Category Archives: baseball cards
May 29, 1962
The rumor in Cincinnati in 1987 was that the Hall of Fame had already cast Eric Davis’ plaque. Davis intimidated pitchers both at the plate and on the basepaths. In 1986, he hit 27 homers while stealing 80 bases; in 1987 he fell three home runs shy of becoming the first 40/40 player in history. Injuries limited his playing time, and fickle Cincinnati fans turned on their brightest star. After the 1991 season, the Reds sent Davis to Los Angeles with Kip Gross for Tim Leary and John Wetteland. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and Reds fans soon realized what they had lost. He returned to Cincinnati for one season in 1996 as a free agent, and continued playing through 2001. Eric the Red is now a “Special Assistant, Player Performance” for the Cincinnati franchise, and a very popular guest at fan functions such as Redsfest.
May 29, 1976
Jerry Hairston Jr. played much longer than I remembered—16 years in the major leagues. He was in Cincinnati in 2008 and part of 2009, hitting .287 with 14 homers and 63 RBI.
May 28, 1887
There are so many tall tales about football Hall of Famer Jim Thorpe, it is difficult to separate fact from fiction. He only played part of one season in Cincinnati, appearing in 77 games for the Reds in 1917. He batted .247, hit four home runs and drove in 36 in that time.
May 28, 1910
One of the most devastating stories in major league history, Willard Hershberger took his own life in 1940. Failing to show up to the ballpark for a game against the Boston Bees, the team sent someone to check on him at the hotel. He had taken a razor to his throat. His uniform number 5 was retired for the remainder of the season and the Reds won the World Series in his honor, sharing a portion of the championship money with Hershberger’s mother.
May 28, 1953
Rafael Landestoy hung around the majors for eight years, but struggled mightily at the plate. From 1981-1984, he batted .153, .189, .159, and .185.
May 28, 1958
Bill Doran was a solid player for many years with the Houston Astros. I was surprised to find that he never made an All-Star team, despite receiving MVP consideration in 1985, 1986, and 1987. The Reds acquired Doran late in the 1990 season as they were wrapping up their wire-to-wire World Championship campaign.
May 27, 1948
Gary Nolan was a big part of the Reds teams of the 1970s, winning 110 games for Cincinnati from 1967 through 1977 with a 3.02 ERA.
May 27, 1965
Jacob Brumfield is the only person to ever make the majors from Hammond High School in Louisiana. Two others were drafted, but never made it out of the minor leagues: Angelo Stutts and Mike Neal.
May 26, 1959
Only three players from Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, have made it to the big leagues: Mark Eichhorn, Tom Urbani, and Dann Bilardello. Bilardello played three years in Cincinnati, and also played for the Expos. Pirates, and Padres. He is currently the manager for the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League.
May 26, 1960
Rob Murphy was an effective middle reliever for the Reds in 1986 and 1987, collecting 2.5 and 2.3 WAR. His effectively dipped a bit in 1988, and the Reds traded him to Boston with Nick Esasky for Todd Benzinger and Jeff Sellers. He fared better his first season in Boston, then started bouncing around the league. Besides the Reds and Red Sox, Murphy played for the Mariners, Astros, Cardinals, Yankees, Dodgers, and Marlins.