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This Day in Reds History: Have yourself a Morrie (Rath) little Christmas

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Merry Christmas!

Morrie Rath
Morrie Rath
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On this day in 1886, former Red Morrie Rath was born in Mobeetie, TX. Rath was a good player who had a very short major league career due to several factors. His skill set was fully appreciated in his own time, and he spent a good deal of time in the minors as a result. Notably, Rath had a penchant for walking when the value of the base on balls was not widely recognized. He is most famous for being hit by pitch in Cincinnati's first at-bat of the 1919 World Series. Chicago's Eddie Cicotte intentionally hit Rath in order to signal to gamblers that the White Sox were going ahead with the fix.

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On this day in 1898, Cincinnati purchased left fielder Kip Selbach from the Washington Senators for $5,000. As I have mentioned before, Selbach was a very good player who spent a large portion of his career playing for miserable teams. In fact, the 1899 Reds were one of the best teams for which he ever played. Cincinnati posted a strong record of 83-67, but finished sixth in a 12-team league. (1899 was an odd year in that the Cleveland Spiders posted the worst record in major league history in that season. Cleveland went 20-134, which helped to push eight of the twelve teams above .500 and another team to .493.)

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On this day in 1950, former Red Manny Trillo was born in Caripito, Venezuela.

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On this day in 1958, Rickey! Henderson was born in Chicago. The most obvious tie-in to the Reds I can think of is the 1990 World Series. It's a weak tie-in, but who needs a reason to talk about Rickey! Henderson? He's one of baseball's greatest players and greatest characters. He's had a seemingly endless number of entertaining quotes and several heartwarming stories . . . Jim Murray famously said that Henderson's strike zone was "smaller than Hitler's heart."

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On this day in 1989, former Red Billy Martin died in Johnson City, New York at the age of 61. In his one season with the Reds, Martin hit .246 with 17 doubles in a part-time role.

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Don, the Rebel without a Blog earned the point yesterday.

1) Morrie Rath led the Reds in walks in 1919 with 64. Who was second with 56 walks? Don't fret; this question is far from impossible.

2) Rickey Henderson was named after which famous pop singer?

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Merry Christmas!