Crosley Field’s home plate area is covered by 21 feet of water with the lower grandstand of the Redlegs’ home being totally submerged as Cincinnati experiences the worst flood in its history when the flood-prone Mill Creek overflows its banks. As a publicity stunt, Reds pitcher Lee Grissom and the team’s traveling secretary, John McDonald, are photographed as they entered the ballpark over the left field fence and rowed to the area of the pitcher’s mound.
Bobby Tolan ruptures his Achilles tendon while playing in an off-season basketball game. The Cincinnati outfielder will miss the entire season but will return to the Reds in 1972, winning both the Comeback Player of the Year and Hutch awards, hitting .283 and knocking in 82 runs for the National League champs.
In a swap of first basemen, the Reds deal fan-favorite Ted Kluszewski to the Pirates for Dee Fondy, who will retire at the end of the season after hitting just .218 for Cincinnati. Big Klu’ will play a season-and-a-half for his new team, before being traded to the White Sox during the 1959 pennant stretch, where he will play a pivotal role for the eventual World Champions.
The A’s sell Andy Coakley, a 20-game winner in 1905, to the Reds. The right-hander, who pitched under the name of Jack McAllister as a rookie in 1902, will later enjoy a thirty-seven year career as the baseball coach for Columbia University.
Reds outfielder Frank Robinson, who was not on the team’s roster in spring training, is unanimously selected by the BBWAA as the National League Rookie of the Year. The 21-year-old, the circuit’s starting All-Star left fielder, hit 38 home runs, tying Wally Berger’s 1930 record for the most homers by a first-year player.
Marge Schott, in a New York Times article, tries to explain her recent insensitive remarks by stating her reference that Adolph Hitler was initially good for Germany was in jest and that she really didn’t understand why the word “Jap” was offensive. MLB will appoint a four-man panel to investigate the Reds owner’s comments and will eventually suspend her for the inappropriate remarks.
Joey Votto, receiving 31 of 32 first-place votes, is the overwhelming choice of the BBWAA to be the National League’s Most Valuable Player. The Reds’ first baseman, who helped Cincinnati reach the playoffs for the first time in 15 years, hit .324 and led the major leagues with a .424 on-base percentage.
Johnny Bench, with runners on second and third base in Game 3 of the World Series, strikes out looking with a full count when he is duped by a trick play. The Cincinnati slugger, believing he is going to be given an intentional walk after the A’s manager visits the mound and catcher Gene Tenace returns to his position to call for a wide ball 4, but he is fooled when the A’s backstop quickly crouches behind home to catch a called strike three from Rollie Fingers. The Reds still beat Oakland 1-0.
Gary Nolan becomes only the second pitcher in baseball history to strike out 200 batters in a season as a teenager when he fans Adolfo Phillips in the bottom of the fourth inning in the Reds’ 3-2 victory over Chicago at Wrigley Field. The 19-year-old right-hander joins Hall of Famer Bob Feller, who accomplished the milestone before reaching the age of twenty in 1938, pitching for the Indians.