Opening Day, 1910: Cincinnati

Clark Griffith

Cincinnati finished fourth in 1909, but was in the midst of a slow rise. Under manager Clark Griffith they had come from sixth in 1906, to fourth. The problem was they were still 33.5 games out of first and 17 out of third. Apparently they were content with the steady rise, because there were very few changes to the roster in 1910. Having said that, Cincy had used 29 position players in 1909, but only the starting eight and five others played more than 20 games.

Left fielder Bob Besher, who led the NL in stolen bases in 1909, led off. Dick Egan, the second baseman, held down the two hole and first baseman Dick Hoblitzel took the third spot in the lineup. Cleanup hitter Mike Mitchell remained in right field. The only change in the starting lineup occured in the five hole where new center fielder Dode Paskert replaced Rebel Oakes (who was now at St. Louis). Paskert had been the primary backup outfielder the year before. The sixth and seventh spots remained in the hands of third baseman Hans Lobert (who, despite the movie, didn’t look like Edward G. Robinson) and catcher Larry McLean. Shortstop Tommy McMillan remained in the eight hole.

Beside Paskert on the bench in 1909 were Miller Huggins, Frank Roth, Ward Miller, and Mike Mowrey (who was traded during the season).  The new bench saw Tom Downey as the backup infielder, Tommy Clark as the new backup catcher, and holdovers Miller (the fourth outfielder) and Roth (a catcher and pinch hitter). Huggins was at St. Louis.

The pitching in 1909 had Art Fromme, Harry Gaspar, Jack Rowan, Bob Ewing, and Bill Campbell start more than 20 games and Jean Debuc did the most out of the bullpen. None had been overly great. Fromme won 19 but lost 13, Gaspar was 18-11, and the others had losing records. Fromme, Gaspar, and Rowan were back. George Suggs (over from Detroit in the AL) and Fred Beebe (from St. Louis) replaced Ewing and Campbell. Debuc was also gone.

As a team, Cincinnati hadn’t done much to improve on a fourth place finish. They’d gotten rid of one position player and a couple of pitchers, but that doesn’t seem to be enough to rally from a 33 game deficit. They were still fast and had a couple of potential .300 hitters, but nothing much else.

Next: Philadelphia (NL)

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