1961 Cincinnati Reds season

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1961 Cincinnati Reds
1961 National League Champions
Major League affiliations
Location
Other information
Owner(s) Powel Crosley, Jr., Bill DeWitt
General manager(s) Bill DeWitt
Manager(s) Fred Hutchinson
Local television WLW
(Ed Kennedy, Frank McCormick)
Local radio WKRC
(Waite Hoyt, Jack Moran)
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The 1961 Cincinnati Reds season was a season in American baseball. It consisted of the Reds winning the National League pennant with a 93–61 record, four games ahead of runner-up Los Angeles Dodgers, but losing the World Series in five games to the New York Yankees. The Reds were managed by Fred Hutchinson, and played their home games at Crosley Field. The Reds were also the last team to win the National League in the 154-game schedule era, before going to a 162-game schedule a year later.

Cincinnati's road to the World Series was truly a remarkable one, as the Reds went through significant changes in a single season to improve from a team that won just 67 games and finished 28 games behind the eventual World Series Champion Pittsburgh Pirates in 1960. The architect of the turnaround was the Reds' new general manager Bill DeWitt, who left his role as president and general manager of the Detroit Tigers after the end of the 1960 season to replace Gabe Paul as the Reds' GM. Paul was hired as the general manager of the expansion Houston Colt .45s.

DeWitt, who had a short history of successful trades in Detroit including acquiring Norm Cash and Rocky Colavito, went to work at the 1960 Winter Meetings for Cincinnati. DeWitt found trade partners in the Milwaukee Braves and the Chicago White Sox. In essentially a three-team trade, the Reds acquired pitchers Joey Jay and Juan Pizarro for slick-fielding shortstop Roy McMillan on Dec. 15, 1960. On that same day, the Reds then traded Pizzaro and pitcher Cal McLish to the White Sox for third baseman Gene Freese. It was the fourth time Freese had been traded in 18 months. Most recently, the White Sox had acquired Freese from the Philadelphia Phillies for future all star Johnny Callison in December 1959.

Thirteen days before the start of the season, Reds owner Powell Crosley, Jr., died suddenly of a heart attack at his home in Cincinnati. DeWitt would eventually purchase 100% of the team ownership from Crosley's estate.

The Reds started the season with Freese at third base, sure-handed Eddie Kasko moved from third (where he played in 1960) to shortstop and long-time minor leaguer Jim Baumer started at second base. Baumer was one of MLB's "feel good" stories. After playing in nine games with the White Sox in 1949 as an 18 year old rookie, Baumer returned to the minor leagues and didn't make it back to the big league for 11 years. After a solid spring training with the Reds, Baumer was named starting second baseman to open the season. As the season began, expectations were low for the Reds among baseball "experts." The Reds won their first three games, but then went into a slump, losing 10 of 12. To the surprise of many, it was the Reds' offense that struggled most. Baumer in particular was hitting just .125. DeWitt then made a bold move on April 27, 1961, trading all-star catcher Ed Bailey to the San Francisco Giants for second baseman Don Blasingame, catcher Bob Schmidt and journeyman pitcher Sherman Jones. Blasingame was inserted as starter at second base, and Baumer was traded to the Detroit Tigers on May 10 for backup first baseman Dick Gernert. Baumer never again played in the majors.

On April 30, the Reds won the second game of a double-header from the Pittsburgh Pirates to begin a 9-game winning streak. Exactly a month after the trade of Bailey, the Reds began another win streak, this time six games, to improve to 26-16. Those streaks were part of a stretch where the Reds won 50 of 70 games to improve to 55-30. Cincinnati led Los Angeles by five games at the All Star break.

After the break, the Dodgers got hot and the Reds floundered. After Aug. 13 games, Los Angeles was 69-40 and led Cincinnati (70-46) by 2 1/2 games, but six in the loss column as the Dodgers had played seven less games than the Reds due to multiple rainouts. On Aug. 15, the Reds went into Los Angeles to begin a three-game, two-day series highlighted by a double-header. In the first game of the series, Reds' righty Joey Jay bested Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers, 5-2, as Eddie Kasko had four hits and Frank Robinson drove in two for Cincinnati. In the Wednesday double-header, knuckle-baller Bob Purkey threw a four-hit shutout as the Reds won Game 1, 6-0. In Game 2, Freese hit two home runs off Dodgers' lefty Johnny Podres and Jim O'Toole hurled a two-hitter as the Reds completed the sweep with an 8-0 victory. The Reds left Los Angeles with a half-game lead. It was the Dodgers' fourth-straight loss in what would turn out to be a 10-game losing streak to put the Dodgers in a hole, while the Reds stayed in first-place the rest of the season.

The Reds clinched their first pennant in 21 years on Sept. 26 when they beat the Cubs, 6-3, in the afternoon and the Dodgers lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 8-0, in the second game of a doubleheader. The Reds finished four games ahead in the National League and earned a chance to face the mighty New York Yankees in the 1961 World Series.

Outfielders Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson led the Reds offense while starting pitchers Bob Purkey, Jim O'Toole and newcomer Joey Jay were the staff standouts. Robinson (37 homers, 124 RBI, 117 runs scored, 22 stolen bases, .323 average) was named National League MVP. Pinson (208 hits, .343 average, 101 runs scored, 23 stolen bases) and a Gold Glove recipient, finished third in MVP voting. Purkey won 16 games, O'Toole won 19 and Jay won an NL-best 21 games. Jay also finished a surprising fifth in NL MVP voting, one spot ahead of future Hall of Famer Willie Mays who hit 40 home runs and drove in 123 for the Giants, such was the respect the Baseball Writers had for Jay's contributions to the Reds' pennant.

Freese was also a significant contributor, slugging 26 home runs and driving in 87 runs to go with a .277 average. At a position (3B) that the Reds had received little offensive production from in the recent years leading up to 1961, Freese provided a major boost.

Hutchinson, a former MLB pitcher, was masterful in his handling of the pitching staff as well as juggling a lineup that included part-timers (and former slugging standouts) Gus Bell, Wally Post (20, 57, .294) as well as Jerry Lynch (13, 50, .315). For the second straight season, Lynch led the National League with 19 pinch hits. Hutchinson was named NL Manager of the Year.

Player Moves[edit]

Season standings[edit]

National League W L Pct. GB Home Road
Cincinnati Reds 93 61 0.604 47–30 46–31
Los Angeles Dodgers 89 65 0.578 4 45–32 44–33
San Francisco Giants 85 69 0.552 8 45–32 40–37
Milwaukee Braves 83 71 0.539 10 45–32 38–39
St. Louis Cardinals 80 74 0.519 13 48–29 32–45
Pittsburgh Pirates 75 79 0.487 18 38–39 37–40
Chicago Cubs 64 90 0.416 29 40–37 24–53
Philadelphia Phillies 47 107 0.305 46 22–55 25–52


Record vs. opponents[edit]

1961 National League Records

Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]
Team CHC CIN LAD MIL PHI PIT SF STL
Chicago 12–10 7–15 9–13–1 13–9 11–11 5–17 7–15–1
Cincinnati 10–12 12–10 15–7 19–3 11–11 12–10 14–8
Los Angeles 15–7 10–12 12–10 17–5 13–9 10–12 12–10
Milwaukee 13–9–1 7–15 10–12 16–6 12–10 11–11 14–8
Philadelphia 9–13 3–19 5–17 6–16 7–15 8–14–1 9–13
Pittsburgh 11–11 11–11 9–13 10–12 15–7 10–12 9–13
San Francisco 17–5 10–12 12–10 11–11 14–8–1 12–10 9–13
St. Louis 15–7–1 8–14 10–12 8–14 13–9 13–9 13–9


Roster[edit]

1961 Cincinnati Reds
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders

Other batters

Manager

Coaches

Player stats[edit]

Batting[edit]

Starters by position[edit]

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
C Edwards , JohnnyJohnny Edwards 52 145 27 .186 2 14
1B Coleman, GordyGordy Coleman 150 520 149 .287 26 87
2B Blasingame, DonDon Blasingame 123 450 100 .222 1 21
3B Freese, GeneGene Freese 152 575 159 .277 26 87
SS Kasko, EddieEddie Kasko 126 469 127 .271 2 27
LF Post, WallyWally Post 99 282 83 .294 20 57
CF Pinson, VadaVada Pinson 154 607 208 .343 16 87
RF Robinson, FrankFrank Robinson 153 545 176 .323 37 124

Other batters[edit]

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pitching[edit]

Starting pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; CG = Complete games; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
INF Cárdenas, LeoLeo Cárdenas 74 198 61 .308 5 24
C Zimmerman, JerryJerry Zimmerman 76 204 42 .206 0 10
2B-SS Chacón, ElioElio Chacón 61 132 35 .265 2 5
OF Lynch, JerryJerry Lynch 96 181 57 .315 13 55
Pitcher G CG IP W L ERA SO
Jay, JoeyJoey Jay 34 14 247.3 21 10 3.53 157
O'Toole, JimJim O'Toole 39 11 253.7 19 9 3.10 178
Purkey, BobBob Purkey 36 13 246.3 16 12 3.73 116
Hunt, KenKen Hunt 29 4 136.3 9 10 3.96 75
Johnson, KenKen Johnson 15 3 83 6 2 3.25 42

Other pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; CG = Complete games; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Pitcher G CG IP W SV ERA SO
Maloney, JimJim Maloney 27 1 94.7 6 2 4.37 57

Relief pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings Pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Pitcher G IP W L SV ERA SO
Brosnan, JimJim Brosnan 53 80 10 4 16 3.04 40
Henry, BillBill Henry 47 53.3 2 1 16 2.19 53
Jones, ShermanSherman Jones 24 55 1 1 2 4.42 32
Nunn, HowieHowie Nunn 24 37.7 2 1 0 3.58 26

1961 World Series[edit]

Main article: 1961 World Series

AL New York Yankees (4) vs. NL Cincinnati Reds (1)

Game Score Date Location Attendance
1 Reds – 0, Yankees– 2 October 4 Yankee Stadium 62,397
2 Reds– 6, Yankees – 2 October 5 Yankee Stadium 63,083
3 Yankees– 3, Reds – 2 October 7 Crosley Field 32,589
4 Yankees– 7, Reds – 0 October 8 Crosley Field 32,589
5 Yankees– 13, Reds – 5 October 9 Crosley Field 32,589

Awards and honors[edit]

Farm system[edit]

Level Team League Manager
AAA Indianapolis Indians American Association Cot Deal
AAA Jersey City Jerseys International League Nap Reyes
A Columbia Reds Sally League Ted Beard and Hersh Freeman
B Topeka Reds Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League Dave Bristol
D Tampa Tarpons Florida State League Johnny Vander Meer
D Geneva Redlegs New York–Penn League Karl Kuehl

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Topeka, Tampa

References[edit]

External links[edit]