Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister covers everything in Cincinnati sports! Host of sports talk on Cincinnati News Radio 700WLW and ESPN 1530!Full Bio


The Departed: Biggest departures in Cincinnati sports

The Departed

On March 24, 1972 the NBA Cincinnati Royals played their final home game in Cincinnati. The franchise was then moved to the Kansas City area and was known as the Kansas City-Omaha Kings (now Sacramento Kings)

A caller to Sports Talk last night described the Royals departure as "heartbreaking" as a 12-year old kid.

That got me thinking about

  1. A movie I've somehow never watched, "The Departed"...what a cast
  2. The sports figures that have departed Cincinnati over the years

Among Cincinnati players, coaches and managers that have left town over the years, which departure had the biggest impact on you?

Think departures by free agency, firings, trades, releases, leaving for another job.

What do you think of the list below? Who would you move up, down or out? 

Would you add anyone to the list? Join our conversation HERE

Cincinnati Royals move to Kansas City: The NBA played in Cincinnati from 1957-1972, then it was gone, for good. Led by the likes of Oscar Robertson, Jerry Lucas and Jack Twyman, the Royals made seven playoff appearances, including advancing to two conference championship series. But in 1969-1970, new coach/player Bob Cousy began a systematic deconstruction of the franchise, including the trading of Lucas and Robertson. The team started losing and crowds starting dwindling. Prior to the 1972 season, the Royals were sold to a group of Kansas City businessmen, who paid $5M for the team. They moved the team to Kansas City following the season and became the Kansas City-Omaha Kings, now the Sacramento Kings.

Frank Robinson traded to Baltimore: Reds GM Bill DeWitt called Frank Robinson "an old 30" following the 1965 season in which the Hall of Famer hit .296 with 33 homers and 113 RBI. Robinson was dealt to Baltimore in exchange for Milt Pappas, Dick Simpson and Jack Baldschun. Robinson would hit .316 with 49 homers with 122 RBI and win the AL MVP and Triple Crown the next season, while leading the Orioles to the 1966 World Series title. Pappas would go 30-29 in two plus season with the Reds, before being traded during the 1968 season.

Oscar Robertson traded to Milwaukee: Oscar Robertson, the UC Bearcat All-American, was a territorial pick of the Royals in the 1960 NBA Draft. He averaged 30 points, with 10 rebounds and 9.7 rebounds in winning Rookie of the Year. He would later win MVP and become the only player in NBA history to average a triple double in 1961-62. The Royals stunned the basketball world by trading Robertson to Milwaukee prior to the start of the 1970-71 season, in exchange for Flynn Robinson and Charlie Paulk. Robertson would team with Lew Alcindor to win the 1971 NBA title with the Bucks. The Royals would be sold and move out of town two seasons later.

Tony Perez traded to Expos/fired 44 games in as manager. Part 1: He was The Mayor and the heart beat of the Big Red Machine.But Reds GM Bob Howsam pulled the plug on the Big Red Machine following the 1976 World Series title when he traded the 34-year old Perez. The Reds wanted to make room for 25-year old 1B Dan Driessen. Perez was dealt to the Montreal Expos, along with pitcher Will McEnaney in exchange for pitchers Woodie Fryman and Dale Murray. Fryman would retire to his farm during the 1977 season, Murray would appear in 61 games with a 4.94 ERA in 1977 and be traded to Mets in 1978. Driessen would hit .300 with 17 homers and 91 RBI in 1977, but the Reds slipped to 88-74, finishing 10 games back of the Dodgers. Part 2: Perez was named manager of the Reds in 1993 and then fired 44 games into the season with a record of 20-24.

Pete Rose signs with the Phillies: Pete Rose spent his first 16 seasons with the Reds, often times hassling with the front office over his contract. Following the 1978 season and a breakdown in talks with GM Dick Wagner, Rose hit the free agent market. The 37-year old Rose was wooed by multiple teams, including the Pirates, Braves, Royals, Cardinals, before choosing the Phillies. He would hit .331 with a league leading .418 OBP in 1978. He helped lead the Phillies to a World Series title in 1980 and earned four All-Star appearances while with the Phillies.

Sparky Anderson fired: In his first seven seasons with the Reds, Sparky Anderson guided the Reds to an average of 97.5 wins a season, four World Series appearances and two World Championships. But the Reds slipped to consecutive second place finishes in 1977(88-74) and 1978 (92-69). That wasn't good enough for Reds GM Dick Wagner, who fired Anderson in his hotel room following the 1978 season. Anderson would go on to manage the Tigers for 13 seasons, four seasons more than he spent with the Reds, winning 1,331 games and a World Series title in 1984.

Bob Huggins forced out at UC: Huggins was the face of UC basketball from 1989-2005. He resurrected the program, leading the Bearcats to the Final Four during the 1991-92 season and compiling a 399-127 record (.759). But Huggins clashed with by UC President Nancy Zimpher and resigned/was fired following 2004-2005 season.

Brian Kelly leaves for Notre Dame: The big talking, swashbuckling Kelly arrived at UC from Central Michigan in December of 2006. His first game was coaching the International Bowl, following head coach Mark Dantonio's departure for Michigan State. Over the next three seasons, Kelly took UC football to heights never before seen, going 34-6 (.850) with consecutive Big East titles and BCS bowl appearances (Orange Bowl/Sugar Bowl). UC was unbeaten and ranked No. 3 in the polls as they prepared for a Sugar Bowl matchup with Florida. Notre Dame came calling and Kelly bailed on the Bearcats the night of the team banquet. He did not coach the bowl game.

Bill Walsh leaves Bengals after not being named head coach: A classic 'What might have been?' situation. I did not rank it higher because the story at the time was not nearly the story it became as Walsh's career unfolded. Walsh was a Bengals assistant coach from 1968-1975. Head coach Paul Brown decided to retire following the 1975 season. Instead of naming Walsh as the next coach, Brown selected Bengals offensive line coach Bill "Tiger" Johnson. Walsh resigned and joined the San Diego Chargers coaching staff. Johnson would go 18-15 as head coach, before he resigned five games into the 1978 season at 0-5. Walsh would become a Hall of Fame head coach with the San Francisco 49ers, winning three Super Bowls. 

Carson Palmer traded: He was Marvin Lewis' first draft pick, No. 1 overall in 2003. Following a 4-12 season in 2010 and frustrated with the direction of the franchise, Palmer vowed never to play for the Bengals again. The Bengals drafted Andy Dalton in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft. Dalton guided the Bengals to an 6-2 record at the midway point of his rookie season. An injury to Oakland QB Jason Campbell led to the eventual trade of Palmer to the Raiders in exchange for the Raiders 1st round pick in 2012 and a second round pick in 2013. The Bengals would select Dre Kirkpatrick and Giovani Bernard with those picks.

Mick Cronin takes UCLA job

Cronin inherited a decimated program and fractured fan base and proceeded to resurrect basketball in Clifton. His UC teams went 296-146 (.670) over his 13 seasons.

Trevor Bauer leaves for World Champion Dodgers

Bauer led the 2020 Reds to the postseason and won the first Cy Young in franchise history

Josh Hamilton traded to Rangers

The troubled and talented Josh Hamilton arrived in Cincinnati as a Rule 5 selection/trade with the Cubs on December 7, 2006. Hamilton was the 1st pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in the 1999 draft but was suspended by MLB for drug violations and had been out of the game for nearly three years. The 26-year old made his ML debut with the Reds on Opening Day of the 2007 season. He received a standing ovation when he lined out to left-field as a pinch-hitter.  Hamilton appeared in just 90 games for the Reds in 2007, hitting .292 with 19 homers. But concerns over injuries and his body breaking down from years of drug use, led to the Reds trading Hamilton following the 2007 season. Hamilton was dealt to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Edison Volquez. Hamilton would hit 32 homers and drive in 130 runs in his first season with the Rangers. He would go on to win AL MVP honors in 2010. Volquez went 17-6 and made the NL All-Star team in his debut season with the Reds.

Thad Matta leaves for Ohio State

Matta arrived at Xavier from Butler, taking over when Skip Prosser departed for Wake Forest. Matta guided the Musketeers to a 78-23 record over three seasons, winning 26 games each year. He led Xavier to the school's first Elite 8 appearances in 2003-2004. Less than a week after saying he had no interest in the Ohio State job, Matta bolted for Columbus under a cloud of secrecy that angered many XU fans.

Paul O'Neill traded to the Yankees for Roberto Kelly  

On November 3, 1992, in his first trade, new Reds GM Jim Bowden traded Paul O'Neill to the Yankees for Roberto Kelly. O'Neill became a batting champion and won four World Series with the Yankees. Kelly hit .319 in 78 games for the Reds in his first season ('93), but was traded to Atlanta in exchange for Deion Sanders during the 1994 seasons. After hitting .259 in his first eight seasons with the Reds, O'Neill would hit .303 in nine seasons with the Yankees.

Dusty Baker fired after 3rd place finish

Dusty Baker produced the Reds first winning season since 2000, when he guided the Reds to the 2010 NL Central division title. Baker would take the Reds to the playoffs again in 2012 and 2013, but failed to win a playoff series, including blowing a 2-0 lead vs San Francisco in 2012. He was fired following a 3rd place Wild Card finish after 2013. The Reds have not sniffed winning since his departure.

Chris Mack leaves for Louisville

The hometown product led the Xavier Musketeers for nine seasons, going 215-97 (.689) with four Sweet 16 appearances and an Elite 8.

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