When The Sporting News began awarding Gold Gloves for fielding excellence in 1957, Roy McMillan received the first three for shortstops. A gutsy professional, universally respected by his peers, McMillan teamed with second baseman Johnny Temple to hold together the infield of the hard-hitting Reds for most of the 1950s. On a team that routinely hit for power in tiny Crosley Field, McMillan 's weak bat was an
affordable luxury. A strong arm, exceptional
range and durability, and an astute sense of the game belied his bespectacled, mild-mannered
In 1954 McMillan set a since-surpassed NL record with 129 double plays.
His career was spent away from the national spotlight, as he never played for a Cincinnati
pennant winner. Ironically, McMillan's trade to Milwaukee for Joey Jay - who was
to lead the NL in wins - brought the 1961 Reds the pitching needed to win their first
league title in 21 years. McMillan's two All-Star Game starts were somewhat tainted
by Cincinnati's ballot-stuffing campaign.
After three years with the Braves, McMillan
concluded his playing career with the 1964-66 Mets. His presence brought New York's
previously chaotic infield immediate respectability; he eventually groomed Bud Harrelson
to take his place. He started a triple play against the Giants in the May 31, 1964
23-inning marathon that lasted a NL-record seven hours and 23 minutes.
was McMillan's durability. His 584 consecutive games at shortstop from 1951 to 1955
set a NL record. He played 150 or more games in eight different seasons - six in
a row - including 157 games for the Mets at age 35. He went on to manage in the minors,
coach for Milwaukee and the Mets, and scout. McMillan replaced Yogi Berra as Mets
manager for 53 games in 1975.
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FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»May 24, 1954: In a unique Birdie Tebbetts' shift against the Cards Stan Musial, the Redlegs enlist a "4th" OF in place of regular SS Roy McMillan. This causes a box score irregularity because left-handed Nino Escalera is officially listed as a left-handed SS. After all that, Art Fowler strikes out Musial as the Reds win 4–2.
»April 20, 1960: Light hitting Roy McMillan has two home runs, three singles, and drives in five runs as the Reds top the Braves, 10–5, in 10 innings.
»December 15, 1960: The Reds acquire pitchers Joey Jay and Juan Pizarro from the Braves for SS Roy McMillan and a player to be named later. Cincy then trades Pizarro and P Cal McLish to the White Sox for 3B Gene Freese. The two pitchers will win 24 games between them for the Sox in 1961, while Freese will have one good year in Cincy.
»May 28, 1972: The Brewers fire manager Dave Bristol, replacing him with Del Crandall. Coach Roy McMillan takes over until Crandall arrives and guides the team to a 4–1 loss to Boston.