The trade did not surprise Milt Pappas. Only a few days before the veteran righthander was swapped to Atlanta in a six-player transaction, he had predicted he soon would be wearing a Braves’ uniform. However, Reds General Manager Bob Howsam, in making the announcement of the trade, denied Pappas’ controversial role as Reds’ player representative had anything to do with his departure. “I had a meeting with Manager Dave Bristol and his coaches back on May 17,” said Howsam. “At that time, we discussed our pitching situation and decided Pappas was expendable.” Pappas revealed that a week after Howsam met with Bristol, he, himself, had telephoned the Reds’ general manager and asked to be traded. “I told him that I thought a change would be best for both me and the club,” said Pappas.
The deal sent Pappas, handyman Bob Johnson and relief pitcher Ted Davidson to the Braves in exchange for pitchers Tony Cloninger, Clay Carroll and infielder Woody Woodward. Pappas originally came to the Reds in the controversial deal which sent Frank Robinson to the Orioles three yeras ago. The veteran righthander had started 11 games for the Reds this season and completed only one of them. He owned a 6-5 record and a 3.82 ERA. He appeared as a reliever in both games of a doubleheader against the Cardinals on June 9 and pitched three scoreless innings. The night before, Pappas had resigned as player representative when Red players went ahead with the game with the Cardinals, even though a majority of them had voted against playing before the funeral of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.
At Atlanta, Pappas will rejoin Paul Richards, who was his manager when he came up to the big leagues with Baltimore in 1957. “Paul and I have been friends for a long time,” said Milt. “We both respect each other. I have always told him I would like to get back with him. He has been like a second father.” The Braves plan to move Pappas into their starting rotation. And Vern Benson, filling in for the hospitalized Dave Bristol, said Cloninger would move into the Reds’ starting rotation. The 27-year-old Cloninger, who was the bellcow of the Braves’ pitching staff until sidelined most of the 1967 season by an eye infection, had appeared in only eight games with Atlanta this season. But he had been effective with a 2-0 record with a 1.50 ERA. Cloninger was also not surprised by the trade. “I expected it,” he said. “I wasn’t pitching here so I figured I would probably be traded. I just was not sure which club I’d go to.”
Carroll, also 27, came to the Reds with a 1-1 record after 23 innings this season. He joins a Reds’ injury-riddled bull pen. At the same time the trade was announced, Howsam revealed the Reds had recalled pitcher Jay Ritchie fro the Indianapolis farm club. To make room for Ritchie, the Reds placed pitcher Mel Queen on the disabled list. Queen has experienced a sore right shoulder since the spring. He thinks the hunting he did in the off-season might have something to do with the soreness. “The doc told me it’s possible,” revealed Queen. “I used up six to eight boxes of shells a week. And the soreness is where the butt of the shotgun meets my shoulder.”