Archive for the ‘Baseball History’ Category

Reds 150 – Throwback Uniforms – 1999

Sunday, October 27th, 2019

Whether you celebrate the Reds from a starting date of 1869 (first full professional team), 1882 (first year in the American Association) or 1890 (first year in the National League), you have to be somewhat amazed by the longevity of the Cincinnati team. A 2019 version of a uniform from the past is great, but knowing what was happening when those uniforms debuted is history, and knowing your history is a big part of being a baseball fan, so we’ll try to cover the key events of the year.

Uniform

1999 – Home Whites

Debut Date 

4/5/1999

“I love the patches. It’s a lot better than the ‘C’. It gives people more reason to buy the merchandise.”

~ Eddie Taubensee

 “I think they are the best, possibly in all of baseball. I like the sleeveless look – from what I hear they’re real comfortable to play in – and I really like the black trim. I think they are really classy.”

~ Brian Johnson

 “’Sweet,’ is all I can say. You can tell they are real quality.”

~ Aaron Boone

Black, as a uniform color, gained popularity in the early 1990’s when the Chicago White Sox brought it back from the early 20th Century. The Reds had avoided adding any black to their uniforms until 1999. This uniform might be one of the most debated styles ever donned by the team.  

Team Record that Season 

96-67, 2nd in the NL Central, 1 Game Back. Lost playoff game.

In the mid-seventies it was common to hear older Reds fans discuss the wonderful 1956 Reds, a team that didn’t win a pennant, yet captured the hearts of the fan base with home run records and an unexpected surge into a viable franchise. The 1999 team was similar in those respects and today you still hear fans claim this was their favorite Reds team ever.  After a slow start, they fought their way out of fourth place in May, climbed up to third in June, and on July 1st took possession of first. A week later they relinquished it, spending the majority of the season tailing the Houston Astros by 2-3 games. Three months from the day they held first place, they tied the Astros with three games left. The rest is history. Many don’t care to rehash it and most choose to remember the good times before that fatal trip to Milwaukee and the buzz saw disguised as Al Leiter. Both the ‘56 and ‘99 squads get extra love because their success was unexpected, especially on the heels of several losing seasons. Both teams had lots of slugging, questionable starters and were thought by the community to be like a family (close knit, devoid of huge superstars, approachable). Both duked it out ‘til the very end, only to fall during the last week of the season. The following year failed to produce the same result and the ensuing years were disappointments as the team got worse. Each season was a summer romance – full of lust, joy, and then it was over. Fondly remembered, discussed, debated and longed for.

Team Attendance 

2,061,222 (11th of 16)

In 1999, the highest attendance games were Opening Day and the playoff loss to the Mets, both topping 54,000. Still new to the fans were “Interleague Play” games, which drew 98,397 to two contests against northern rivals, the Indians, in mid-June. There are some warts in the attendance tally that year – thirty-two percent of the Reds home contests drew less than 20,000, many early in the year as the team struggled to establish an identity. June was the best month. In eleven games, the combination of interleague play, the advent of summer, and better play by the Reds drew a total of 356,938 fans to the stadium – now named “Cinergy Field”.

Reds Manager 

Jack McKeon

“Leadership starts at the top. I had my thoughts and voiced them in the past, but I wasn’t listened to much.”

~ Jack McKeon, the day he was fired by the Reds 

Jack McKeon was hired as a mid-season replacement manager five times in his long career. He could be seen as the Winston Wolfe of baseball. 

  • Oakland – 1978
  • San Diego – 1988
  • Cincinnati – 1997
  • Florida – 2003
  • Florida – 2011

Jack was a polarizing figure who received more love from the press than his players (especially older players). His teams generally performed better in the second half of the season. He employed small ball techniques and believed in leadoff hitters who got on base, over speedy types like Deion Sanders. He also kept his relievers in games for longer stretches than almost any manager in baseball history.

“I really think the evolution of the middle relievers is one of the biggest changes we’ve seen in the last 20 years. What I think is they’ve developed a type of player that comes in and throws 1 or 2 innings and throws very hard and they get them out of there after they’ve faced 6 or 7 batters. The Kyle Farnsworth type of player.”

~ Chris Welsh, 2007

It’s true that the middle reliever had been an integral part of baseball for the past 30+ years, but the workload back then wasn’t as it is in today’s game. Currently, the new prototype of super reliever we are starting to see is the 50 inning, 70+K  pitchers.

Historically, pondering relievers and their workload wasn’t something fans of the game spent a lot of time doing. When the ball was deader, the game a bit slower and guys played more under the sun than the lights, and a complete game by the pitcher was the norm. Below are Reds pitchers who have completed 20 or more games in consecutive seasons.  Note that not one Reds pitcher has completed 20 or more games since the 1940’s.

  • Bob Ewing                1903-08    
  • Bucky Walters         1939-44    
  • Noodles Hahn        1900-04    
  • Eppa Rixey               1921-23    
  • Red Lucas                1931-33    
  • Paul Derringer           1938-40    
  • Bill Phillips           1901-02    
  • Andy Coakley             1907-08    
  • Fred Toney               1916-17    
  • Dutch Ruether            1919-20    
  • Johnny Vander Meer      1942-43    

The above was de rigueur. Simply put, a complete game was part of the blueprint for pitching success in the days of wool suits, 12-cent dinners and women named Florence.

This started to change in the late 1930’s when White Sox hurler Clint Brown appeared in 53 games and pitched 100 innings during the 1937 season, all without starting a game. Once this feat was accomplished, it took a few years for the rest of baseball to catch on. The offensive surge of the postwar era created a greater need to temper the onslaught of bats with fresh arms. The concept of relief pitches really took off. Between 1946 and 1968 a total of 103 pitchers tallied 100 innings in a season, with a start or less. After 1968, several factors helped to reshape an offensive approach that had become stagnate –the division format, expansion, the reduction of the mound’s height, and the introduction of the designated hitter. This increase in offense posed a new problem to managers throughout the game – how to beat the increased offense now appearing in the game. Many managers took different paths, but all hoped to segue into a balance that could combat the offensive onslaught.

One approach was the Billy Martin method of extending as many starters as one could (for example, Joe Coleman and Mickey Lolich combined for 662 IP and 45 CG in 1971) and riding a reliever in over a 100 innings (Fred Sherman.) Strategies like that led to unique situations where 3 pitchers could eat up 57% of your total innings pitched. Another was the Sparky Anderson method of spreading the wealth among many starters and having a horse like Wayne Granger or Pedro Borbon eat up the tweener innings between the starters and the closer(s).

A discussion of the 100 inning reliever isn’t complete without calling out one of its greatest boosters, Jack McKeon.  The Kansas City Royals hired long-time Minor League coach and manager Jack McKeon to be their manager in 1973. After the season McKeon would be in the front office and on the bench for the next 38 years, retiring in 2004 and returning in 2011. During his early years, the 100 inning reliever was a regular occurrence in the big leagues. 

From 1970-1979, 122 relievers threw over 100 innings, with 1 or less start. In 1978, six men did it in the American League, three of them pitched for Jack McKeon’s Oakland A’s.

                      YEAR     ERA AL        IP

  • Elias Sosa               1978     2.64 3.78    109
  • Bob Lacey                1978     3.01 3.78    119.2
  • Dave Heaverlo            1978     3.25 3.78    130

It’s tiny pitching events like these that helped fuel the “reliever as the savior” movement that ebbed in the late 1970’s, then surged ahead from 1980-1989 when the total of 100 inning relievers shot up to 137. Suddenly  fans saw players like Bruce Sutter and Rollie Fingers as more important than the prior generation’s relievers. They also became major players in the fledgling free agent market, and teams jostled to obtain these workhorses to fill the growing gaps that the games’ offense created in the middle-to-late innings.

Below are the pitchers who had the most consecutive seasons with 100 IP less than 1 start and a plus ERA

  • Rollie Fingers           1974-78    5
  • Duane Ward               1988-92    5
  • Hoyt Wilhelm             1952-55    4
  • Jack Baldschun           1961-64    4
  • Ron Perranoski           1962-65    4
  • Mike Marshall            1972-75    4
  • Kent Tekulve             1976-79    4
  • Dan Quisenberry          1982-85    4
  • Dick Radatz              1962-64    3
  • Pedro Borbon             1973-75    3
  • Sparky Lyle              1976-78    3
  • Enrique Romo             1978-80    3
  • Bob Stanley              1982-84    3
  • Scott Sullivan           1999-01    3

The apex for these types of pitchers was achieved in 1989 when Mark Davis won the Cy Young Award, a feat that is still debated as the worst choice for the award in the history of the game.

Not up for debate is the absurdity of the contract he received as a free agent from that distinction.

By the way, his manager that year was none other than Jack McKeon.

In the 1990’s, offense increased even more. To combat this, more bodies were placed in the bullpen and these pitchers began to eat up increasing innings that starters used to handle. As pitch counts began to be taken more seriously, the number of pitchers who threw over 100 innings began to drop drastically, By the end of the decade, only 33 relievers topped 100 innings pitched in a season and only 78 topped 90 innings pitched.  In Cincinnati, four of the 100 IP guys and ten of the 90 IP were Reds, and seven of those pitchers pitched for Jack McKeon.

It was mid-1997 when Ray Knight was justly jettisoned from the Reds managerial seat. In the hope of bringing order to a clubhouse in disarray, the Reds hired Jack McKeon, who was known more for his long GM tenure, his quotes, and an ever-present cigar, than his spotty managerial career.

McKeon brought an old school 1970’s approach to the use of the bullpen and had more than a few pitchers to work with. The on-field performance of the Reds’ starting staff almost begged for that approach.

Between 1997 and 2000, the Reds had a workhorse bullpen, and exceeding the league average in ERA was pretty much par for the course. Most of this can be attributed to the usage patterns deployed by Jack McKeon.

ERA vs. The League Average

                     YEAR     ERA G       IP ERA

  • Jeff Shaw                1997     2.38   78 94.2     1.83
  • Scott Williamson         1999     2.41   62 93.1     2.16
  • Danny Graves             2000     2.56   66 91.1     2.08
  • Scott Sullivan           1999     3.01   79 113.2   1.56
  • Danny Graves             1999     3.08   75 111     1.49
  • Scott Sullivan           1997     3.24   59 97.1     0.97
  • Danny Graves             1998     3.32   62 81.1     0.92
  • Scott Sullivan           2000     3.47   79 106.1   1.17
  • Stan Belinda             1997     3.71   84 99.1     0.49
  • Scott Sullivan           1998     5.21   67 102       -.97

At the end of the 2000 season, McKeon was let-go by the Reds. Bob Boone still used Scott Sullivan for more than 100 innings and in 2001, Sully logged 103 innings. Since then, not a single Reds reliever has topped 88 innings pitched.

In all of MLB, since Scott Proctor threw 102 innings in 2006, no reliever has topped 100 innings in a year.

 What made the 1999 team so special? Many things, but one thing for sure is that three relievers ate up 22% of the Reds’ innings pitched. 

ERA NL IP

  • Scott Williamson           2.41     4.57     93.1      
  • Scott Sullivan             3.01     4.57    113.2     
  • Danny Graves               3.08     4.57    111       

Surprising everyone, in early 2019, the 88-year-old McKeon signed a deal to be a senior adviser in the Miami front office where his son Kasey acts as the Director of Player Procurement. 

The Roster 

“This allows us to compete. I think that with the moves we made, we can compete. I’m not saying we can overtake Houston or Atlanta or Los Angeles. But I don’t see why we can’t compete on a daily basis with the next set of clubs.”

~ Jim Bowden

After two losing seasons and diminished attendance, the Reds used the ‘98-‘99 off-season to reshape the core team. Having only hit 138 HR’s in the fall, they promptly dealt team HR leader Brett Boone to Atlanta for Denny Neagle and Michael Tucker, and the next day they dealt Paul Konerko for Mike Cameron. In February they made their biggest move, trading Reggie Sanders and Damian Jackson to San Diego for Greg Vaughn, who in 1998 become the 6th man in National League history to hit 50 HR’s in a season. Through the season, the outfield was a five-headed monster with Jeffery Hammonds and Dmitri Young joining the aforementioned Tucker, Cameron and Vaughn. Pokey Reese stepped into Boone’s spot, flashing leather in a manner not often seen at second base. However, the most volatile part of the Reds roster was the pitching staff. Seventeen pitchers and nine starters appeared for the team in 1999, and retreads like Jason Bere and Steve Avery washed-out in their attempt to rekindle their illustrious past. A strong bullpen and a steady stream of arms helped bridge the gap created by Neagle’s early season arm issues. Despite these obstacles, the team went on to win 96 games in a memorable season.

“That was one of the most tight-knit teams that I’ve ever been on. On and off the field. We just marched to our own drum and it was special. But I can’t take the credit for it. (Barry) Larkin is Mr. Cincinnati. And also, the young guys on that team, you gotta tip your hat to them because they were willing to listen, embrace it, and get better.”

~ Greg Vaughn

Best Red Batter  

Sean Casey, OPS+ 132

Which year is better? 

  • .332/.399/.539/.938  
  • .290/.337/.469/.805   

Most would say the first, but is it that much better? 

The first is Sean Casey’s 1999 season, and the second is Lee May’s 1968 season. 1999 happens to be one of the most offense-heavy seasons in MLB history, while 1968 is commonly referred to as the “Year of the Pitcher”. In terms of OPS+, Casey’s season clocks in at a +132, and May’s at +135. The real tell is the total bases. Sean Casey accounts for ~14% of the 1999’s team’s total bases, and Lee May compiled 11% of his teams total bases. During Casey’s 1999 season, he started out fast and furious. In his first 95 games he had a .357/.419/.589/1.008 line with a .378 babip. In his next 62 games, he hit .275/.357/.434/.792 with a .301 babip. This left him with a final line of .332/.399/.539/.938, a fun season for all and his engaging personality helped him garner numerous fans in and out of the game. This performance was so impressive that many expected him to hit like that in each ensuing year, which would only happen once more in 2004. Nonetheless, his breakout performance fit the basic template used by Reds first basemen throughout their history, or at least since Frank McCormick came along in the 1930’s.

  Games PA’s 

  • McCormick 1228 4787 – .301/.350/.437  OPS vs League – .077 
  • Kluszewski 1339 4961 – .302/.357/.512  OPS vs League – .115 
  • Coleman 767 2587   .271/.322/.447  OPS vs League – .017 
  • May 761 2841 – .275/.322/.491  OPS vs League – .068 
  • Perez 941 3233 – .276/.343/.458  OPS vs League – .076
  • Driessen 1228 3881 – .267/.364/.421  OPS vs League – .053  
  • Morris 1049 3382 – .305/.362/.444  OPS vs League – .041 
  • Casey 1075 4007 – .305/.371/.463  OPS vs League – .056 
  • Votto 1575 5563 – .311/.427/.530  OPS vs League – .202

NOTE: These are only guys with 2500 or more PA’s as First baseman. Perez only played 162 games at First before 1972—his numbers cover 1972-1976 when he was the regular First baseman. 

Best MLB Batter 

Larry Walker, OPS+ 164

“Getting hit by a pitch is like getting a base hit. When I go down to first, it’s the pitcher’s loss….Nobody wants to go in and get dirty. Drop a bunt if you have to. Draw some blood if you have to. Whatever it takes to get a win, you should be out trying to do.

~ Larry Walker

Since integration, the list of players who topped the league’s OPS by more than .300 points, and the number of times they did.

  • Barry Bonds               8
  • Albert Pujols              4
  • Todd Helton               3
  • Stan Musial                3
  • Larry Walker              3
  • Hank Aaron                2
  • Ralph Kiner                2
  • Willie Mays                2
  • Willie McCovey         2
  • Mark McGwire          2
  • Kevin Mitchell           2
  • Willie Stargell            2

Right between Stan Musial and Henry Aaron sits Larry Walker, the best hitter in the National League in 1999 with an insane line of .379/.458/.710/1.168. Despite a long run of hitting prowess, Walker is still saddled with the stigma of playing in the rarified Colorado air and, much like Phillie star Chuck Klein’s situation and the Baker Bowl, he will forever be linked to the park he played in when he dominated pitchers throughout the game. Walker never topped 150 games in a season and when comparing his peak with Klein’s, we need to use seven years of his career to match the same amount of plate appearances that Klein had in five years. If you look at their home and away splits, you can see what a home field advantage can do to a player at their peak. Whether you believe he’s a hall of famer or not, just marvel at these numbers.

Chuck Klein – 3432 PA’s over five seasons – .359/.414/.636/1.050 

Home vs. Away

1929

  • .391 .434 .734 1.168
  • .321 .382 .583 .965

1930

  • .437 .482 .792 1.274
  • .332 .391 .578 .969

1931

  • .401 .465 .740 1.205
  • .269 .327 .421 .748

1932

  • .423 .464 .799 1.263
  • .266 .340 .481 .821

1933

  • .467 .516 .789 1.305
  • .280 .338 .436 .774

Larry Walker – 3540 Pa’s over seven seasons – .341/.426 /.642/1.068 

Home vs. Away

1995

  • .343 .401 .730 1.131
  • .268 .361 .484 .845

1996

  • .393 .448 .800 1.248
  • .142 .216 .307 .523

1997

  • .384 .460 .709 1.169
  • .346 .443 .733 1.176

1998

  • .418 .483 .757 1.241
  • .302 .403 .488 .892

1999

  • .461 .531 .879 1.410
  • .286 .375 .519 .894

2001

  • .359 .446 .615 1.062
  • .259 .371 .399 .770

2002

  • .406 .483 .773 1.256
  • .293 .416 .549 .965

Best Red Pitcher 

Scott Williamson, ERA+ 194

“He throws hard and has great stuff – especially the splitter. He reminds me of Trevor Hoffman.”

~ Jack McKeon

At age four, Scott Williamson told his parents he was going to be a baseball player when he grew up, and furthermore, he would be a pitcher. In his first year of T-ball, Scott ran out to take his defensive position – pitcher. Small for a pitcher, Williamson claims his large legs helped him regularly reach 97-98 miles an hour on the radar gun. He was a starter until he came to the Reds camp in 1999 and his chance to make the roster increased when Denny Neagle experienced shoulder soreness. In college, Williamson came across former MLB pitchers who helped hone his craft. At Tulane, his catcher was Chad Sutter, son of Hall of Fame pitcher Bruce Sutter, the man that made the split finger fastball famous. Later, after transferring to Oklahoma State, he got to interact regularly with former pitcher John Farrell, the team’s coach. It was the Sutter relationship that benefited him most, mainly because Bruce taught him the splitter, a pitch he was particularly proud of. Even though Williamson mastered the pitch, Don Gullet warned him to not overuse it, fearing that his fastball would lose its explosiveness. Gullet liked the pitch, but implored him to only use it in certain situations.

The split-fingered fastball was once the most popular pitch in the game;  it made a star out of Bruce Sutter who learned it from his minor league coach Fred Martin in the early 1970’s. He would eventually win the 1979 Cy Young Award and many pitchers followed his lead throughout the 80’s. San Francisco Giants manager Roger Craig was an early evangelist of the pitch and nearly every Giants hurler threw it during his tenure, including Bill Swift and Jeff Brantley. Houston Astro starter Mike Scott used it regularly (and a spitter) to elevate his status to an elite hurler. Jack Morris dipped into his arsenal often for it. David Cone, Roger Clemons, Kevin Appier and numerous others in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s turned to it as well. The split-fingered fastball is thrown with the fingers split wide apart, with the pitcher employing a fastball motion. The lack of resistance on the throwers arm causes the pitch to die as it reaches the plate, dropping in the zone and causing the batter to catch nothing but air in their swing. It did, however, come with some problems – many thought it a major cause of arm injuries. Essentially, it was an off-speed pitch deployed by hurlers who couldn’t master the change-up. It found its roots in the Forkball, a popular pitch in the 1950’s, thrown with less effort than the splitter. In the 1990’s, a rash of pitchers who used the pitch experienced arm issues, including Bryan Harvey, Rod Beck and John Smoltz. Due to the lack of resistance the hand creates when throwing the pitch, the ensuing pressure is distributed to the throwers forearm, elbow or shoulder, causing strain and sore elbows. Since its heyday some 20 years ago, the pitch has fallen out of favor in the game. Teams like the Angels, Twins, Giants and Reds discourage their youngsters from learning the pitch. Meanwhile, older guys often turn to the pitch as a solution, especially if they see their career in jeopardy – Homer Bailey and Jeff Samardzija are good examples.

Splitting the closer role with Danny Graves in 1999, Williamson struck out over 100 batters in 90 innings, winning the Rookie of the Year award, the last by a Reds player. The Reds would try him as starter in 2000 and in spring of 2001 he tore a ligament in his shoulder which led to Tommy John Surgery. Post-surgery proved to be more difficult for Williamson than his rookie year. He would recover briefly, continuing his career with the Reds until he was traded to Boston in 2003. After a great post-season in 2003, Williamson would never achieve the same level of success, appearing in only 58 more games in his MLB career, eventually kicking around the minor leagues until 2009.  Many wonder to this day if the split-fingered fastball caused his arm damage. Or did that pitch propel him to the major leagues unexpectedly in 1999, a year he truly dominated? 

Best NL Pitcher 

Randy Johnson, ERA+ 184

As of Tuesday this week there have been 19,687 men who played Major League Baseball. Of all those men, only 44 pitchers have been 6’8” or taller, .00223%. Baseball is not a big man’s game like basketball, nor is extreme height an advantage as it is for soccer goalies or football tight ends. In fact, full body control is a must for repetitive action like pitching or hitting. Dusty Baker believed that the perfect height for a hitter topped out at 6’ 2” or so, believing that tall players’ swings become longer, slower and thus lose action in the hitting zone. As for pitching, it seems that at 6’ 8” we see a drop-off of successful participants. There have only been seven pitchers who topped-out at 6’ 10”, and only one true star – Randy Johnson.

Johnson appeared in 618 games, 603 of them were starts, which is roughly 27% of the starts made by the group of tall pitchers. In his career he would compile 4135 innings pitched and achieve an ERA more than a full run better than all pitchers, short and tall.

In 1999, Johnson signed with the Diamondbacks, who were in their third season in the National League. He had been dealt to the Astros the prior summer where he went 10-1 and had an unbelievable ERA+ of 322. That winter he was easily the most popular free agent in the game and, aside from Pedro Martinez, he was the most accomplished hurler in all of baseball. An imposing figure who at 35 had an amazing ten more seasons to go before he hung up his spikes. In 1999, Johnson led the league in Innings pitched (271.2), strikeouts (364), ERA+ 184 and batters faced (1079). He would lead the NL in strikeouts for the next three seasons.

Since integration, the best pitchers in the game have been the ones who could string together multiple seasons of domination. Below is the cream of the crop, bundled together in five consecutive seasons. Randy Johnson is in this group and no one should be surprised.

Only two lefthanders appear in this list, Johnson and Kershaw, and no one is nearly as tall as Johnson – a true outlier in a game that favors smaller men.

Making their MLB Debut

  • Lance Berkman
  • Alfonso Soriano
  • Octavio Dotel
  • Freddy Garcia

Making their MLB Exit

  • Willie McGee
  • Darryl Strawberry
  • Jim Abbott
  • Tom Candiotti

Cincinnati Population1900 – 325,902

2000 – 331,285

In 1999, Ohio had no cities that exceeded 1,000,000 people, six cities with 100,000 – 1,000,000 people, and 170 cities with 10,000 – 100,000 people. In short, the fan base for any Ohio sports team is spread around. The fans that would populate Reds games were more likely to live outside of the city limits than most of the larger cities in the league. Outside of Cincinnati counties, like Montgomery, Butler and Clermont, have larger growth rates than Hamilton County. In the 21st Century, the Columbus area has replaced both Cleveland and Cincinnati as the most populated city in Ohio, situated 90 miles north of the city. A winning baseball team would benefit greatly from that marketplace, but a losing team will never enhance people to drive hours to be disappointed.

Team Media Sources 

In 1999, it’s obvious that Cable TV and the Internet are rapidly changing the landscape of baseball broadcasting. In 1995, the first MLB game to be broadcast over the internet was executed by RealAudio in Seattle when they transmitted a Mariners – Yankees game. In 1997, The Florida Marlins began online broadcasts, and in April of 1998 the Reds began broadcasting their games on cincinnatireds.com, which also offered articles and a store where you could order the 400-page media guide or sign-up for weekly deliveries of the Red Reporter, a weekly newspaper focusing solely on the Reds. In local media, the Enquirer and Post formed sites to give online access to Chris Haft and John Fay’s takes on the Reds. In Dayton, Cox Media had a site with Hal McCoy’s takes and a chat board where fans could discuss their dislike of each move made by the team. However, if you wanted to watch the team on TV you had to have a cable subscription, something only 65% of the region had at the time. In 1999, the Reds couldn’t get a good over-the-air contract and, with that in mind, they took their product to cable for a set package. With nightly production costs pushing the $15,000 limit, plus a rights fee that made the cost of showing a game around $50,000, the Reds were in a quandary. Recent years of disappointment and the residue of the 1994 lockout still lingering, local advertising couldn’t promise to help cover the cost of a broadcast, much less generate a clear profit. This decision made the Reds the only team in MLB that had no games available on broadcast channels, a fact that rankled long-time broadcaster Marty Brennamen who stated, “I’m stunned. If this was a trend, I’d say there’s something to it . But why is this the only team in baseball in this situation? I’m a firm believer in what goes around, comes around. There’s going to be a time when this team’s games are in demand. And, if I’m the man in charge, I’m going to make them pay dearly to get them.”

Technology 

1999 is the year the dot-com bubble burst and brought down numerous overvalued companies that the public and technology were not ready to support in the still-new world of internet commerce. The telecom industry also crashed when infrastructure assumptions didn’t line-up with reality.

Meanwhile:

  • Electronic Arts  had to recall 100,000 copies of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 99 because an employee placed an “Easter Egg” containing an uncensored copy of South Park’s Jesus vs. Santa episode on the PlayStation disc.
  • The first USB flash drives were developed in April 1999 at M-Systems (now SanDisk).
  • The Big Mouth Billy Bass singing plastic fish was introduced, driving people crazy with its stupidity and making an appearance on an episode of Seinfeld. Al Green said he received more royalties from Big Mouth Billy singing “Take Me to the River” than from any other recording of the song.

Entertainment

In Sports:

The NBA and the NHL are both winter sports that experienced their initial growth and popularity in the populated cities of the Northeast of the United States. 1999 would see both leagues finish their seasons with champions who called Texas home. The Spurs, a relic from the old ABA, won their first championship. Also winning a title for the first time were the Dallas Stars, who originally entered the league in Minnesota as the Northstars in the NHL’s mass expansion of 1967.

In Film:

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace makes $924,317,558 worldwide in 1999. (I hated it.)

Best Comedies:

  • Office Space
  • Election 
  • Galaxy Quest 

Best off-beat films:

  • American Beauty
  • Being John Malkovich
  • Fight Club

Other notes:

NBC’s Freaks and Geeks on a brief but popular run and spawned numerous actors to populate stoner buddy movies over the next two decades. As the nineties wound down, some were ready to move-on, as evidenced by the hit “The ’90s Suck and So Do You” by the Angry Samoans.

Born 

  • Fernando Tatis Jr. (1/2/99)
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (3/16/1999)

Died 

  • Stanley Kubrick, (b. 1928)
  • Joe DiMaggio, (b. 1914)
  • Wilt Chamberlain, (b. 1936)


Notes 

  • February 2nd –  “It was probably like 5:45 in the morning and my phone rings at home, and she goes Greg honey, this is Marge Schott. I just wanted to say you got traded to the Cincinnati Reds. I just want to say congratulations and welcome to the Reds. So I was like, ‘Wow, thank you.’ She says, ‘We have one problem though. There’s no facial hair.’ This is our first conversation, and it was no later than 6 a.m. or so. I was like huh? You just traded for me knowing I have a goatee and I can’t wear it? So, I’m trying to adjust to all the different emotions that I was going through, so I was like, “Uh, get your players back because I’m not shaving.'” ~ Greg Vaughn
  • April 20 – Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott agrees to sell her controlling interest in the Reds to a group headed by Carl H. Lindner, ending her 14–year tenure. The group pays a total of $67 million. John Allen continues to run the team on a strictly-set budget and Schott hands the team over after the season.
  • In the first season opener ever played outside of the United States or Canada, the Colorado Rockies defeat the San Diego Padres, 8–2, in front of 27,104 in Monterrey, Mexico.
  • Logo stuff: After the 1993 season, the primary team logo returned to the wishbone C, making the Mr. Red running man a secondary logo. In 1999, Mr. Red reappeared with a new look — sporting the reintroduced “vest style” uniform (with pinstripes) and now running to the left instead of to the right. For seven years, this would be the Reds’ main logo until he was replaced in 2006 by “Vintage Mr. Red” who had been used as the team’s primary logo once prior in 1960. Unfortunately, Mr. Red is still ambling to the left as did his predecessor and the Reds haven’t won a playoff game since. Maybe they should turn him around?

Reds 150 – Throwback Uniforms – 1995

Sunday, October 27th, 2019

Whether you celebrate the Reds from a starting date of 1869 (first full professional team), 1882 (first year in the American Association), or 1890 (first year in the National League), you have to be somewhat amazed by the longevity of the Cincinnati team. A 2019 version of a uniform from the past is great but knowing what was happening when those uniforms debuted is history, and knowing your history is a big part of being a baseball fan, so we’ll try to cover the key events of the year.

Uniform

1995- Home

Date Debuted 

4/5/1993

This style actually came out in 1993 and was worn for two years prior to the 1995 Central Division championship. The 1993 squad went 73-89, suffering through a brutal second half with a lackluster 28-44 record. Notable Reds who wore this uniform in 1993 include Roberto Kelly, Dan Wilson, Kevin Mitchell, Juan Samuel, Bip Roberts and Tony Perez in his brief foray as the Reds manager.

Team’s Record that Season 

85-59, 1st place NL Central  

Due to the lockout of 1994, all of MLB had a shortened schedule of 144 games. The Reds started out 1-8 before reeling off six straight wins. On June 3rd, the team grabbed first place from the Cubs and held the position for the remainder of the season. It was a steady and comfortable lead too, with the Reds often ahead by ten games or more. Their record against the second place Astros was a dominating 12-1, leading them to a strong .590 winning percentage, and placed this Reds team between the 1956 and 1999 Reds teams for the best seasons in winning percentage.

Team’s Attendance 

Attendance: 1,837,649 (6th of 14)

The baseball strike in 1981, plus the team’s decline on the field in the early 1980’s, affected the Reds’ attendance numbers greatly. From 1973 to 1980 the team attracted more than two million spectators each season. After the strike in 1981, they would not surpass two million until 1987 when the team righted itself on the field after Pete Rose returned to manage them. The Reds drew an average of 27,829 fans per game from 1987 to 1993, and in 1994 they were in firm control of the Central Division when the mid-season work stoppage occurred. At that time, they drew an average of 32,164 fans to each home contest, an increase of 4,335 per game, and it added up to a lot of beer and hot dogs as well. The strike seemed to have a particularly bad effect on Reds attendance once the game got out of the bargaining room and onto the field. The team won the division in 1995, yet only averaged 25,522 a game that year, a decrease of 6,642 from the prior year’s average. Numerous empty seats were on display as the Reds lost games one and two of the division series against the Braves. The following three years presented a weaker product on the field and more diminished attendance numbers, averaging only 22,390 a game. The Reds would not top two million again until 1999, making it plain that winning was (and is) the key to drawing fans to the ballpark in Cincinnati, and losing, coupled with labor battles between millionaires and billionaires, is something that could bring the franchise to its knees.

Riverfront Stadium Seating Information 1995

  • Blue-level box seats ($11.50) – (Seat Totals – 10,383)
  • Green-level box seats ($10.00) – (Seat Totals – 6,827)
  • Yellow-level box seats ($10.00) – (Seat Totals – 2,180)
  • Red-level box seats ($9.00) – (Seat Totals – 3,224)
  • Green-level reserved seats ($8.00) – (Seat Totals – 4,928)
  • Red-level reserved seats ($6.50) – (Seat Totals – 18,010)
  • “Top Six” Reserved seats ($3.50) – (Seat Totals – 7,400)

Reds Manager

Davey Johnson carried the baggage of replacing a fired hero the day he took over for Tony Perez. However, he also had a pedigree and a few World Series rings, including one as manager with the 1986 Mets. Despite these merits, he would never win over Marge Schott, who had been under suspension when Bowden fired Perez after 44 games. It’s very likely that Bowden wanted Johnson all along, only to lose-out when Perez was considered. Schott disapproved of Johnson for living with his long-time girlfriend and promised coach Ray Knight the 1996 managerial position, putting Johnson in the awkward position of lame-duck manager for a team that would go to the NL Championship Series. In 1995, Johnson shuffled the lineup aggressively, rolling out 105 different batting orders (excluding pitcher) in the season’s 144 games. He was a chance-taker, but wouldn’t wait long to correct a poor decision. For example, Johnson started the season with Willie Greene as 3rd baseman, but quickly pivoted when Green proved not to be ready and went with the Lewis/Branson platoon. Following his dismissal, Johnson would have brief forays as the skipper of the Orioles (1996-1997) and the Dodgers (1999-2000), but would never find a position that distinguished him like the Mets job. Davey Johnson hated the Intentional Walk, his 1994 and 1995 teams played a total of 55 walks in 256 games, one every 4.45 games. In comparison, the 1976 Reds averaged an IBB every 2.9 games. He also never issued an IBB that advanced a lead runner, as did Felipe Alou. Now that’s trusting your process. Johnson had a degree in mathematics and, as an early adopter of personal computers, he fed lineup variations into mainframes in the 1980’s when he began managing. He was sure he had an idea of which path to take and his results confirm that.

The Roster

In a word, the 1995 roster was “manic.” General Manager Jim Bowden was not only the youngest GM in MLB history, he was the most active since the days of “Trader Frank Lane”. He made big moves early (signing an injured Ron Gant in July 1994, trading Jeff Shaw before the All Star Game) or spun big trades as the deadline crept up (David Wells, Mike Remlinger, Mark Portugal – In, Deion Sanders and C.J. Nitkowski – Out). Bowden was able to cajole payroll money from bottom line-obsessed Marge Schott during the period when she searched office garbage cans for unused paper. During the season, star pitcher Jose Rijo went down, the bullpen was a three man crew of Brantley, Jackson and Hernandez, and yet, they still won. For power, the corner outfielders (Sanders and Gant) carried the team and Davey Johnson, ever the Weaver disciple, found a perfect duo in Mark Lewis and Jeff Branson and dealt with them expertly, as well as shuffling numerous players that Bowden consistently threw his way. In total, Bowden made 9 trades, 7 FA pickups, and 3 waiver claims. Frank Viola arrived and left and Mariano Duncan returned. Benito Santiago, Jerome Walton, and Eric Anthony factored into the Reds winning the flag a year after they had been on other team’s. Bowden was such a force that, late in August, other GMs lambasted Bowden in the press for claiming every player he was afraid an opponent was targeting. Bowden replied, “We played by the rules, making our deals before the deadline. We’re going to block teams from doing waiver deals, make teams go with what they’ve got at the deadline.”

Best Red 

Barry Larkin

As a Reds fan, you should be aware that essentially the team had only 4 shortstops from 1950-2004, though sixty-seven men played shortstop for the Reds during that span. In a total of 8,680 games, 80% of those games were played by four men, and 51% of them were played by two men.

For reference, here are the National League and American League in games played leaders at shortstop since 1950:

NL

Player G RB OUTS RC/G

  • Ozzie Smith 2573 3565 7528 4.16
  • Dave Concepcion 2300 2909 6560 3.90
  • Larry Bowa 2247 2682 6647 3.39
  • Jimmy Rollins 2234 3257 7054 5.00
  • Barry Larkin 2180 3334 5978 6.22
  • Roy McMillan 2093 2361 5491 3.41
  • Garry Templeton 2047 2468 5973 3.72
  • Chris Speier 1960 2386 5201 3.79
  • Dick Groat 1929 2659 5767 4.1
  • Bill Russell 1911 2224 5259 3.5

AL

Player G RB OUTS RC/G

  • Derek Jeter 2747 4717 8269 6.18
  • Luis Aparicio 2599 3440 8110 3.80
  • Cal Ripken 2381 3558 7088 5.34
  • Alan Trammell 2293 3252 6388 5.27
  • Bert Campaneris 2213 2851 6820 3.84
  • Omar Vizquel 2200 3027 6345 4.37
  • Mark Belanger 1962 1917 4784 2.95
  • Ozzie Guillen 1818 1841 4950 3.15
  • Ed Brinkman 1812 1811 4924 2.63
  • Miguel Tejada 1555 2288 4594 5.62

1500 games appears to be the lower end of the benchmark for extreme longevity at the SS position, while 2000 is the number achieved by upper echelon shortstops.

In the AL, six players played at least 2000 games, while in the NL, seven players achieved that milestone. The AL has had four players who started at least 2000 of their games with one team. In modern MLB history there have been a total of 22 men who logged 2000 appearances at shortstop. 77% of them appeared on the field after World War 2 and three of them were Reds. (Roy McMillan split his games among three teams, but played the majority (1348) as a Red.) The Reds’ run of 50+ years of SS stability began when Roy McMillan appeared in 85 games for the Reds in 1951. From 1952-1958 he played in over 145 games at the shortstop.

In 1960, twenty-one-year-old Leo Cardenas appeared in Cincinnati for the first time. Initially, he was mostly a bench player, yet shared some SS duties with McMillian that summer. Reports on his play must have convinced the team’s new GM Bill DeWitt to move ahead with his first deal that winter when he flipped McMillan to the Braves for Joey Jay and Juan Pizarro. By 1962, Cardenas would eventually own the position outright and, 1,157 games later, the Reds would start the 1969 season for the first time since 1950 that McMillan or Cardenas didn’t man the shortstop position in Cincinnati.

1969 was the last full season that the Reds played at Crosley Field and the first full season of divisional play. That year, the position was split between Woody Woodward and Darrel Chaney. Not the most stellar pair, they posted below average fielding numbers and did nothing to solidify a position that was a noted weakness throughout the season. As hitters, they didn’t produce either. Nor did utility man Chico Ruiz, who probably left the greatest impression as a shortstop that season when he play-attacked Chief Noc-A-Homa in a mock Indian raid and was flipped by the Braves’ mascot. 

Two months later, Chico was an Angel and the Reds were talking internally about upgrading the position, many counting on a youngster named Davey Concepcion. It took a couple of years for Davey to fully grab the job and when he did, he held on tight and stayed long enough to watch both Pete and Tony leave, return and retire.

In 1985, the Reds used their 1st-round pick on a college position player for the first time.

The prior year, pitcher Pat Pacillo had been the first college player chosen by the Reds in the 1st-round of the 20th Amateur Draft 

And who was the position player?

Barry Larkin: Shortstop, University of Michigan.

1985 was also the last year that Davey Concepcion played over 100 games at shortstop in a season.

Like Roy McMillan, Davey was tasked to share his long-held spot with his eventual successor, Barry Larkin who won the spot from Kurt Stillwell.

From 1970-2004 the Reds had 10 players who appeared in at least 100 games at SS:

  • Woody Woodward 1971
  • Pokey Reese 2001
  • Kurt Stillwell 1987
  • Pokey Reese 1997
  • Jeff Branson 1993
  • Tom Foley 1984
  • Darrel Chaney 1973
  • Kurt Stillwell 1986

In 1995, Barry Larkin won the MVP and he was arguably better the year after. You could also argue that Barry Bonds deserved that MVP. Barry Larkin retired following the 2004 season and since then the Reds have been looking for a shortstop to match the longevity and legacy of the past.

Cincinnati Reds Shortstops Games played 2005-2019:

  • Zack Cozart 721
  • Paul Janish 283
  • Jose Peraza 245
  • Felipe Lopez 224
  • Alex Gonzalez 171
  • Jeff Keppinger 155
  • Orlando Cabrera 121
  • Jose Iglesias 110
  • Eugenio Suarez 96
  • Edgar Renteria 86
  • Royce Clayton 43
  • Jerry Hairston Jr. 34
  • Wilson Valdez 33
  • Ivan DeJesus Jr. 30
  • Juan Castro 30
  • Cesar Izturis 29
  • Pedro Lopez 12
  • Kris Negron 10
  • Didi Gregorius 6
  • Blake Trahan 5
  • Zach Vincej 3
  • Jake Elmore 3
  • Enrique Cruz 3

Best NL Hitter

Barry Bonds, OPS 1.009

1995 was the fifth consecutive season that Bonds had an OPS over 1.000. He would have 10 more in a row until he fell short with a .999 OPS in 2005. In 1978, his father Bobby Bonds hit 31 HR’s and had 43 steals. It was the fifth time he would top 30/30 in those two categories. Since 1978, hitting 30 home runs and stealing 30 bases has been achieved 52 more times, and the only other player to do it five times is Barry Bonds.

Barry and his father Bobby are easily the greatest father-son combination in MLB history. Combined, they produced an array of impressive numbers:

  • 4835 Games
  • 20,696 PA’s
  • 4821 Hits
  • 1,094 HRs
  • 975 SB

As of today, there have been 245 father-son combinations in MLB and currently the Blue Jays have three sons of former stars (two HOF’s) on their team. 

The first son of a player to appear in MLB was Jack Doscher, who played for Brooklyn in 1903. his father, Herm, had played for Brooklyn in the National Association thirty years prior. There have been four former players who had sons, as well as grandsons, play MLB (Gus Bell, Ray Boone, Joe Coleman, Sam Hairston) and there have been 16 players who had more than one son make the show.

Players with more than one Son in MLB:

  • Buddy Bell
  • Bob Boone
  • Jerry Hairston Sr.
  • Sandy Alomar Sr.
  • Jimmy Cooney
  • Chris Cron
  • Dave Duncan
  • Larry Gilbert
  • Dave LaRoche
  • Manny Mota
  • Tony Peña
  • Cal Ripken Sr.
  • Kevin Romine
  • George Sisler
  • Mel Stottlemyre
  • Dixie Walker Sr.

HOF Fathers:

  • George Sisler
  • Earl Averill
  • Yogi Berra
  • Craig Biggio
  • Eddie Collins
  • Vladimir Guerrero
  • Tony Gwynn
  • Connie Mack
  • Tony Pérez
  • Tim Raines
  • Ed Walsh
  • Freddie Lindstrom
  • Iván Rodríguez

HOF Sons:

  • Roberto Alomar
  • Cal Ripken Jr.
  • Ken Griffey Jr.

Sons of Negro League players:  Lyman Bostock and Reggie Jackson 

Sons of Japanese League players:  Derrek Lee and Hiroki Kuroda 

Sons of South of the Border League players:  Luis Tiant, Luis Aparico and Orlando Cepede

Sons of AAGPBL players:  Casey Candaele

It really is a game of father and sons…and in Casey’s case, moms.

Best Red Pitcher 

Pete Schourek, 18 RSAA

Don Gullet’s legendary status began in high school. He was All-State in three sports as a prep school star. He once scored 72 points in a football game and pitched a perfect game, striking out 20 of the 21 players. Drafted by the Red, he made the team at age 19 and was their most electrifying pitcher throughout the early 70’s. He would be the first Red to test the free agent waters in 1976. The day before Davey Johnson came on, Don Gullet was moved from the bullpen coach position to the pitching coach. It’s here that Gullet spun his third legend status as a fixer. He was known for adjusting and saving guys’ careers once they were discarded by other clubs – Jeff Brantley, Mike Remlinger, Pete Harnisch, Elmer Dessens among them. Perhaps his greatest turnaround was with Pete Schourek in 1995. At 6’5”, the lefty Schourek had never been able to harness his stuff in the Mets’ system, going 5-12 for them in 1993 and allowing 40 more hits than innings pitched. The next spring, was placed on waivers and was picked up by the Reds. When the 1994 season was postponed, his record stood at 7-2 and his role was firmly set in the Reds rotation. In 1995, he put it together like he had never done before, logging 190 innings, going 18-7 with 160 K’s and a WHIP of 1.067. It was a season for the ages as Schourek would never approach those numbers again, nor possess the durability needed to achieve them. For the next few years, Reds fans would scour the papers for pitchers who had been cut, hoping that Don Gullet could gerrymander their decline into an abrupt turnaround. Guys like Mike Morgan, Frank Viola, Steve Avery and Shawn Estes where given chances throughout his tenure. 

Best Runs Saved Against Average for Reds starters during the Gullet Era (1993-2003) 

10 Starts min/10 RSAA at least

Name YEAR RSAA GS

• Jose Rijo 1993 44 36

• Elmer Dessens 2002 28 30

• Pete Harnisch 1998 27 32

• Jose Rijo 1994 22 26

• Scott Williamson 2000 21 10

• Pete Harnisch 1999 19 33

• Denny Neagle 2000 19 18

• Pete Schourek 1995 18 29

• Steve Parris 1999 15 21

• John Smiley 1996 14 34

• Brett Tomko 1997 13 19

• Juan Guzman 1999 13 12

• John Smiley 1995 12 27

• Elmer Dessens 2000 12 16

• Osvaldo Fernandez 2000 12 14

• Chris Reitsma 2002 12 21

Best NL Pitcher

Greg Maddux, 64 RSAA

In 1987 Greg Maddux was 21-year-old pitcher on the Cubs with a 5.61 ERA. In mid-August he started against the defending Champion Mets. He only lasted 3.2 innings, walking five and giving up six hits. By the end of the day the Mets would score 23 runs, four percent of their season total. Two days later Maddux would appear as a reliever for an inning against Atlanta in a loss. Two days later he would appear again in the relief role for two innings in another loss. Greg Maddux would pitch for 20 more years in the National League, but never appear as a relief pitcher again. He would pitch in 708 games, all as a starter, and complete 107 of them. He finished his career with a 347-209 record and 3.06 ERA. 1995 was his best season. He had a 1.63 ERA vs. the leagues’ 4.18, with an impressive 64 RSAA leading the Braves to their first World Championship since 1957. In 1995 Greg Maddux pitched 209 innings and only walked 23 players and three of those were intentional. In 28 starts, Maddux had no walks in in 12 games. His worst appearance was in early August when the Reds coaxed 5 bases on balls from him on their way to a 9-3 victory. In that win, Hal Morris was walked twice by Maddux, once intentionally. Hal Morris faced Maddux 59 times in his career and hit a strong .370/.414/.463/.877 against the Hall of Famer. Most players could not begin to make that claim.

Only nine men have thrown 5,000 innings in MLB history. Maddux might be the last one to join that club.

IP GS IP

  • Walter Johnson 5914.2 666 5914.2
  • Phil Niekro 5404.1 716 5404.1
  • Nolan Ryan 5386 773 5386
  • Gaylord Perry 5350.1 690 5350.1
  • Don Sutton 5282.1 756 5282.1
  • Warren Spahn 5245.2 665 5245.2
  • Steve Carlton 5217.1 709 5217.1
  • Grover C Alexander 5189 599 5189
  • Greg Maddux 5008.1 740 5008.1

 Making their MLB Debut

  • David Bell
  • Johnny Damon
  • Scott Hatteberg
  • Derek Jeter
  • Joe Randa

Making their MLB Exit

  • Todd Benzinger
  • Billy Bean
  • Don Mattingly
  • Dave Winfield
  • Lou Whitaker

Cincinnati Population 

The 1990 census listed Cincinnati as the 45th largest city in the United States, with a population of 364,040, slightly above the 1900 population when the city was ranked 10th in the country. Other Midwest cities with MLB teams within a four-hour drive of Cincinnati show a pattern of peak populations occurring between 1930-1960, all fueled by the post-war industrial boom.

Cincinnati

  • 1950 503,998
  • 1960 502,550
  • 1940 455,610
  • 1970 452,524

Pittsburgh

  • 1950 676,806
  • 1940 671,659
  • 1930 669,817
  • 1960 604,332

Detroit  

  • 1950 1,849,568
  • 1960 1,670,144
  • 1940 1,623,452
  • 1930 1,568,662

Cleveland

  • 1950 914,808
  • 1940 878,336
  • 1930 900,429
  • 1960 876,050

Looking at these numbers, it’s easy to see why The Big Ten was a dominating conference in Football, Basketball, and many other sports during these peak eras. There were more bodies in the middle of the country than today.

Team Media Sources

After more than a decade of shuffling TV announcers, the Reds locked down on a combination that would last for the next two decades when they partnered George Grande and Chris Welsh for 90 games in 1993. The 1994 labor stoppage was partially fueled by small market teams fighting large market teams over the growing amount of TV money and how most of it seemed to only find its way to teams with Superstations. A good example of how this affected the Reds is the plethora of games available on a Friday night in June 1991: 

  • Cincinnati vs. Philadelphia – Channel 5 (NBC) – 7:30
  • Atlanta vs. Montreal – TBS – 7:30
  • Houston vs. New York Mets – WOR – 7:30
  • Oakland vs. Milwaukee – ESPN  – 8:30
  • Chicago Cubs vs. San Diego – WGN – 10:00
  • St. Louis vs. Los Angeles – ESPN (Joined in Progress)

Local advertising revenue was diluted because the hometown Reds couldn’t guarantee that baseball fans would be watching their game. The labor stoppage broke Reds baseball on free TV. Pressure from the network caused longtime carrier WLWT to cut the Reds from their schedule. The Reds would eschew free TV for good and after two years they placed their whole TV package on pay tv.

Entertainment

Toy Story is released, debuts at #1, and remains on the film charts for 18 weeks, marking the first feature-length film solely using computer-generated imagery. It is the first movie trailer I ever downloaded from the internet and it took about two hours via Netscape Navigator.

Also:

  • Apollo 13
  • The Usual Suspects

Music: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opens in Cleveland

Television: 

Born

  • November 3 – Mr. Show with Bob and David  

Died

  • May 7- Matlock (b. 1986)

Hot Technology 

1995 is all about the Internet, taking the world by storm. It was all browsers, laptops, modems, laplink, Pentium Pro, all internet, all the time.  

A few highlights include:

  • A former vice president at a Wall Street hedge fund opens an online store focusing on book sales.
  • A software engineer named Craig creates a list to address local happenings in San Francisco.
  • In Seattle, RealNetworks starts their business streaming audio over the internet, drastically changing the way we listen to music and sports.
  • On August 24th thousands show up to CompUSA to purchase Windows 95. An enhanced GUI is the draw. Microsoft Bob however is less well received.

Born 

  • Andrew Wiggins, Canadian basketball player
  • Joey Bosa, American football player
  • Gud, Swedish DJ and producer

Died 

  • Dean Martin, American actor, singer, comedian, and entertainer (b. 1917)
  • Mickey Mantle, American baseball player (b. 1931)
  • Wolfman Jack, American disc jockey (b. 1938)
  • Jerry Garcia, American guitarist (b. 1942)
  • Howard Cosell, American sportscaster (b. 1918)

Notes 

  • In 1995 baseball got their first real dose of the Colorado Rockies hitting environment when Dante Bichette, Andres Galleraga, Larry Walker and Vinny Vinny Castilla combined for 139 HR’s, more than eight other NL teams. The Rockies were also the league’s first Wild Card team, losing to the Braves in 5 games.
  • The Dodgers signed Hideo Nomo, the first Japanese player in MLB since Masanori Murakami thirty years prior. His corkscrew delivery and devastating forkball enabled him to lead the league in strikeouts, allowing less than six hits every nine innings.

  • The pre-season lockout caused some Spring Training drama when “Replacement Players” took the locked-out players place on the diamond. Among them were Kevin Millar, Herm Willingham, Damian Miller, Pete Rose Jr. and Rick Reed. In late July the Reds were drastically in need of a starter and talk circulated around the clubhouse that Reed was being considered. The same thing occurred in San Francisco the week prior and the team had rejected it, causing the front office to not bring up a man many called a “Scab.” The Reds had a talk about it and relief pitcher Jeff Brantley declared, “If they call him up, they better put his locker in a toilet stall.” Brantley changed his tune once Reed was in the room, welcoming him and thus defusing a situation that a winning team could do without.
  • A fact that was lost on me back in the day was that Ron Gant was the one who crushed a walk-off home run against Rob Dibble, who tore off his jersey in disgust, which is a lasting image of Rob Dibble for many Reds fans.