1994 Cincinnati Reds season

26 01 2012

As with most seasons, the Reds Opening Day was the first game in baseball.  Unlike previous seasons, it was actually a night game that was played on Sunday, April 3rd.  This was kind of controversial, but to be honest, as a Reds fan, I was just glad they still gave us the first game.  We don’t get that any more (but we still get the first time slot on Opening Day, with usually one game the night before – and I’m happy with that, too, to be honest).

Despite losing that 1994 season opener, the Reds showed some serious promise in 1994.  They’d had down seasons in the odd years for nearly a decade, and they again did well in an even year in 1994.  After letting Eric Davis, Paul O’Neill, Chris Sabo and many other cogs from their 1990 championship, the Reds had some rejuvenation in 1994.  They’d hired Davey Johnson in 1993, and though he hadn’t fared well finishing off that season, he led the Reds to a first place finish in 1994.  They had a 2.5 game lead at the All-Star break and at 66-48, had a half-game lead over the Astros when the strike hit.  Given that NL MVP Jeff Bagwell had just broken his hand, there was a good chance the Reds would have won the division in 1994.  Unfortunately, that was left open for conjecture only.

Kevin Mitchell had a great year for the Reds – he hit 30 homers in the shortened season, on pace for over 40 if they’d played the full 162 games.  Hal Morris (.335) again hit well over .300, as did new second baseman Bret Boone (.320), who’d been acquired from the Mariners in the offseason.  Reggie Sanders and Barry Larkin were again solid – though their career years were certainly not 1994.  A mid-season trade for 2-sport star Deion Sanders made headlines, but didn’t really help or hurt the Reds in the wins column.

The Reds pitching was decent.  They got one last good year from Jose Rijo – but his record again didn’t quite reflect how well he’d pitched.  Cowboy Jeff Brantley (15 SV) was the main closer, but they really had a bullpen by committee as 3 guys had 5+ saves.

The strike was the story, though – and yet again a player’s strike cost the Reds a postseason appearance.

Team MVP & Best Pitcher: Kevin Mitchell (.326/30/77)

Best Pitcher: Jose Rijo (9-6/3.08/171)

Award Winners:

Barry Larkin, Gold Glove

All-Stars:

Larkin (injured)

Rijo (injured)

 

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