1993 Cincinnati Reds season

19 12 2011

The Reds had bounced back to a successful 1992 season, but the offseason was a busy one for the Reds – and not in a good way.  Lou Piniella left the Reds despite being offered a two-year contract extension.  The primary reason he gave was that the team didn’t support him when he was sued by Gary Darling and the Umpires’ union in 1991.  This wasn’t surprising given the notoriously stingy habits of Reds’ owner Marge Schott.  Piniella was quickly hired by the Mariners, giving him the opportunity to manage two of baseball’s brightest stars in Ken Griffey Jr. and Randy Johnson.

Schott made the news shortly thereafter – she came under fire for comments that came to light in a legal situation of her own.  In early November, a deposition in a lawsuit by a former employee brought to light that Schott had made racist comments at the workplace.  She tried to explain the comments later that month, but only dug herself in a deeper hole.  She was suspended from running team operations for the entire season.

Tony Perez was promoted from hitting coach to replace Piniella, but he didn’t last long.  He was fired 44 games into the season after going 20-24, and replaced by a former World Series winner, Davey Johnson.  Johnson fared no better – as the Reds finished 73-89.

The players may have been some of the problem – the Reds got rid of more of the cogs from the 1990 championship.  They traded Paul O’Neill to the Yankees for Roberto Kelly – where he’d go on to win a batting title, 5 AL Pennants and 4 more World Series.  Norm Charlton was traded to follow Piniella to the Mariners for former MVP Kevin Mitchell.  They signed Jeff Reardon, who was actually the reigning career saves leader at the time, and John Smiley as free agents.

Kelly and Mitchell played well for the Reds when they were available – Kelly actually made the All-Star team as a reserve.  But the two players combined for just over a full 162 games played, and injuries to Hal Morris, Barry Larkin and last year’s best player Bip Roberts really derailed the offense.  Jose Rijo was dominant with a 2.48 ERA in his best season, but the poor offense only earned him a 14-9 record in 36 starts.  Smiley was injured and disappointing, and the team couldn’t get Rob Dibble or Reardon to fill in as a reliable closer.  Larkin was the other All-Star for the Reds – he was voted in as a starter.

Team MVP & Best Pitcher: Jose Rijo (14-9/2.48/227)

Award Winners:

Barry Larkin, Roberto Clemente Award

All-Stars:

Larkin (starter)

Roberto Kelly

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