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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.


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


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


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


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


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.