reds and gave up five more runs on five hits while striking out two and walking none. Current Reds relief pitcher Manny Parra earned the win for the Brewers.
It was the first of two relief appearances for Janish on the season. On July 6, two months later to the day, Janish would again toe the rubber, this time against the Phillies. Amazingly, he would fare even worse on that occasion, giving up six runs on four hits, one strikeout and two walks in one inning. Janish would finish the season, and his pitching career to date, with a 49.50 ERA and an ERA+ of 10.
One final, non-Reds related note: Willie Mays, one of the greatest ever to play the game, was born on this date in 1931. Happy birthday, Willie.