By Kyle Lovern
January 29, 2014
By Kyle Lovern
Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey has come a long way since he was first brought up at mid-season 2007.
Bailey’s real first name is David, but he was nicknamed “Homer” after his great-grandfather while growing up in Texas.
Bailey won 15 games and lost none his senior season of high school. Furthermore, he had an outstanding 0.68 earned run average and 201 strikeouts in 92⅔ innings pitched. That year, USA Today named Bailey as a member of that year’s USA Today All-USA high school baseball team and their High School National Player of the Year.
Bailey completed his high school career with 41 wins, 4 losses, a 0.98 ERA, and 536 strikeouts in 298 innings pitched. In 2004, the Cincinnati Reds selected Bailey with the seventh pick in the Major League Baseball amateur draft.
Bailey was a part of the 2014 Cincinnati Reds Caravan that came through the region last Friday.
Bailey, now 27 years old, has thrown two no-hitters in his young career. One of those was in 2012 against division rival Pittsburgh and the other last season against the tough San Francisco Giants.
Both games were a little different,” Bailey said of his two no hitters. “The first game I was just worried about not giving up a run, since we were only up 1-0. At that time, we hadn’t clinched the division yet so every win meant a lot.”
Bailey became the third Reds pitcher in history, the others being Jim Maloney and Johnny Vander Meer, to have more than one career no-hitter.
“In the second one, I just thought – let’s try to do this again and fortunately it worked out,” Bailey added.
Bailey is 49-45 in his major league career with 705 strikeouts and a 4.25 ERA.
Bailey went 11-12 with a 3.49 earned run average last season. In 32 games, all starts, the hard-throwing right-hander allowed 181 hits, struck out 199 and walked 54 while holding opponents to a .234 batting average.
Bailey, who is in the final year of his contract with the Reds, is one of just 27 pitchers in Major League Baseball history to have thrown two no-hitters.
Many Reds fans know that Bailey did not get the run support he deserved last season, thus his win-loss record does not reflect how well he pitched in 2013.
Bailey was asked the differences between new manager Bryan Price and Dusty Baker.
The main word Bailey said he can describe for Price is “accountability.” Price has served as the Reds’ pitching coach the last four years and is credited with helping Bailey and others develop into solid major league pitchers.
“Bryan is a very good communicator. You don’t feel like you’re working under him, but with him,” Bailey said as the major difference with Price and Baker. “When you have multiple people on a team that have the same common goal, then you can have success.”
“Once you can establish a common goal – if we can get all 25 guys toward the same goal – we can excel,” he added. “This is not a me show, but a we show. But, quit whining and quit crying and go play the game. I think Bryan is really good about settling those kinds of issues.”
“Hopefully we can have a great year,” he said.
Bailey said he has a lot left in the tank.
Many Reds fans worry about the team losing Bailey after this season. He will be a free agent and rumors have it that he could get a multi-million dollar contract on the open market.
The word is that the Reds front office would like to lock down Bailey on a long-term extension, but they would have to fork over some big money.
“It seems like the last couple of years I’ve gotten a little bit better,” Bailey said. “I think I’ve strived to get better and have continued to evolve.”
Reportedly the two sides already exchanged arbitration figures for a one-year pact earlier this month. Bailey filed for $11.6 million, while the Reds countered at $8.7 million.
If a deal is not reached, the two sides will have an arbitration hearing sometime in February.
Bailey was diplomatic about the negotiations and said he would let his agent and the Reds front office work out the details.
(Kyle Lovern is the Sports Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-235-4242, ext. 33)