CINCINNATI, Ohio (WDTN) – There has always been a special bond between fathers and sons and baseball.
It led our Mark Allan to witness one of the great moments in Cincinnati Reds history exactly 50 years ago this summer.
Mark: My dad loved baseball. He played it growing up and raised his firstborn son to be a fan as well.
And that also meant, at a very early age, teaching me how to keep score, the now mostly lost art of recording each at-bat, inning by inning, on a scorecard, using a time-honored series of numbers and symbols.
Mark: “Because as a kid it does teach you the game you learn that a walk is not an official at bat you learn sacrifices you really learn the nuances of the game.
Greg Rhodes: “You also learn the scoring system, how the players are numbered how they keep track. It’s a pretty intricate game that can be boiled down to just those little squares on a scorecard. It’s pretty amazing how the rules have evolved that let you do that.
Greg Rhodes is the Reds official team historian. He recently gave me a tour of the team’s Hall of Fame as we talked about that day in 1965 when a 10-year-old boy sat in Wrigley Field in Chicago, pen and scorecard in hand, as Reds starting pitcher Jim Maloney threw ten very eventful innings against the Cubs.
Play by play announcer: “That’s Maloney 25 years old 6’2″, 200 pounder he started the day age 25 he might be about 65 now.”
“In the mid 60’s it was a pitching rich decade in the NL; Koufax, Gibson, Marichal others and those guys are all in the Hall of Fame and Maloney sometimes gets overlooked. Jim was as good as any of those guys for five or six years and if he could have had another four or five good years, he’d be in Cooperstown too,” said Rhodes.
And that day in Chicago, Maloney was at his best. Nine innings had produced nary a run for either side, and the Reds right-hander had yet to give up a single hit. Then, in the top of the 10th, the visitors finally got on the board.
Play by play announcer: “Outfield to the left fairly deep Larry Jackson all set very well hit deep to left back back it is a home run!”
Reds shortstop Leo Cardenas homered down the left field line for the game’s first run, which I duly noted on my scorecard. It also showed no hits for the Cubs, though they did have plenty of base runners.
“Maloney was wild as could be he, must have kept you very busy that day 12 Ks and 10 walks,” said Rhodes.
187 pitches according to one source. That’s incredible. You’d never let a guy throw that many pitches today both starting pitchers went all 10 innings and you hardly see that today yeah.”
Jim Maloney was not to be denied and with one final pitch to Ernie Banks, he had his place in baseball history.
Play by play announcer: “Here’s Ernie ground ball Cardenas rose the ball game is over. Maloney’s got a no hitter!”
Jim Maloney: “I wasn’t real sharp today made some good pitches when I had to. They popped it up or something. I had a lot of walks not as sharp as against the Mets, but I think this is the biggest game of my career right here.”
And as luck would have it, I was there to see it and record it for all-time on my scorecard, which I have kept ever since. And now, it has a new owner.
Mark: “Well, Greg it’s been my pleasure to keep this in my possession for the past 50 years, but it’s time for it to find a new home, so it’s my great honor to pass it on to you
Greg Rhodes: “Well, it’s a great piece of Reds history and we’re so happy to have it. Thanks, Mark, thanks.
Mark: “My pleasure, thank you.”
Later this summer, Mark’s scorecard will go on display at the Reds Hall of Fame.
As for Jim Maloney, he got a $1,000 bonus for throwing that no-hitter. He is now 74 years old. The former Red grows red tomatoes on his farm in California.