On This Day in Baseball: William DeWitt Buys Cincinnati Reds
On this day in baseball history, a gentleman named William DeWitt who was integrated with professional sports purchased the Cincinnati Reds in 1962 from the Crosley Foundation.
DeWitt purchased the franchise for $4.265M and had served as the Reds President under Powel Crosley Jr before he passed in 1961.
He grew up in St. Louis and began his life revolving around sports at an early age in 1916 selling sodas at St. Louis Brown's baseball games. However, he began his real career in baseball with the Cardinals when he was the protege of infamous executive Branch Rickey. DeWitt later moved back to work for the St. Louis Browns in 1936 as a minority owner and general manager.
Bill would go onto serve as the assistant general manager for the New York Yankees from 1954-1956 and then moved up to President of Baseball Operations for the Detriot Tigers in 1960 before going on to purchase the Reds in '62.
During DeWitt's time as owner and general manager of the Reds, he made one trade that will live in infamy when he traded future Hall of Famer Frank Robinson in 1966. In 1965 Cincinnati was potent offensively leading the National League in runs scored (825) and run differential (+121) but struggled to pitch consistently and win close games. That's what forced DeWitt to make the deal as he dealt Robinson to the Baltimore Orioles for starting pitchers Milt Pappas and Jack Baldschun as well as outfielder Dick Simpson.
In his very first season in Baltimore Robinson would win the Triple Crown, was voted the AL MVP and the Orioles would win the World Series. This was all after DeWitt described Robinson as "not a young 30", ouch.