1897 Cincinnati Reds
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1897 Cincinnati Reds / Franchise: Cincinnati Reds / BR Team Page
Managed by Buck Ewing
History, Comments, Contributions
The 1897 Cincinnati Reds finished fourth out of twelve teams in the National League, under manager Buck Ewing. Ewing, at age 37, appeared in only one game as a player. The team actually started quite well, going 42-20 during the first half of the season but played under .500 during the second half.
The star hitter for the team was Jake Beckley, who came over after being released by the New York Giants early in the season. During his time with the Reds, he hit .345, leading the team in triples and home runs. Dusty Miller hit .316 while Bid McPhee hit .301. Charlie Irwin led the team in runs scored, Miller led it in doubles, and 35-year-old Dummy Hoy led in walks and stolen bases.
Among the pitchers Ted Breitenstein was terrific with a record of 23-12.
Not only could they play ball well, they could sing. From Sporting Life, October 9, 1897, about an experience when the Cincinnatis were staying at the Leland Hotel in Chicago, IL:
"For the past week a member of the Schiller opera company has been staying at the Leland. Each morning about 6 o'clock she leaves her couch and makes her way to a piano to 'run over' a few of her songs. . . a baseball player does not enjoy it at six o'clock in the morning. . . A few minutes after 6 o'clock this morning the notes of one of the songs of 'Il Trovatore' rent the air. With a bound 'Buck' Ewing was out of bed, and running to his window sang, in a fog-horn voice, 'Oh, I Wish You Had Ne'er Come Back'. . . little Ritchey came into view, backed up with the shrill treble of 'She May Have Seen Better Days'. . . the woman . . . gave a shrug of disgust as Vaughn, Breitenstein, Corcoran and Rhines, in a wild confusion of bars and notes, yelled out, 'Stay back, stay back, my darling daughter, do not come o'er the storm-tossed sea'. . . But their triumph was short-lived, as even more shrill than at first the notes of 'If my brother Jack was only here he wouldn't do a thing to you' caused the ball players to look surprised. . . During all this time 'Dummy' Hoy was sleeping the sleep of the blest, but 'Dusty' Miller soon aroused him, and Hoy joined in the next chorus by a little song on his fingers. . . Before the members of the Cincinnati club started for the ball park in the afternoon, the young woman came down stairs, but the moment she saw the red-stockinged men she fled in confusion."