Saturday, September 17, 2016

Jose Peraza and the 1867 Reds

On Wednesday, September 14th, 2016, the Cincinnati Reds lost, 7-0, to the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ballpark. Shortstop Jose Peraza went 2-for-4 with a triple.

Peraza was born in Barinas, Venezuela on April 30th, 1994. On that same day, the Reds lost to the Florida Marlins, 4-3, at Joe Robbie Stadium. Shortstop Barry Larkin, who had turned 30 two days earlier, went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI and a stolen base.

On the day Larkin was born - April 28th, 1964 - in Cincinnati, the Reds were playing at Crosley Field against the Philadelphia Phillies, and lost, 4-2. Right fielder Frank Robinson went 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI, and a steal.

Robinson was born in Beaumont, Texas on August 31st, 1935. On that very day, the Reds lost to the Cardinals, 5-2, under the lights at Crosley. Center fielder Kiki Cuyler, who had turned 37 the day before, went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored.

Box scores haven't been preserved from the 1898 season, but on August 30th, the day Cuyler was born in Harrisville, Michigan, the Reds played the Phillies at League Park in Cincinnati and lost, 9-1. The Reds' first baseman that year was Jake Beckley. Five years earlier, Philadelphia manager Harry Wright had been released by the Phillies after leading them to a 4th-place finish (out of 12 teams), thus ending Wright's long, illustrious career in baseball.

When Jake Beckley was born on August 4th, 1867, in Hannibal, Missouri, Wright was the 32-year-old pitcher and manager of the Cincinnati Base Ball Club, which had come into existence the previous summer. Four days earlier, Wright's club had defeated their cross-town rivals, Live Oak of Cincinnati, 51-21.

A former bowler with the New York Cricket Club and center fielder with the Knickerbockers and Excelsiors, Wright had come to Cincinnati the year before to play for its Union Cricket Club, but once there, he saw the brand new Base Ball Club and promptly reverted to his other pastime. Under Wright's leadership, the club would go 17-1 in 1867 and 37-7 the following season. Having established his Red Stockings (the club's nickname, after the uniforms of white knickers and scarlet hose its players now wore) as the dominant team in the West, Wright began recruiting the best players in the country. In order to compete with the best eastern clubs, he would assemble the first openly professional team.

Harry Wright was born on January 10th, 1835, in Sheffield, England. "Base ball" was then a generic name for any number of bat-and-ball games. Rounders, the closest forerunner of baseball, was just gaining popularity in England and America....

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Six Cincinnati Reds, all in the Baseball Hall of Fame (except for Peraza), all born in spring or summer (except for Wright), all born on days the Reds lost (except for Wright and Beckley). Hey, sometimes it's just fun to go down the rabbit hole on baseball-reference and find the inter-connected-ness of things. It doesn't always have to mean much. :)

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