March 23, 1943
Lee May was nicknamed “The Big Bopper of Birmingham,” a name given to him by teammate Tommy Helms. The Sporting News called him the Rookie of the Year, but Tom Seaver took home the MLB award. May was a popular player in Cincinnati, hitting 147 home runs in seven seasons and being inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 2006.
March 23, 1953
This is a popular week for catchers to be born! Bo Diaz was an All-Star for the Reds in 1987, hitting .270 with 15 home runs and 82 RBI. He was the National League Player of the Month in July, hitting .351 with 5 homers and 23 RBI. Had he played at that pace the entire season, he would have hit 34 longballs and drove in 156 runs. I remember reading the blurb in the Cincinnati Post about Diaz’s death in 1990 after he was killed while adjusting a satellite dish on his roof. Diaz was inducted into the Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006
Mach 23, 1966
Mike Remlinger pitched for the Reds during my baseball dark ages, from 1995-1998. He was a reliever for most of his career, but in Cincinnati he started 44 games, including 28 in 1998. His 8-15 record that year prompted the Reds to send him packing with Bret Boone to Atlanta for Rob Bell, Denny Neagle, and Michael Tucker. He caught fire in 1999 for the Braves, going 10-1 with a 2.37 ERA.
March 22, 1960
I remember Scott Bradley as a catching for the Mariners, but he played his final five major league games in Cincinnati in 1992. The Reds traded him to the Mets in July, but he didn’t make it out of Tidewater. In 1993, he caught on with Atlanta’s AAA affiliate in Greenville, and in 1994 he found himself in Colorado Springs before calling it a career.
March 22, 1972
Cory Lidle was tragically killed in a plane crash just days after pitching in the ALDS for the Yankees in 2011. In 24 games for the Reds, in 2004, Lidle was 7-10 with a 5.32 ERA.
March 21, 1947
Like Pat Corrales, Bill Plummer spent much of his career as a backup to the greatest catcher of all-time, Johnny Bench. Unlike Corrales, Plummer completed more than one game behind the plate for the Reds. He also extended his baseball life as a coach, and managed the Seattle Mariners to a 64-98 record in 1992. In 2016 he served as the catching coordinator for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
March 20, 1941
Pat Corrales played for the Reds from 1968 through 1972. Also playing for the Reds during that time was some guy from Binger, Oklahoma, named Johnny Bench. Needless to say, Corrales didn’t see a whole lot of action. In 134 games for the Reds, Corrales only played one from start to finish. He went into coaching after his playing career ended, and is the only manager in major league history to be fired while his team was at the top of the division. In 1983, with a 43-42, the Phillies fired Corrales. The Phils went on to lose to the Orioles in the World Series that October.
March 19, 1974
Jason LaRue played eight seasons for the Reds before the Royals purchased his contract. After one year in Kansas City, LaRue signed with the St. Louis Cardinals and spent three years there. LaRue suffered a concussion in 2010 when Johnny Cueto kicked him in the head during a bench-clearing brawl between the Reds and Cardinals, forcing him to retire from the sport.
March 17, 1917
Hank Sauer only made two All-Star teams, despite hitting 288 home runs in his 15-year career. “Honker” smacked 35 longballs for the Reds in 1948, his first full season. Six times he topped 30 homers, including 41 in 1954 with the Cubs.
March 16, 1932
How often are a player’s failures noted on his baseball card? In 1962, Topps wrote on the back of Don Blasingame’s card, “Don’s hitting problems have puzzled the baseball experts for the past 2 seasons.” After a string of five decent batting averages with the Cardinals, the second baseman dropped to .235 in his first year with the Giants, then .222 splitting 1961 between San Francisco and Cincinnati. His 1962 Topps card also said, “The Reds feel that Don is going to bounce back in 1962.” Bounce back he did, hitting at a .281 clip.