Hall of Fame baseball writer Hal McCoy knows a thing or two about our nation’s pastime. Tap into that knowledge by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: If Jerry Lucas can memorize pages of the Manhattan white pages, might he more challenged memorizing the starting pitchers for the Cincinnati Reds the last three seasons? — DAVE, Miamisburg/Centerville/Beavercreek.
A: That’s no challenge. I can do that and I can’t remember to pick up prescriptions. How about Scott Feldman, Amir Garrett, Bronson Arroyo, Brandon Finnegan, Rookie Davis, Sal Romano, Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto, Michael Lorenzen, Raisel Iglesias, Jason Marquis, Tony Cingrani, David Holmberg, Dan Straily, Anthony DeSclafani, John Lamb, Tim Adleman, Cody Reed, Alfredo Simon, Josh Smith, Keyvius Sampson, Homer Bailey, Jon Moscot, Daniel Wright and Tim Melville. Relief pitchers the last three years? Don’t ask.
Q: What are the three quotes on the new Jackie Robinson statue at Dodger Stadium? — WILBUR, Lebanon
A: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” And, “I’m not concerned with your liking me. All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.” And, “There’s not an American in this country free until every one of us is free.” My personal favorite was not included: “The most personal possession, the richest treasure anybody has is his personal dignity.” The man was a baseball icon/philosopher.
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Q: Do you think Devin Mesoraco will ever catch 100 games again? — MARK, Kettering.
A: Even when he was relatively healthy in 2013 and 2014 he played in only 103 and 114 games. These are no longer the days of Johnny Bench, who made backup catchers obsolete. Catchers take lots of days off. And with Tucker Barnhart around, even if Mesoraco can catch, he won’t play more than 100 games. The big question is whether Mesoraco will EVER catch full-time again. We’ll find out soon.
Q: Is that wishbone-C on their hats the mark of Cain for Cincinnati Reds pitchers? — JOHN, Fairfield.
A: Do you mean Matt Cain, the San Francisco Giants pitcher who is 8-19 the last three years and beleaguered by injuries? It fits. I assume you mean Cain from Cain and Abel. They were the sons of Adam and Eve and Cain killed his brother and God put a mark on Cain. Thank goodness there are is no brother-brother combination on the Reds staff. For sure, if there was, one of them would be on disabled list.
Q: Bucky Walters won 27 games and Paul Derringer won 25 games for the 1939 Cincinnati Reds. Do you see any pitchers matching those numbers today? — CARL, Kettering.
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A: No way and for many reasons. First of all, Walters and Derringer pitched in a four-man rotation instead of today’s five-man rotation so they had more starts. Secondly, in 1939 the bullpen was rarely used. Guys pitched complete games. Walters had 31, Derringer 28. Entire teams don’t come close to those numbers. San Francisco led the majors last season with 10 complete games. The Reds had two. Walters and Derringer each had two about every week.
Q: If Eugenio Suarez continues to improve the way he has at third base, where does that leave Nick Senzel? — TIM, Englewood.
A: Senzel has to earn his way to the majors, but most scouts say it is only a matter of when. Two excellent players at one position is a plus, not a minus. Suarez is a natural shortstop, but the grand plan is to have Jose Peraza play shortstop. If Dilson Herrera doesn’t capture second base, the Reds could always move Suarez to second and put Senzel at third. Or maybe Senzel can play second. The Reds will worry about that (and it really isn’t a worry) when the scenario materializes.
Q: A Texas Rangers relief pitcher suggested that any player who tests positive for PEDs should have his salary reduced to the major-league minimum for a period of time. Why can’t Commissioner Rob Manfred do this? — KEITH, Brookville.
A: That is already done. A player suspended 80 days is not paid for those 80 days. If you mean knock him back to the major-league minimum for a year after he returns to play, Manfred can’t do that unilaterally. That is part of the basic agreement between the players and management and has to be negotiated. The players will never even consider it.
Q: Are the best pitchers ones who throw hard and place it perfectly or the ones who have mastered changing speeds? — JACKI, Dayton.
A: There is room for both and both can be Hall of Famers. You have Randy Johnson who threw 100 miles an hour and you have Greg Maddux who barely touched 90. A guy like Johnson didn’t have to have pinpoint control, throwing that hard, but he also had a devastating slider. Maddux was a master of location, location, location. They both could have pitched on my team — or anybody’s team.
Q: Dusty Baker always said catcher Corky Miller would make a fine manager but I haven’t heard about him lately. Is he still in the Reds organization? — MICHAEL, Saratoga Springs, NY.
A: Corky Miller is alive and cultivating that nasty fu Manchu beard of his. He is a roving catching instructor with the Reds and appears often in Dayton with the Class A Dragons. If Sean Casey is The Mayor, then Corky Miller is the Vice Mayor and probably the most popular non-regular ever to wear a Reds uniform. If he wants to manage, and I believe he does, he needs to grab a minor-league managing job and begin his climb before it is too late for him.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Q: Does the Adam Duvall trade remind you of a trade the Reds made with the Giants 40 years ago? — BOBBY, Dayton.
A: It might in the future if Duvall continues to do what he is doing. The Reds acquired Duvall from the Giants for pitcher Mike Leake. Fans asked, “Adam who?” Leake, though, pitched one year for the Giants and then took free agency. The reminder? In May 1971, the Reds traded Frank Duffy and Vern Geishert to the Giants for George Foster. Once again, the fans said, “George who?” Duffy and Geishert disappeared quickly and Foster was another piece, and one of the most important, for The Big Red Machine.