Thursday, February 19, 2009

9/7/93 Mark Whiten hits four homers in one game at Riverfront Stadium on MLB Network.

The lineups

Thomas Howard LF
Jacob Brumfield CF
Hal Morris 1B
Chris Sabo 3B
Tim Costo RF
Juan Samuel 2B
Dan Wilson C
Jeff Branson SS
Larry Luebbers P

Geronimo Pena 2B
Lonnie Maclin LF
Bernard Gilkey RF
Todd Zeile 3B
Gerald Perry 1B
Mark Whiten CF
Tom Pagnozzi C
Cromer SS
Bob Tewksbury P

It was the second game in a meaningless doubleheader in early September 1993 against Joe Torre’s Deadbirds. Game 2 didn’t start until after 10pm and Riverfront Stadium was empty. It was still Riverfront Stadium then. It was always Riverfront Stadium but even the corporations called it Riverfront Stadium in 1993, the year before baseball shrugged.

The first game was a wild one, going extra innings for a Reds 14-13 win in which Mark Whiten made what may have been the game losing error. The Red scored a couple on the gaff and came back from a deficit. Cincinnati native Larry Luebbers was on the mound for Game 2 and Davey Johnson was in the dugout writing up a Larkinless lineup. Barry was injured.

Man, were those uniforms hideous – I think it was the white hats with the pinstripes that did it. The uniforms themselves weren’t that bad, though I hate vests for baseball jerseys.

With the bases loaded in the first, Don Gullett goes to the mound. Next pitch, Whiten hits a grand slam. The Deadbirds ended the inning with a four run lead. Cincinnati responded with two of their own in the bottom of the inning. The scoring ceased until the fifth inning, when a rookie named Lonnie Maclin hit a sac fly to make it a 5-2 game.

Some guy named Mike Anderson comes into the ballgame to pitch for the Reds in the sixth inning. It was his Major League debut. He walked Zeile and Perry and served up Whiten’s second shot of the night. That gave him seven RBI on the night but the still had two dingers to go.

The third homer and tenth RBI came in the next inning. The few Reds fans left in the park applauded the feat. Anderson left the game and some rookie named Chris Bushing relieved him. Number 61. No straight leg kick. Got a K for the third out of the inning, Reds down 12-2.

Dibble came into the game in the 8th, Costo moved to third, Jack Daugherty came into play right field. Dibble had pitched poorly in the first game and tore up the locker room in between games. Sweat had made the red bill of his cap bleed into the white. It looked like blood. I’m sure that’s what he wanted to draw after Pena took him deep.

Seeing the yellow seats at Riverfront, I don’t think I ever got a chance to sit in them. I sat in the blue, green, and red (red the most), but I can’t recall sitting in the yellow seats. If I remember correctly, those were the corporate seats, the Club Level, I think. That translates into luxury boxes in today’s baseball language.

Dibs struck out two in the 8th but I’m sure the homer caused more destruction in the clubhouse. He came back for the 9th. Runner at first, one out, Whiten’s up, ball one, ball two, he launches one into deep centerfield, four homers, twelve RBI, Whiten takes a curtain call and Reds fans cheer, Deadbirds lead 15-2. The score remained that. Some guy named Brian Dorsett grounded out to end the game. Tewksbury got a complete game for his 16th win of the season.

It sure was fun to get to see the Reds play during one of these old games on MLB Network. I wish Larkin had been in the game instead of a bunch of no names and neverweres, but who cares, really. It’s just great to see these games.

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