What better way for a baseball fan, and especially a Cincinnati Reds fan, to celebrate our boys of summer on the 4th of July than by tipping our caps to the happenings on Independence Day in years past? With that as our backdrop, Riverfront Ball presents a rundown of the Cincinnati Reds’ biggest moment on the 4th of July. (All historical information courtesy of nationalpastime.com unless otherwise noted/linked.)
4th of July, 1911
The Reds make history when they employ Armando Marsans and Rafael Almeida as pinch hitters. The duo become the first Cuban-born players to appear in the Major Leagues.
4th of July, 1980
Caesar Geronimo strikes out against Houston Astros fireballer Nolan Ryan, giving The Express 3000 for his career. Geronimo, a member of the fabled Big Red Machine in the 1970s had also been the 3000th strikeout victim of St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer Bob Gibson.
4th of July, 1989
Reds left-hander Tom Browning enters the ninth inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies without having allowed a baserunner. Leading off the inning, shortstop Dickie Thon doubles to deny Browning a second career perfect game, with the first (and only, as it turns out) coming against the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 16 of the year before. No pitcher has ever recorded two perfect games in the Majors.
4th of July, 2000
The Reds contribute a tidbit to St. Louis Cardinals history, when catcher Keith McDonald opens his career with a home run. He is only the third Cardinal to debut so auspiciously — Eddie Morgan and Wally Moon were the others — but at 27, Morgan was a late bloomer and played in just 8 games over two seasons with the Cards, tallying a total of three dingers.
While some of the Reds’ most noteworthy moments on the 4th of July have done little to help the team’s fortunes, they all contribute to a rich baseball tradition on the Riverfront. The Reds have a chance to add to that story when they host the first-place Milwaukee Brewers tonight at Great American Ballpark.
Happy 4th of July, fellow Reds fans!