Dave Bristol has righted the Reds’ ship, and with the club’s current six game winning streak, the Reds stand only three games under the .500 mark for the first time since May 1. Back on July 14 when Bristol took over, the Reds, picked by many to win the pennant in pre-season pools, were in eighth place, fifteen games below the .500 mark. “We’ll try to get to the .500 mark as quickly as possible and then go from there,” said the 33-year-old Bristol as he greeted newsmen. The club is only a half game behind the surging Cardinals for the best record in the second half of the season, 23-11.
One of the biggest benefactors of Bristol’s tenure has been the pitching staff, particularly Jim O’Toole who had an 0-8 mark under former manager Don Heffner. The veteran southpaw is 5-1 in the second half under Bristol with the only loss coming to the aforementioned Redbirds. Jim Maloney and Milt Pappas have also shown noticeable improvement. The staff’s ERA stood at 4.86 at the Break, and has shrunk nearly a half a run to 4.39. Even Bristol’s hunches, such as using outfielder Mel Queen as a reliever in spots, have played out well.
But as Bristol pointed out, everyone has done his part to transform the Reds into a winning club. Tommy Helms has picked up his play considerably under his former minor league manager. Helms is one of six Red regulars with a batting average over .300 for the second half. Dick Simpson is batting .360 in 25 at-bats under Bristol. Of Simpson, Bristol remarked, “You never know what a guy can do until you play him.” Simpson only batted 35 times in the first half. “Everyone on this club is doing his part,” said Bristol. “They all want to win.”