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1954 Cincinnati Reds 1954 Cincinnati Reds

Preseason review of the 1954 Cincinnati Redlegs

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Baseball History Keep in mind some of the players who once were stars, were by the time 1954 rolled around - aging veterans no longer capable of playing up to their younger days. And some of the ballplayers were in their first few seasons in the majors and hadn't as yet played up to their potential.

From our old copy of the "1954 Street and Smith's Yearbook" Actual Wording of article as follows:

"With controversial manager Rogers Hornsby gone, all was sweetness and light for the Redlegs in a new start under George 'Birdie' Tebbetts, who prepared for the assignment with a year at Indianapolis. Tebbetts took over a team which had finished sixth for four straight seasons and which, in more ways than one, was in a rut. First of all, Tebbetts had virtually no pitching staff, judging by the way Cincinnati hurlers were buffeted around in 1953.

He did, however, have a solid basis of power as wielded by muscular Ted Kluszewski, Jim Greengrass, Gus Bell and Andy Seminick. Only bright spot on the pitching staff was Fred Baczewski, the 27-year-old lefty who proved a steal last year in a trade for Bubba Church. Baczewski won 11 and lost 4. He and Harry Perkowski (12-11), another southpaw, were the only Redlegs above .500. Bud Podbelian, Herman Wehmeier, and Ken Raffensberger were bitter disappointments.

Some critics of Rogers Hornsby thought they'd do better under Tebbetts. The Redlegs hoped the spirited Tebbetts, a bench jockey, would make them better competitors. With all their power which brought 714 runs, highest team total since 1939, the Redlegs were streaky at the plate. In 60 games they scored fewer than four times. Tebbetts' genius as a pitching coach will be tested by two ex-White Sox - Saul Rogovin and Howie Judson.

The Reds took 25 pitchers to their Tampa Spring base. Rogovin, who went to Cincinnati in a deal which sent Outfielder Willard Marshall to the Sox, was the American League's earned run leader in 1951. But last year he sagged, apparently from a sore arm. Judson, who won 11 games and lost none for Tulsa, never lived up to his promise at Chicago.

The Redlegs look for bullpen strength from Jack Crimian, who appeared in 62 games for Rochester and came to them in a deal for Shortstop Alex Grammas. The Reds also took Third Baseman Rocky Krsnich and Connie Ryan, veteran infielder, from the White Sox.

One of the many other rookie hurlers is Willie Powell, who could be the club's first Negro player. He won 14 and lost 9 for Charleston and had a 3.16 ERA. A threesome from the army service who were rated big league prospects while at Buffalo are Moe Savransky, Tom Acker, and Rudy Minarcin.

Another is Art Fowler, 18-10 in the minors, a rubber-arm hurler who is both a starter and fireman. George Zuvernik (13-8) comes up from Indianapolis and Hal Valentine (13-6) from Columbia, touted as fine prospects. Wally Post, after batting .289 at Indianapolis and leading the American Associations with 120 runs batted in and 33 homers, gets another chance in the outfield. Another candidate is Nino Escalars, who brought with him a .304 average for Tulsa.

Gus Bell, batting in 105 runs for the Redlegs, and Jim Greengrass, moving 100 around, were the first players in the long history of the team to hit the century mark. They are outfield standouts. Bob Borkowski and Lloyd Merriman, returning from military service are the only other veteran fly chasers.

The Reds seem set in the infield with Kluszweski at first, flashy Roy McMillan at short, Bobby Adams at third, and Rocky Bridges fighting several rivals for second base. Andy Seminick, backed by a group of youngsters, including Ed Bailey, 205- pound lefty slugger from Tulsa, heads the catching department." - Archives

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