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This Day in Reds History: Happy Birthday, Billy Myers!

On this day in 1910, former Reds shortstop, Billy Myers, was born in Enola, PA. Myers joined the Reds in 1935, and was the Reds’s shortstop for the next six years. While never a strong hitter, Myers was a good hitter for a shortstop, and posted a career high wRC+ of 108 in the pennant winning campaign of 1939. During this season, the Reds infield began calling themselves the "Jungle Cats". Frank McCormick became "Wildcat," Lonny Frey became "Leopard," Billy Werber became "Tiger," and Myers became "Jaguar".

The "Jungle Cats" carried their success into the 1940 season, when the Reds repeated as NL champs and beat Detroit in seven games to capture the World Series title. Myers struggled during the 1940 World Series, slashing only .130/.200/.130 in 25 plate appearances. However, his greatest moment as a ballplayer came in the bottom of the 7th in game seven at old Crosley Field. With the score tied 1-1 and men on first and third, Myers hit a flyball to deep centerfield scoring Jimmy Ripple from third base on a sacrifice. This would prove to be the Series-winning run and Myers’s last plate appearance in a Cincinnati uniform.

Cincinnati traded Myers to the Cubs that offseason, and he appeared in only 74 plate appearances for the North Siders (and 302 for their affiliate, Milwaukee, in AA) in 1941 before calling it a career. Myers scouted for a time after his playing career. The Cincinnati Reds inducted Myers into the Reds Hall of Fame in 1966, one of only seven shortstops honored.

Bill McKechnie was a nut for good defense, and Myers certainly fit the mold. Myers was worth only 9.6 oWAR in his short career, but posted a dWAR of 7.4. He led the league in dWAR in 1939 with 2.8 and finished second in 1940 with 2.0. Erick Aybar is a current player who is a fairly good comp for the "Jaguar". Myers had more glove, and Aybar has more of a bat, but it provides one with a nice image of Myers’s skills.


On this day in 2008, the Reds traded Adam Dunn and cash to Arizona for Dallas Buck and players to be named later (Wilkin Castillo and Micah Owings).


On this day in 2009, the Reds acquired Kris Negron from Boston for Alex Gonzalez and cash.