On this day in 1945, the Brooklyn Dodgers kicked off the team's spring training in Bear Mountain, NY. The Reds and six other Midwestern teams would prepare for the season in Indiana. Major league clubs stayed closer to home that season due to wartime travel restrictions.
On this day in 1962, third baseman Gene Freese broke his ankle in a scrimmage game. He would miss every game until August 17. Freese was never the same player after the injury. It's tough to tell how much of the decline in performance was due to the injury and how much was due to aging. In 2,900 plate appearances prior to the fracture, Freese hit .264 with good power and an OPS+ of 99. After the injury, Freese would make only 900 more plate appearances. He hit .224 with a slugging average nearly 100 points lower. It's not quite as bad as it looks since the latter half of his career fell in the "second deadball era" of the 1960s, but his OPS+ in that span was still just 78.
On this day in 1976, former Red Paul Konerko was born in Providence, RI.
On this day in 2008, the Reds signed utility player Jerry Hairston, Jr. He had a productive season with the Reds in 2008, but slipped badly in 2009. Hairston played with the Dodgers last year. However, he announced his retirement in December and will broadcast some games for the Dodgers this summer.
Quone and riverfront76 each earned a point yesterday.
The Hairstons might not be the best big league family, but they are one of the biggest. In addition to Jerry, Jr., his brother Scott, father Jerry, Sr., grandfather Sam, and uncle John all played in the major leagues. Put them in order of games played from greatest to least.