1888 Cincinnati Red Stockings season

11 08 2011

After making some key changes before the 1887 season, Cincinnati finished 2nd place to the St. Louis Browns (yes, even in 1888, Cincinnati baseball fans hated St. Louis baseball).  They were still a good team the next year, though not quite as good.  They won one less game despite playing 8 more, and finished in 4th place.  Still, an 80-54 record is pretty good.

The Reds actually started the season on a tear – at one point they won 10 in a row and held a 3-game lead on the perennial champion Browns.  They were in the pennant race until the end of the year when the Browns ran away from the field.  pitching and hitting both improved from the previous year.

Hugh Nicol and Bid McPhee were again their set-up hitters.  Nicol followed up his record-setting campaign in 1887 with 103 more stolen bases, and scored 112 times.  But this time, Long John Reilly was far and away their best hitter; he would have been the top MVP candidate if the award had existed.  He nearly won the triple crown, leading the league with 13 HR and 103 RBI, while finishing second in batting to the previous year’s triple crown winner, Tip O’Neill of (you guessed it) St. Louis.  He also was the only player in the American Association to slug over .500.

The Reds had a 3-man pitching staff, consisting of the previous year’s breakout star Mike Smith, aging star Tony “The Apollo of the Box” Mullane, and rookie Lee Viau.  They all won between 22 and 27 games, and all had an ERA between 2.65 and 2.84.

Team MVP: Long John Reilly (.321/13/103, .501 SLG)

Best Pitcher: Lee Viau (27-14/2.65/164)

{Note – Reilly was the team’s best hitter}

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2 responses

2 04 2012
Greg Huber

I have this picture and I was just happy to find out more about it. I was kind of wondering if those pictures worth anything?

2 04 2012
chuckneo

No clue, but it’s a cool pic to have!

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