Hal McCoy
Hal McCoy

Hal McCoy is a former beat writer for the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio), covering the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. He was honored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002 as the winner of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award, which is awarded annually "for meritorious contributions to baseball writing." He has won 52 Ohio and national writing awards and was the first non-Cincinnati newsperson elected to the Cincinnati Journalists Hall of Fame. He also was inducted into the National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame and the Irish-American Baseball Hall of Fame. He has a stone on Dayton's Walk of Fame and the press box at Dayton's Howell Field is named the Hal McCoy Press Box. McCoy has been the Cincinnati BBWAA Chapter Chair 22 times and was the BBWAA national president in 1997. He is the third writer from the Dayton Daily News to win the J. G. Taylor Spink Award, joining Si Burick (1982) and Ritter Collett (1991). Residing in Englewood, Ohio, McCoy is an honors graduate in journalism from Kent State University.


The latest in volume 5 of questions to Hal McCoy:  On alternative faces on the $20 bill, the Rosie Reds, why some ballparks give up more homers than others, and why is there an infield fly rule?

From Sandy: When I was a little girl my mom belonged (I think) to the Rosie Reds organization. It’s been years since I’ve heard that name and I wondered if there still is such a thing?

SANDY: The Rosie Reds are alive and well. I don’t think they are as big as they were in the 1970s, but they are still active. They even have their own mascot on the field. Rosie Red, the one with the big head, dark hair and short skirt that prances around Great American Ball Park. I’m sure if you are interested they would accept you with open arms.

From Bruce in Piqua: One of the reasons I don’t follow the Reds. Their best pitcher is in Louisville (Robert Stephenson), and for some reason they think they have a better chance of winning every five days with him in Louisville. Feel free to share my logic with Bryan Price, or whomever.

BRUCE: The answer to that is very simple and in one five-letter word. M-o-n-e-y. Stephenson is in Louisville to keep his service time clock from starting. If he were with the Reds permanently right now this year would count against when his arbitration and free agent years begin. By keeping him in Louisville until May, they get an extra year from having to pay him big money. If you haven’t noticed, this season is about saving money, not winning games. And I don’t have to share your opinion with Bryan Price. He knows what is going on and is merely mouthing the party line when he says Stephenson needs more work. He already is better than most of the guys the Reds run out there right now.


From Joe B: Hal, I’m looking at the Reds roster while I’m looking at their ticket prices. Never heard of six of the twelve pitchers and don’t know that I’d pay $200 to bring my family to see them play. I don’t know how many have already written to make the point, but the Reds need to understand that they’re overpriced.  And after years of working for GM I have to believe that it’s going to cost them a lot more than just wins by season’s end. Do you have some impartiality on this?

JOE: Wow, my friend. Your question is probably longer than my answer. The team is underpriced and the tickets, indeed, are overpriced. It is certainly going to cost them in attendance. It already has. But I can’t blame what they are doing. They weren’t winning championships with the team they had, so why not start over? And nobody is forcing anybody to buy tickets. So if fans believe tickets are too high, don’t buy ’em. But if you check closely you will find that the Reds offer many ticket discount packages.

From Tyler:  Specifically, what makes GAPB such a good home run park if it’s roughly the same dimensions as most of the other big league parks? If it’s hot weather they have hot weather in St. Louis and say that one is a pitcher’s park. Dodger Stadium is actually smaller and they talk about how hard it is to hit one out there. Would appreciate your ideas on why. Thank you.

TYLER: First of all, bad pitching and bad pitches contribute mightily. For some reason, (I’m not a scientist) I’m told that the proximity of the Ohio River contributes, something to do with humidity. And if you notice GABP does not have deep gaps to left center and right center, as do most parks. The walls go almost straight from the left field line to center and from the right field line to center. Most parks have much deeper gaps. And Cincinnati’s elevation is higher than St. Louis and higher than a lot of parks, making the air a bit thinner. But truthfully, I’ve never really heard a definitive explanation, so I’ll stick with bad pitching and bad pitches.


From Steve in Greenfield: Hal, what’s the rule about hitters changing sides of the plate against a hitter like the guy from Oakland that throws with either arm (Venditte)?

STEVE: The rule, as I understand it, is that once a hitter gets into the box to face the same pitcher, he cannot change sides. He can only change sides if a new pitcher comes into the game. But I also believe that once that ambidextrous pitcher from Oakland decides which hand he is going to use to pitch to a hitter, he can’t change hands during the course of that hitter’s at-bat. He can only change hands when a new hitter gets into the box. I wonder what the umpire would do if the hitter stood right on home plate, facing the pitcher, then jumped into one or the other batter’s box during the wind-up. They’d probably have to go to a challenge/review on that one.

From Drew: I recently saw an infield fly rule called in a high school game where the runner tagged from third base and scored. The umpires ruled that he must go back because the batter was out at the time of the call. Is this right, and why is there an infield fly rule?

DREW: Man, you guys are testing me on the rules as if I’m an umpire. But I do know this one. The runner can tag on advance, at his own risk. The batter is out on the infield fly rule, even if the infielder drops the ball. The batter is the only player involved in the infield fly rule. If the guy who tagged and scored had been thrown out at home he would not be returned to third base because of the infield fly rule. He runs at his own risk.

OK, why not?  There are those who would have almost anyone's mug on the new $20 bills.  So, why not Bryan Price?

OK, why not? There are those who would have almost anyone’s mug on the new $20 bills. So, why not Bryan Price?

From Dave in M/C/B: Was Bryan Price ever a candidate to have his pretty face on the new $20 bill?

DAVE: So you have a man crush on Bryan Price, huh? So does my wife, Nadine. Why a $20 bill? That’s taken. With the money baseball people make, even managers, it is more likely he would be a candidate for a $100 bill. But the Reds would at least have to win a World Series for that to happen. Better candidates would be Chicago’s Joe Maddon or Washington’s Dusty Baker. And I heard you were a candidate for a new $1 bill but didn’t make the cut.

From Jacob in Columbus: Do the Reds ever take a bus anywhere, like Cleveland, or do they always fly?

JACOB: They do take buses (two, not one) between Philadelphia and New York and between San Diego and Los Angeles. I know that because I used to ride with them. Believe it or not, the distance between Cleveland and Cincinnati is more (240 miles) than it is between Philadelphia-New York (97 miles) and San Diego-Los Angeles (120 miles). If you think bus trips are long, try one from Dayton to Greenville, S.C., a trip the University of Dayton baseball team made twice this year — and I was on one of those trips.