Double dip: Reds and Pirates have history of multiple matchups
By Freddy Berowski
On Monday, the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates played a day-night doubleheader. The two games were only one game short of the record for the most games played between these teams in one day.
Like the day that the Reds and Pirates played three, this day began with consecutive losses for the Bucs. But that’s where the similarities between this Pirates team and the 1920s squad, one that had four future Hall of Famers on its roster, end.
It was the next to last day of the season, Oct. 2, 1920, and third place, as well as a share of the World Series receipts, was on the line. Four future Hall of Famers would compete in Major League Baseball’s last triple-header, including a little-known 21-year-old shortstop named Pie Traynor – who was 1-for-7 with a run scored and a hit by pitch in two games.
Going into the day, the Pirates sat three and a half games behind the Reds in the standings and needed a sweep in order to have a shot at securing third place on the season’s final day. By the end of the first game, third place was decided. The Reds’ clean-up hitter, future Hall of Famer Edd Roush, was 2-for-6 with a double in Cincinnati’s 13-4 rout of Pittsburgh. Roush would get the rest of the day off, but the Reds would still take the second game 7-3, a game in which the Reds started two pitchers in the outfield and one at first base. The Pirates won game three, a six-inning affair that was called due to darkness. The three games took exactly five hours to play. Future Hall of Famers Max Carey and Billy Southworth also saw action in the triple-header.
Ironically, all three tripleheaders in Major League history have a Pittsburgh Pirates connection. The first one, played on Labor Day 1890, saw Brooklyn sweep Pittsburgh. The second took place on Labor Day 1896 and saw the Baltimore Orioles sweep the Louisville Colonels, the team that would merge with the Pirates in 1900.
Freddy Berowski is a library associate at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.