Of the 506 pages in the Cincinnati Reds media guide, pages 423-427 might be the most interesting. The pages list dozens of dates and facts under the headline, “Last Time It Happened.”
Baseball leans on its history more than any other sport — in part because it has more history than the other major sports.
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When Anthony DeSclafani hit a grand slam Saturday, the first question everyone at Great American Ball Park had was, “When was the last time a Reds pitcher hit a grand slam?” The answer: Bob Purkey in 1959.
When Michael Lorenzen hit a pinch-hit home run Sunday, fans wondered, “When did a team last have pitchers hit hit home runs on back-to-back days?” The answer: the San Francisco Giants in 2007.
Here’s a look at 10 other fun facts from the “Last Time It Happened” page:
1. Last time a Reds player hit for the cycle: Eric Davis on June 2, 1989, against the San Diego Padres.
Davis hit a double in the first inning, a single in the second, a home run in the fourth and a triple in the seventh. He was the fifth Red to hit for the cycle and the first since Frank Robinson in 1959.
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“I dream of hitting a home run in the ninth inning of the seventh game of the World Series,” said Davis after the game and he would hit a home run in the first inning of Game 1 of the World Series a season later. “I don’t dream of hitting for the cycle, but anytime you do something like that it sticks in your mind. I saw the ball — all the pitches — really well. I wasn’t fooled. I stayed back, stayed within myself and wasn’t over-swinging. I just concentrated and made great contact.”
2. Last Red to hit a home run in first big-league plate appearance: Ted Tappe on Sept. 14, 1950, against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Tappe not only hit a home run in first at-bat, he did it on the first pitch he saw. The 19-year-old rookie from Bremerton, Wash., homered off Ervin Palica in the eighth inning of a game at Ebbets Field.
Tappe, who died in 2004 at 73, appeared in 34 games in three seasons and hit four more home runs. He also hit a home run in his first professional at-bat with the Charleston (W.Va.) Reds of the Central League the previous year.
3. Last time the Reds lost three straight games in extra innings: July 8-10, 2010 at Philadelphia Phillies.
The Reds lost 4-3 in 12 innings, 9-7 in 10 innings and then 1-0 in 11 innings. The last defeat was especially hard to take as Travis Wood, making his third career start, threw eight perfect innings for the Reds before giving up a lead-off double in the ninth.
The series provided a postseason preview of sorts as the Phillies swept the Reds in the National League Division Series, though none of those games went to extra innings.
4. Last time the Reds led off the game with two straight home runs: Alex Ochoa and Barry Larkin, on June 26, 2001, at St. Louis.
Cardinals starter Andy Benes threw three pitches and was down 2-0 after the Reds hit back-to-back home runs to start the game. The last time it happened for the Reds at home was Sept. 9, 1996: Thomas Howard and Hal Morris against the Dodgers.
5. Last game-ending hit by a Reds pitcher: Randy Keisler on May 24, 2005, against the Washington Nationals.
Keisler hit in the 14th inning because the Reds were out of position players. His single scored the winning run. It was the first hit of his career and one of five he would record in 25 career plate appearances.
"I've been fortunate to play with my two idols, pitcher Roger Clemens (with the New York Yankees) and now Ken Griffey Jr., who I grew up idolizing and tried to hit like when I was in college,” Keisler said. “I'd be a better hitter if I didn't try to hit like him in college. That didn't work out too well."
6. Last Red to record hits in 10 straight at-bats: Bip Roberts (Sept. 19-23, 1992).
Roberts tied a 49-year old record with a single in the first inning against the Dodgers.
“It’s very hard to get that many hits in a row,” Roberts said. “You have to have luck on your side. You have to be hitting the ball well, and you also have to have things go your way. It seemed like the ball was coming in slowly, and I just put the bat up there and hit it.”
7. Last Red to record a win and a hit in his big-league debut: Larry Luebbers on July 3, 1993, against the Pirates.
Luebbers, who grew up across the river in Erlanger, Ky., pitched the Reds to a 5-3 victory at Riverfront Stadium. He also singled in the fourth inning.
"I was so nervous, I didn't even think about walks," Luebbers said. "I just tried to throw the ball over the plate. Nervous? Yeah. During the national anthem I looked out at the big stadium, Barry Larkin was in front of me, I turned around and Joe Oliver was behind the plate. Just a couple of years ago I was in college (University of Kentucky)."
8. Last Red to steal home on a double steal: Adam Dunn on Sept. 10, 2004, against the Brewers.
While Austin Kearns stole second, Dunn took off for home and ran into Brewers catcher Mark Johnson, knocking the ball loose.
“It's a big boys' game played by big boys," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "They're fighting for runs, too."
9. Last time the Reds tied a game: June 30, 2005, against the Houston Astros.
The Reds and Astros started two hours late because of rain and were tied 2-2 in the seventh inning when the rain returned. The game was postponed. All the stats counted, but they replayed the entire game as part of a doubleheader the next day.
"Wouldn't it make more sense to pick up that game in the eighth inning at 2-2 and finish it?" Reds first baseman Sean Casey said. "It was wasted time and a wasted game. It turned out to mean nothing to either team, but it wrecks bullpens and makes teams make roster moves to cover (Saturday's) doubleheader. The game was just for personal statistics and there is no logic to that."
10. Last time the Reds blew a nine-run lead in a loss: April 28, 2004, against the Brewers in Milwaukee.
Here’s Hall of Famer Hal McCoy’s take on a game many Reds fans still remember:
Question: How do you blow a 9-0 lead after four innings and lose?
Answer: Don't score any more runs while the other team pecks, hammers, chisels and chews off the arms of the bullpen.
Incredible? The Cincinnati Reds saw it through watery eyes and the Milwaukee Brewers saw it through clear eyes Wednesday night in Miller Park.
Leading 9-0 after four innings, the Reds scored no runs on only two hits the rest of the way while the Brewers pick-axed the Redsbullpen to win 10-9 in 10 innings.
Death came by suicide. Reds tormentor Bill Hall shoved a first-pitch suicide squeeze bunt past the mound to score Trent Darrington from third base in the 10th inning, a walk-off victory.