1985 Cincinnati Reds season

1 01 2011

Since 1980, the majority stake in the Reds had been held by William and James Williams. The Williams brothers sat on the Board of the Western & Southern Life Insurance Company, which was founded by their father. They were part of the founding group of the Bengals franchise, and had held a stake in the Reds since 1966.

In December 1984, local auto dealership owner Marge Schott purchased the majority interest in the team from the Williams brothers, and became the team’s CEO in 1985. This started one of the strangest ownership tenures in Reds’ history (or any team’s for that matter).

On the field, 1985 was a bit of a revival period for the Reds. After 3 seasons of finishing at or near last place, hometown hero Pete Rose returned in 1984 as player-manager and managed his first full season in 1985. Rose helped to turn the club’s culture around, as the Reds went 89-72 to finish 2nd in the NL West to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Reds had a deep offense with one standout. Former MVP Dave Parker led the National League with 42 doubles and 125 RBI, while also hitting 34 home runs. Parker finished 2nd in the MVP voting that year, and he and Rose both made the NL All-Star team. Parker participated and won the first Home Run Derby on the day before the All-Star game. He won the individual title by smashing 6 homers to outdistance five others who hit 4 each. Rose’s Big Red Machine teammates Dave Concepcion and Tony Perez had good years; Perez batted .328 off the bench, and Concepcion had his 2,000th hit during the campaign.

Pitching carried the day for the team. Tom Browning was the first pitcher since 1954 to win 20 games as a rookie; he is still the most recent player to accomplish this feat. He finished 2nd in the Rookie of the Year voting to Vince Coleman – Coleman was a unanimous selection, while Browning received every single 2nd place vote. Ted Power (2.70 ERA, 27 SV) and 2nd year pitcher John Franco (12-3, 2.18, 12 SV), anchored an outstanding bullpen.

However, the biggest story of the year was Rose’s pursuit of the all-time hits record. Coming into the season, Rose had 4,097 hits, just 96 short of Ty Cobb’s record. Cobb had held the record for 62 years (he passed Cap Anson in 1923). In September, the record was within sight. On September 8th at Wrigley Field, Rose had 2 singles to tie Cobb’s career record of 4,191 hits.

Three days later, on September, Rose broke the record at home in front of a sold out Riverfront Stadium crowed with a single against San Diego’s Eric Show. The game was stopped as the 47,000+ fans roared their approval as Pete’s son, Pete Rose, Jr., ran out to share the moment with his dad.

Though the Reds didn’t make the playoffs, it was a promising end to the season after 3 years of cellar dwelling.

Team MVP: Dave Parker (.312/34/125, 42 2B)

Best Pitcher: Tom Browning (20-9/3.55/155)

Award Winners:

Parker, Silver Slugger



Pete Rose




One response

14 07 2011

Dave was awesome!

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