2004 Cincinnati Reds season

19 12 2015

The 2004 Reds started off with plenty of promise.  Ken Griffey Jr. was healthy for the first half of the season.  Sean Casey was hitting well above .300.  Adam Dunn was mashing home runs.  A young Ryan Freel was stealing bases and giving spark at the top of the lineup.  The starting lineup looked pretty solid with a young Aaron Harang and Paul Wilson leading the way.  The bullpen was solid behind Danny Graves and Todd Jones.

Griffey, Casey, Graves and Barry Larkin made the All-Star game that year.  Though the Cardinals had pretty much put the division out of reach, the Reds (47-41) were only 1.5 games out of the Wild Card at the All-Star break.   A strong 2nd half could have meant a playoff berth.

The biggest moment of the season in St. Louis on Father’s Day.  With his dad at the game, Griffey connected for the 500th homer of his career.

Griffey 500

That was the 19th homer, and unfortunately, he’d hit only 1 more the rest of the year.  And the Reds’ fortunes turned for the worse.  Griffey had a partial hamstring tear the day before the All-Star break and couldn’t play in the game.  The Reds went into a slide at that point, losing 11 of 12 at the end of July.  A month later, Griffey came back, but he tore his hamstring completely off the bone in his first game back and was done for the season (this injury, more than any of his others, came the closest to putting his career in doubt).

The second half became a complete tailspin.  They finished the season with a 76-86 record, 29 games behind the Cardinals and 16 games back of the Astros for the Wild Card.

Dunn and Casey were the 2 bright spots of the 2nd half – both finished with some impressive numbers.  Casey hit .324 for the year, nearly matching his career bests with 24 homers, 99 RBI and 101 runs scored.

Dunn’s season was even more notable.  He smashed 46 homers, walked 108 times, knocking in 102 runs and scoring 105.  Unfortunately, he had a more dubious distinction.  Dunn struck out 195 times, which broke the previous single season record of 189 held by Bobby Bonds.  He also hit one of the farthest homers in recent times.  On August 10th he hit a ball that left the stadium in center field and rolled into the Ohio River.  The river is (officially) part of Kentucky, so this is (somewhat unofficially) the only ball in baseball history to land in a different state.  It’s the longest ball in the history of Great American Ballpark, and probably in all of Cincinnati baseball history.  You can’t fully appreciate it in the video below due to the camera work, but I figured it’s still worth showing it.

Team MVP:  Adam Dunn (.266/46/102)

Best Pitcher:  Paul Wilson (11-6/4.36/117)

Award Winners:

none

All-Stars:

Sean Casey, Barry Larkin, Ken Griffey Jr., Danny Graves

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