Cincinnati’s hometown baseball team has been called countless names in its 150 years of existence: the ragamuffins, the Big Red Machine, the wire-to-wire Reds. Through it all, one theme has remained: The men in red have always kept things interesting. In their book Classic Reds: The 50 Greatest Games in Cincinnati Reds History (Kent State University Press), Jack and Joe Heffron highlight moments from the franchise’s historic ups and downs. Here are four of our favorites.
Oct. 6, 1882
It was a sad season for baseball and beers: Seven of eight National League teams had pledged dry ballparks—all except the Red Stockings. The team made the logical choice by leaving the organization, creating a beer-tolerant league, and challenging the sober Chicago White Stockings to an informal World Series. The Reds’ 4–0 win earned your right to overpriced stadium suds.
June 15, 1938
Left-handed pitcher Johnny Vander Meer had thrown a no-hitter against the Boston Bees a game prior, and he was an inning away from a second against the Brooklyn Dodgers. After three walks, Manager Bill McKechnie walked to the mound to calm him down. Vander Meer took his time, found his pitch, and accomplished a feat still unmatched in modern baseball: two consecutive no-hitters.
Oct. 29, 1990
All the experts agreed: The Reds wouldn’t just lose this World Series against the Oakland A’s, they’d be crushed. However, Eric Davis’s Game One home run sent those expectations right out of the park. After a diving catch in this Game Four saw Davis in the hospital with a bruised kidney, his team dedicated their 1990 World Series sweep to his tenacity.
June 6, 2017
Cincinnati-born Scooter Gennett was riding a slump with only three homers in 117 plate appearances. That is, until this series with the St. Louis Cardinals. Gennett broke out of his doldrums on June 5, then followed up with a game for the ages. He went five-for-five with a base hit and four home runs (including a grand slam), becoming the 17th player ever—and the first Red—to record four homers in a game. Not a bad way to represent your hometown.