1963 Cincinnati Reds season

22 04 2012

The Reds had another inductee to the Hall of Fame in 1963 – this time it was Eppa Rixey, the longtime starting pitcher.  Rixey won over 260 games in a career that spanned from the mid-teens to the early 30’s.  He was the Reds best pitcher in the 20’s, though he didn’t come to the team until just after they won the World Series in 1919.

The 1963 version of the Reds was again a good team, but again a team that really didn’t quite have the horses to win a pennant.  They were two years removed from winning the National League, but starting off slow (6-10 in April) was too much to overcome to compete.  They got back to .500 in early June, and were 6 games over .500 at the end of the month.  That actually got the team to within 4 games of the first, but after a 16-16 July, they were in 5th place, 8 games back, and effectively out of the race.  The Reds stayed in 5th, finishing 86-76, 13 games behind the eventual champion Dodgers.

This season is most notable for being Pete Rose’s rookie year.  Rose went 0-3 with a walk in his ML debut on April 8th.  He started his career 0-11 before getting the first of his 4,256 hits, a triple off the Pirates’ Bob Friend, 5 days later.  Rose ended up hitting .273 with 170 hits and running away with the Rookie of the Year award.

The Reds had some representation at the All-Star game.  Jim O’Toole had a great start to the season, going 13-6 (with 2 complete game losses to boot) and a 2.02 ERA at the break.  He was named the NL’s starting pitcher – which is something notable given the incredible year Sandy Koufax had.  Unfortunately, he didn’t have quite as successful of a 2nd half, finishing 17-14 with a 2.88 ERA.  His battery mate, Johnny Edwards, also made his first all-star game as a backup catcher.  Edwards hit 11 homers with 67 RBI, but most importantly was a Gold Glove winning catcher.  O’Toole pitched the first 2 innings, giving up 1 run, while Edwards went 0-2 as a late inning replacement.

Jim Maloney was actually the Reds’ best pitcher in 1963.  He went 23-7 with a 2.77 ERA and 265 strikeouts over 250 innings.  In a season when pitching started to take hold again, particularly in the National League, he was right up there with the best pitchers in the Senior Circuit who weren’t named Sandy.  Joe Nuxhall (15-8, 2.61) and John Tsitouris (12-8, 3.16) rounded out the Reds excellent starting rotation.

Offensively, Frank Robinson had a down year – he hit just .259 with 21 homers and 91 RBI.  Vada Pinson was the team’s true star – he somehow got left off the All-Star team despite leading the majors in hits and triples.

Team MVP: Vada Pinson (.313/22/106, 204 H, 14 3B)

Best Pitcher: Jim Maloney (23-7/2.77/265)

Award Winners:

Pete Rose, Rookie of the Year

Johnny Edwards, Gold Glove

All Stars:

Jim O’Toole (starter)

Edwards

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