1962 Cincinnati Reds season

7 05 2011

1962 was a notable year for the Reds.  The club was defending its National League pennant, and the franchise saw its first two Hall of Fame inductees.

The 1962 Hall of Fame induction was most notable for Jackie Robinson’s induction – but the Reds franchise had quite a successful induction as well. Two Veteran Committee inductees that year were the first two hall of Famers depicted with a Cincinnati cap on their plaque.  Edd Roush was a Red for 12 years, winning 2 batting titles, including one for the 1919 World Champion team.  Roush was a lifetime .323 hitter who amassed over 2300 hits – and when he died in 1988 – he was the last living member of the Federal League.

A representative from their other World Series championship was the 2nd inductee.  Bill McKechnie was actually Roush’s teammate on the 1916 and 1917 Reds, but he wasn’t a notable ballplayer.  He was, however, an excellent manager.  He led the 1925 Pirates to a World Series title and was the skipper for the 1928 NL pennant winning Cardinals.  He was Babe Ruth’s last manager in the 1930’s for the Boston Braves – but he saw his most sustained success for the Reds from 1938-1946.  Under his reign, the reds won back to back pennants in 1939 and 1940 – finally winning their 2nd title in the 1940 World Series.

The 1962 Reds were defending National League champions, having lost to the Yankees in 5 games in the 1961 World Series.  The team was again managed by Fred Hutchinson, and the season marked the 50th anniversary of the opening of Crosley Field.  They opened the season, however, in a new ballpark – beating the Johnny Podres in the opening of Dodger Stadium at Chavez Ravine.  They didn’t start well, though – and trailed the Giants by 6.5 after an 8-11 April.   The club had a great season, but this hole proved too much to dig out of.  They finished 98-64, and got back to within 3 games of the Giants and Dodgers by the end of the season.

The Reds were decently represented at the two All-Star games.  As the manager of the previous season’s NL Champions, Fred Hutchinson was also the All-Star game manager.  Bob Purkey and Frank Robinson both made the National League roster.  Turkey pitched the 6th and 7th inning of the NL’s win in the first game – and would have earned a “hold” under today’s rules.  Robinson went 0-for-3 in the NL’s loss in the 2nd game.

Robinson backed up his 1961 MVP award with another MVP-worthy season.  He hit .342 with 136 RBI (both career highs for the future Hall-of-Famer), while clubbing 39 homers.  He led the National League in doubles, runs, OBP and SLG – good for 4th in the MVP vote.  Fellow outfielder Vada Pinson knocked in 100 runs while posting a 20-20 season, and first baseman Gordy Coleman smashed 28 dingers.

They had two 20-game winners.  Purkey had a standout season worthy of a Cy Young, but lost out to Don Drysdale.  Purkey went 23-5 with a 2.81 ERA while logging 288 innings.  Joey Jay won 21 games and Jim O’Toole won 16.  All three starters pitched over 250 innings.

Team MVP: Frank Robinson (.342/39/136, .421 OBP, .624 SLG, 51 2B, 134 R)

Best Pitcher: Bob Purkey (23-5/2.81/141)


Fred Hutchinson (manager)






One response

3 11 2011

still recall how the colt 45’s and mets 10 victories denied them the pennant even though they were the best team that year.

Plus 4 blow saves and Purkey letting 6-0 lead vs. cardinals slip away.

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