1973 Cincinnati Reds season

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1973 Cincinnati Reds
1973 NL West Championship
Major League affiliations
Location
Other information
Owner(s) Francis L. Dale
General manager(s) Bob Howsam
Manager(s) Sparky Anderson
Local television WLWT
(Charlie Jones, Wes Parker)
Local radio WLW
(Al Michaels, Joe Nuxhall)
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The 1973 Cincinnati Reds season consisted of the Reds winning the National League West with a Major League-best record of 99-63, 3½ games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers, before losing the NLCS to the New York Mets in five games. The Reds were managed by Sparky Anderson, and played their home games at Riverfront Stadium.

The Reds were coming off a devastating loss to the underdog Oakland Athletics in the 1972 World Series. In the winter, a growth was removed from the lung of Cincinnati's star catcher, Johnny Bench. While Bench played the entire season, his power numbers dropped from 40 home runs in 1972 to 25 in '73. He never again reached the 40 homer mark, something he accomplished in two of the previous three seasons prior to the surgery.

Coming into the season, the defending NL Champion Reds were still favored to win the strong NL West against the likes of the Houston Astros, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the San Francisco Giants. The Reds' lineup returned virtually intact, with the exception of third base where the Reds tried to make a third baseman out of rookie Dan Driessen, a solid hitter (.301 average) who had played mostly first base in the minor leagues. With Tony Perez fully entrenched at first base, the Reds wanted to get Driessen's bat in the lineup and his playing time was at the expense of the anemic hitting Denis Menke (.191), although the Reds were sacrificing defense with Driessen at the hot corner. The other change was at shortstop, where David Concepción emerged from a 1972 timeshare with Darrel Chaney to full-time starter a year later, finally realizing his potential in his fourth year in the majors. Concepción was outstanding both at bat and in the field and was named to the NL All-Star team. But two days before the mid-summer classic on July 22, in a game against the Montreal Expos, Concepción broke his ankle sliding into third base after moving from first base on a Menke base hit, and missed the second half of the season. Concepción was batting .287, with eight home runs, 46 RBI, 39 runs scored and 22 stolen bases, all career highs despite missing almost half a season.

The Reds had other hurdles to overcome. Cincinnati's pitching ace, Gary Nolan (15-5, 1.99 ERA in '72), suffered from a sore arm that limited him to two starts and 10 innings pitched before it was discovered he had a torn ligament in his right elbow. The injury would force Nolan to also miss the entire 1974 season. There was also an issue with centerfielder Bobby Tolan. He slumped badly to .206, became a malcontent, and had several squabbles with members of Reds management, who were still unhappy with his 1971 basketball injury that cost him that season as well as Tolan's error in Game 7 of the 1972 World Series against Oakland that was arguably the key play in that game. Tolan went AWOL for two days in August 1973, and broke team rules by growing a beard. On September 27, the team suspended Tolan for the remainder of the season including the NLCS.

The Reds started well, and were 25-16 about a quarter of the way through the season and led the second-place Dodgers by a 1½ games on May 23. But with Tolan, Menke and Bench mired in slumps and the Reds starting pitchers struggling, the Reds began to flounder. Reds general manager Bob Howsam determined the Reds offense would eventually come around, but the pitching staff needed help. With Nolan sidelined indefinitely and starters Jim McGlothlin and Roger Nelson struggling, Howsam traded for San Diego Padres left-hander Fred Norman on June 12. At the time of the trade, the 5-foot-8 lefty was 1-7 for the last-place Padres, but Norman would go 12-6 in 24 starts for the Reds to provide a major boost.

The Reds were still in a slump when they met the Dodgers for a July 1, doubleheader in Cincinnati. The Reds were 39-37 and trailed the Dodgers (51-27) by 11 games. Just as they had done 12 years earlier, the Reds swept the Dodgers in a doubleheader to jumpstart their pennant hopes. In Game 1, Cincinnati's third-string catcher, Hal King, belted a game-winning, three-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Reds a 4-3 victory. In Game 2, Tony Perez singled in the game-winner off knuckleball specialist Charlie Hough in the bottom of the 10th as the Reds won 3-2. The doubleheader sweep was part of a stretch where Cincinnati won 10 of 11 games and by July 10, had cut the Dodgers' lead to 4½ games.

Both teams stayed close throughout the season, but on Aug. 29, the Reds beat Pittsburgh, 5-3, to begin a seven-game winning streak. After losing two to the Braves, the Reds began another seven-game winning streak to gain some space between the Dodgers. Los Angeles came into Cincinnati for a two-game series, Sept. 11-12, trailing the Reds by 3 games with 18 left on the schedule. A two-run home run by rookie Ken Griffey was the big hit in the Reds' 6-3 victory on Sept. 11, and the Reds completed the sweep the next day as Jack Billingham hurled a complete-game and, the typically poor hitter (.065 average), also belted a bases-clearing double off LA starter Claude Osteen in a 7-3 victory. The Dodgers left Cincinnati trailing by five games. On Sept. 24, the Reds beat San Diego, 2-1, to clinch their second-straight division title and third in four years.

The Reds offense was led by Pete Rose (team-record 230 hits, 115 runs scored, an NL best .338 batting average), Joe Morgan (116 runs, 26 home runs, 82 RBI, 67 stolen bases, .290 avg.) and Perez (.314, 27, 101). Rose was voted the National League MVP, while Morgan finished fourth and Perez seventh in a vote by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Jack Billingham emerged as the staff ace, leading the National League in both innings pitched (293) and shutouts (7) to go with 19 victories, while young lefty Don Gullett won 11 of his last 12 decisions to finish 18-8.

Future stars Griffey and George Foster also played well in short stays with the Reds. Griffey batted .384 in 86 at bats in his major league debut, while Foster hit .282 and smacked four home runs in just 39 at bats. Journeyman third-string catcher Hal King also emerged as an unsung hero. King hit three pinch hit home runs, all of which either tied or won games late including a three-run home run off Los Angeles Dodger starter Don Sutton on July 1 to win a game for the Reds.

Offseason[edit]

Season standings[edit]

NL West W L Pct. GB Home Road
Cincinnati Reds 99 63 0.611 50–31 49–32
Los Angeles Dodgers 95 66 0.590 50–31 45–35
San Francisco Giants 88 74 0.543 11 47–34 41–40
Houston Astros 82 80 0.506 17 41–40 41–40
Atlanta Braves 76 85 0.472 22½ 40–40 36–45
San Diego Padres 60 102 0.370 39 31–50 29–52


Record vs. opponents[edit]

1973 National League Records

Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]
Team ATL CHC CIN HOU LAD MON NYM PHI PIT SD SF STL
Atlanta 7–5 5–13 11–7 2–15–1 6–6 6–6 6–6 7–5 12–6 8–10 6–6
Chicago 5–7 8–4 6–6 5–7 9–9 10–7 10–8 6–12 7–5 2–10 9–9
Cincinnati 13–5 4–8 11–7 11–7 8–4 8–4 8–4 7–5 13–5 10–8 6–6
Houston 7–11 6–6 7–11 11–7 6–6 6–6 7–5 6–6 10–8 11–7 5–7
Los Angeles 15–2–1 7–5 7–11 7–11 7–5 7–5 9–3 10–2 9–9 9–9 8–4
Montreal 6–6 9–9 4–8 6–6 5–7 9–9 13–5 6–12 7–5 6–6 8–10
New York 6–6 7–10 4–8 6–6 5–7 9–9 9–9 13–5 8–4 5–7 10–8
Philadelphia 6-6 8–10 4–8 5–7 3–9 5–13 9–9 8–10 9–3 5–7 9–9
Pittsburgh 5–7 12–6 5–7 6–6 2–10 12–6 5–13 10–8 8–4 5–7 10–8
San Diego 6–12 5–7 5–13 8–10 9–9 5–7 4–8 3–9 4–8 7–11 4–8
San Francisco 10–8 10–2 8–10 7–11 9–9 6–6 7–5 7–5 7–5 11–7 6–6
St. Louis 6–6 9–9 6–6 7–5 4–8 10–8 8–10 9–9 8–10 8–4 6–6


Notable transactions[edit]

Roster[edit]

1973 Cincinnati Reds
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders 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 Bench, JohnnyJohnny Bench 152 557 141 .253 25 104
1B Pérez, TonyTony Pérez 151 564 177 .314 27 101
2B Morgan, JoeJoe Morgan 157 576 167 .290 26 82
3B Driessen, DanDan Driessen 102 366 49 .300 4 47
SS Concepción, DaveDave Concepción 89 328 94 .287 8 46
LF Rose, PetePete Rose 160 680 230 .338 5 64
RF Gerónimo, CésarCésar Gerónimo 139 324 68 .210 4 33
CF Tolan, BobbyBobby Tolan 129 457 94 .206 9 51

Other batters[edit]

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

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Kosco, AndyAndy Kosco 47 118 33 .280 9 21
Gagliano, PhilPhil Gagliano 63 69 20 .290 0 7
Scheinblum, RichieRichie Scheinblum 29 54 12 .222 1 8
Locklear, GeneGene Locklear 29 26 5 .192 0 0

Pitching[edit]

Starting pitchers[edit]

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

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Billingham, JackJack Billingham 40 293.3 19 10 3.04 155
Gullett, DonDon Gullett 45 228.3 18 8 3.51 153
Grimsley, RossRoss Grimsley 38 242.3 13 10 3.23 90
Norman, FredFred Norman 24 166.3 12 6 3.30 112

Other pitchers[edit]

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

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Nelson, RogerRoger Nelson 14 54.7 3 2 3.46 17

Relief pitchers[edit]

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

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Borbón, PedroPedro Borbón 80 11 4 14 2.16 60
Carroll, ClayClay Carroll 53 8 8 14 3.69 41
Baney, DickDick Baney 11 2 1 2 2.93 17

1973 National League Championship Series[edit]

The Reds lost the National League Championship Series to the Mets 3 games to 2 despite heroics by Rose and Bench in Game 1 and Rose again in Game 4. Rose's eighth-inning home run against Tom Seaver tied the score at 1-1 and Bench won it in the 9th with another solo home run. Rose also hit a game-winning home run in the 12th-inning to tie the series at 2-2. During Game Three of the series, Rose got into a fight with the popular Mets shortstop Bud Harrelson while trying to break up a double play; the fight resulted in a bench-clearing brawl. The game was nearly called off when, after the Reds took the field, fans threw objects from the stands at Rose, causing the Reds team to leave the field until order was restored.

Game 1[edit]

October 6: Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0
Cincinnati 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 6 0
W: Pedro Borbón (1-0)   L: Tom Seaver (0-1)   S: None
HR: NYM – None  CINPete Rose (1), Johnny Bench (1)
Pitchers: NYM – Seaver  CIN – Billingham, Hall (9), Borbón (9)
Attendance: 53,431

Game 2[edit]

October 7: Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 4 5 7 0
Cincinnati 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
W: Jon Matlack (1-0)   L: Don Gullett (0-1)   S: None
HR: NYMRusty Staub (1)  CIN – None
Pitchers: NYM – Matlack  CIN – Gullett, Carroll (6), Hall (9), Borbón (9)
Attendance: 54,041

Game 3[edit]

October 8: Shea Stadium, New York City, New York

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cincinnati 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 8 1
New York 1 5 1 2 0 0 0 0 x 9 11 1
W: Jerry Koosman (1-0)   L: Ross Grimsley (0-1)   S: None
HR: CINDenis Menke (1)  NYMRusty Staub (2), (3)
Pitchers: CIN – Grimsley, Hall (2), Tomlin (3), Nelson (4), Borbón (7)  NYM – Koosman
Attendance: 53,967

Game 4[edit]

October 9: Shea Stadium, New York City, New York

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 R H E
Cincinnati 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 8 0
New York 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 2
W: Clay Carroll (1-0)   L: Harry Parker (0-1)   S: Pedro Borbón (1)
HR: CINTony Pérez (1), Pete Rose (2)  NYM – None
Pitchers: CIN – Norman, Gullett (6), Carroll (10), Borbón (12)  NYM – Stone, McGraw (7), Parker (12)
Attendance: 50,786

Game 5[edit]

October 10: Shea Stadium, New York City, New York

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cincinnati 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 7 1
New York 2 0 0 0 4 1 0 0 x 7 13 1
W: Tom Seaver (1-1)   L: Jack Billingham (0-1)   S: Tug McGraw (1)
HR: CIN – None  NYM – None
Pitchers: CIN – Billingham, Gullett (5), Carroll (5), Grimsley (7)  NYM – Seaver, McGraw (9)
Attendance: 50,323

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Pete Rose – National League Most Valuable Player
  • Pete Rose – National League Batting Champion

Farm system[edit]

Level Team League Manager
AAA Indianapolis Indians American Association Vern Rapp
AA Trois-Rivières Aigles Eastern League Jim Snyder
A Tampa Tarpons Florida State League Russ Nixon
A-Short Season Seattle Rainiers Northwest League Jim Hoff
Rookie GCL Reds Gulf Coast League Ron Plaza

[5]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Nardi Contreras page at Baseball Reference
  2. ^ Roger Nelson page at Baseball Reference
  3. ^ Andy Kosco page at Baseball Reference
  4. ^ Gene Locklear page at Baseball Reference
  5. ^ Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 3rd edition. Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America, 2007

References[edit]