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From A Flooded Field To The Flag:

PAT MORAN

         

If the spring of 1919 had been an omen of things to come, the Cincinnati Reds would have finished last that year. Instead, they won the National League pennant.

It was probably the worst spring­training experience a Cincinnati team ever endured.

In some respecrt, the camp was doomed from the start. The Reds were broke. Only some last minute maneuvering by team president Garry Herrmann enabled the team to journey south.

The site picked was Waxahachie, Texas, a little town in the southern part of the state. When the Reds arrived in February, so did the monsoon season. It rained day after day. The ballpark was situated in one of the lowest parts of the city; consequently, the playing field constantly was flooded.

The Reds players got so desperate they ended up playing in the railroad yards, in a cemetery, in a cow pasture and in a lot next to the town's bus depot. Batting practice seldom was taken and infield practice was a figment of their imaginations. A bout all they could do was throw and run.

 

 

    What made the situation worse was that Pat Moran was in his first year as the Reds manager. He had been hired to replace Christy Mathewson, who had been drafted in 1918 and was in Europe.When Mathewson didn't respond to Herrmann's cablegrams about returning to the helm of the Reds in 1919, Herrmann had no choice but to look for a new manager. Moran had led the Philadelphia Phillies to the National League pennant in 1915 and he was hired away from the New York Giants coaching staff.

When the Reds finally left Waxahachie for a barnstorming trip north, they encountered more rain and were able to play only a few exhibition games. The team was a shambles.

Edd Roush, Lee Magee and Jimmy Ring were holdouts and hadn't bothered to report to spring training. Other players, like Rube Bressler, were just returning from World War I.

But Moran persevered. When the Reds finally arrived home a few days before the regular season was to begin, things began falling into place. Roush came to Cincinnati, signed his contract and was ready to go by Opening Day. Pitcher Slim Sallee, who had back problems in Waxahachie, was set to go. A new second baseman, Maury Rath, played well above expectations.

 

Moran had a positive influence on the club. The team played with reckless abandon. They won their irst seven games and went on that season to beat the New York Giants by nine games. It was the first pennant for Cincinnati, which had joined the National League as a charter member in 1876.

 

Much of the credit for the team's success went to Moran. He credited hard work for the team's success.

 

"The one real secret is work," Moran said in an interview after the 1919 season. "Baseball, just like everything else, is a business. You cannot succeed in busi ness unless you work. The same principle applies to the national pastime."

The Reds never repeated as pennant-winners under Moran's managerial guidance, but they were always contenders. Moran remained the Cincinnati skipper until he died in March 1924, when the Reds were at work in Orlando, Florida. He was long a hard-living man who liked to drink, and it caught up with him. His death officially was listed as a result of Bright's disease, bur many knew that his life style had taken its final toll.

 

         
       

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