Tomorrow night, Joey Votto, Aroldis Chapman and Jay Bruce will be representing the Cincinnati Reds in the All-Star Game. Votto will start at first. Votto and Bruce may play…or may not. Depends and I will leave it at that.
Some things have changed in the manner players participate in the All-Star Game. In the first All-Star Game in 1933, the starters played the entire game. There was a reason. Not every team had a representative. Rosters didn’t consist of 200 players like they do today. Now, a starting pitcher only hurls two innings, which isn’t a bad thing, I guess. Starting position players, as elected by the fans, play about three or four innings depending on the makeup of the remaining roster.
When it comes to the Reds and the All-Star Game, here’s some “firsts” and “lasts” from Reds that have previously played in the mid-summer classic.
Last Reds All-Star to…
Get a hit – Scott Rolen (2010)
Drive in a run – Ken Griffey, Jr. (2007)
Hit a home run – Dave Concepcion (1982)
Steal a base – Barry Larkin (1990)
Hit a double – George Foster (1979)
Hit a triple – Pete Rose (1976)
Get an ASG win – Ewell Blackwell (1950)
Earn a save – Tom Hume (1982)
Start the ASG – Jack Armstrong (1990)
Record a strikeout – Edinson Volquez (2008)
ASG MVP – Concepcion (1982)
In looking over these “lasts”, a couple should either jump out at you or need just a little background info. The Rolen hit in itself jumps outs at you for a couple of reasons. One, it seems odd since Rolen has had issues getting on base. Two, the now famous sound byte of Brandon Phillips saying “That’s how we do it in Cincinnati” when Rolen goes from first to third on a Matt Holliday single. Rolen and Holliday (along with Marlon Byrd) would score shortly thereafter on a Brain McCann bases-clearing, game-winning double.
The other one that piqued my curiosity was the Hume save from 1982. The way the save rule is constructed, you can throw 0.1 innings and get a save. This was the case for Hume. He replaced Steve Howe and they was one on and two outs. The NL held a 4-1 lead. Hume would face future teammate in Buddy Bell and coax him into a flyout. Game over. NL wins 4-1. Even though Bell was not the potential game-tying run, Hume records the save because the guy on-deck was. It’s silly rule and pretty much a silly stat.
I hope a certain person doesn’t get any new ideas…
First Reds All-Star to:
Get a hit – Chick Hafey (1933)
Drive in a run – Ernie Lombardi (1938)
Hit a home run – Gus Bell (1954)
Steal a base – Ival Goodman (1938)
Hit a double – Lonny Frey (1939)
Hit a triple – Rose (1976)
Get an ASG win – Johnny Vander Meer (1938)
Record a save – Ewell Blackwell (1951)*
Start an ASG – Vander Meer (1938)
Record a strikeout – Paul Derringer (1935)
Win an MVP – Tony Perez (1967)
Back to the deal about saves…and the asterisk. Technically, the save did not become an official statistic until 1969, so we should honestly consider removing Blackwell’s name from this. If we elect to (and we probably should), then Hume has the only save by a Reds pitcher in ASG history.
Same for triples. Rose’s in 1976 is the only three bagger any Reds player has ever recorded.
As for Vander Meer and 1938. He did record his back-to-back no-hitters that season. Those two games came in the midst in a string of six consecutive complete games where Vander Meer recorded a slash against of .096/.203/.124. His ERA was 0.65 and the WHIP was 0.745. You might ask why the high OBP. Vander Meer would walk a batter every so often and in this stretch, it was no different as he issued 24 free passes in 55 innings.