Sunday, February 08, 2009

CINCINNATI REDS - ALL TIME HOME GROWN TEAM vs. ALL TIME ACQUIRED TEAM

I've got 11 more of these Homegrown vs. Acquired lists to write and players are already in uniform in Florida and Arizona!

Plus I need to catch up on my Oscar watching to feed my other obsession.

I had better start typing.

Today I am going to break down the Cincinnati Reds, a team that has had no problem breaking down over the past few years.

The oldest professional franchise has been on a bad streak as of late. They've had no winning seasons since 2001 and only contended in one season this century. (They were in the race in 2006, but only because the division was so bad!)

Good seats are still available at the Great American Ballpark, but look out. I believe Cincinnati is one of the sleeping giants of baseball right now.

If the Reds can put a winner on the field, tickets in Cincy will be hard to get! When people refer to the markets where baseball is king over football, there's only a hand ful of them.

Boston and New York obviously are on that list. St. Louis and possibly in Chicago (although the Bears are huge.)
I would include Cincinnati... a city that loves its team and is dying for a winner.

The Reds won their first title because the superior White Sox were paid to throw the 1919 World Series. But they put many other great teams on the field.

They won one of the great game 7s in World Series history in 1940 and brought Frank Robinson into the bigs (and then stupidly traded him away!)

They had the last great dynasty of the pre-Free Agency era and pulled off one of the most shocking sweeps in World Series history to derail a potential A's dynasty.

They've had MVPs, record breakers and people invited to Dean Martin roasts. And their old stadium was featured in the opening of WKRP in Cincinnati, one of the great sitcoms of all time.

So let's get to the listing here...

As always the rules for the rosters can be found here.

Time to restart the Big Red Machine!!!


ALL TIME HOME GROWN REDS TEAM


STARTING CATCHER
JOHNNY BENCH

There was a time when playing for Cincinnati meant you were a national celebrity.
I'm not talking among baseball fans... I mean NATIONALLY.

Johnny Bench used to appear on Bob Hope specials.
He would be on the daius during a Dean Martin roast.

He was the host of The Baseball Bunch!

And oh yeah he was a two time NL MVP, was the MVP of the 1976 World Series, is a member of the Hall of Fame and is often considered to be the greatest catcher of all time.

But that's not as cool as sitting along side Dino at one of the roasts!


STARTING FIRST BASEMAN
TONY PEREZ

This is a photograph of two guys whose birthday is May 14.

But only one was named to seven All Star teams.

Only one slugged 379 homers over 23 seasons in the bigs.

Only one drove in 100+ runs seven times (including six with the Reds.)

Only one hit 3 home runs in the 1975 World Series including the game turning shot off of Bill Lee in Game 7.

Can you guess which one?


STARTING SECOND BASEMAN
BID McPHEE

I originally had Tommy Helms here, but Shawn at Cincinnati Reds Blog pointed out I missed Bid McPhee.

I sometimes have trouble including players from the 19th century. The game was so different and the way stats were kept were different that sometimes it is hard to compare them to todays players. McPhee didn't even play with a glove for most of his career!

And I had to figure out if the Cincinnati Reds of the American Association were even the same organization as the Cincinnati Reds of the National League. (They were.)

But taking a look at McPhee, I see Shawn is right. Yeah he didn't have a glove, but he led the league in double plays and fielding percentage without one. He was a .300 hitter and was one of the best lead off hitters of his time.

Plus he's in the Hall of Fame. Who am I to leave a Hall of Famer off of the list?




STARTING SHORTSTOP
BARRY LARKIN

I will say it here right now. Barry Larkin will NOT be elected to the Hall of Fame next January. He may eventually, but he'll be forced ti dangle by the same writers who didn't vote Rickey Henderson in unanimously and gave Jay Bell two votes.

Larkin was a Cincinnati native who played his entire wonderful 19 year career for the Reds.

He was a 12 time All Star and started winning Gold Gloves once Ozzie Smith's career wound down. He was by far the best offensive shortstop in the National League over a 13 year period.

He helped lead the Reds back to the World Series in the wake of the Pete Rose scandal. He singled twice and scored in the Reds 2-1 game 6 NLCS clincher. In the World Series he batted .353 with a .950 OPS and scored the tying run in the 2-1 game 4 clincher.

And in 1995, he was the NL MVP and continued his hot hitting in the post season where he got the game winning hit in game 2 of the Division Series and hit .389 with an OPS of 1.032 in the NLCS.

Just vote him in on the first ballot! Why have him dangle?


STARTING THIRD BASEMAN
PETE ROSE

I know a lot of people have asked "What is the harm in betting on your team if you are betting on them to WIN?"

OK, that's a fair question. Besides, if you know you are playing extra hard to win, that's a good thing right? You're playing it like it's game 7 of the World Series.

Well not really. Let's say you bet on your team to win on a Friday.
Fine, you play like hell on Friday... but what does that mean for the Thursday game? Are you holding back a pitcher or are you not using a player to make sure they fresh for Friday?

And what happens on Saturday? Have you used pitchers out of the pen that you normally wouldn't to clinch the Friday game?

Essentially by betting on one game you are putting two in jeopardy. Now Rose has claimed he bet on EVERY game... but I think he has already lied on this subject before... for 18 years!

And the no betting rule is not an obscure one, nor is the punishment. And there can't be two sets of rules... one for normal players and one for the All Time Hits leader, an NL MVP and World Series MVP, one of the most dynamic players in baseball history and one whose batting stance I tried to copy in Little League and one who couldn't have been nicer when I met him working at Versus.

And what about those teams Rose managed while betting on them?
They all faded down the stretch allowing "over achievers" like the 1986 Astros, 1987 Giants and 1988 Dodgers to overtake them. Should those three pennant races be looked at with skepticism?

If he came out and said the truth in 1989, he'd probably be reinstated already, Bart Giamatti would still be alive, Pete Rose would be in the Hall of Fame, Bud Selig would never have been commissioner and the 1994 strike would have been avoided and the need to look the other way during the steroid era would not have been there.

It's all connected.


STARTING LEFT FIELDER
ERIC DAVIS

It's not often a World Series turning moment happens in the first inning of game 1, but that's exactly what happened in 1990.

The Oakland A's had taken the 1988 World Series humiliation to heart and steamrolled to an 8-1 post season record over the Blue Jays and Giants in 1989 to win the World Series.

1990 looked like more of the same. The A's won 103 games and blew the Red Sox away in a 4 game ALCS sweep.
And nobody was better in October than Dave Stewart.
After losing game 4 of the 1988 World Series he went on a rampage. In his next six post season starts he went 6-0 with a 1.87 ERA and two straight post season MVP awards.

He took the mound in game 1 of the 1990 World Series ready to continue that run, earn his spot as one of the greatest post season pitchers of all time and make the A's officially a dynasty. With two outs and one on, he looked like his typical dominating self.

Eric Davis came to the plate. The same Eric Davis who looked like he was going to develop into an MVP but his career would be derailed by injuries and later by cancer.

Davis his a homer over the centerfield wall and suddenly in the first inning, the very tone of the series changed. This wasn't going to be a coronation of the A's. The Reds were not intimidated and this was not going to be a sweep.

Stewart was knocked out after four.
After the game, commissioner Fay Vincent joked "Watch Cincinnati sweep them."

They did. And Eric Davis set the tone.


STARTING CENTER FIELDER
VADA PINSON

Pinson was a .300 hitter with power and speed. He drove in 100 runs a few times and hit 20 homers a year in a pitchers era. He was a Gold Glove outfielder and finished third in the 1961 MVP race.

He was a complete ballplayer and offensive threat while regularly facing some of the great pitchers in baseball history.

Does that make him a Hall of Famer?

Maybe, maybe not. But it DOES earn him a spot on this roster!


STARTING RIGHT FIELDER
FRANK ROBINSON

I think I know what the Reds were thinking in 1965 when they dealt Frank Robinson to Baltimore.
Bear with me.

The Reds finished 1964 1 game out of the pennant and finished 1965 8 games back.
They were a good team but needed a move to push them over the top.

They had the best hitting in the league but the second highest ERA in the league. Only the 112 loss Mets let up more runs than the Reds pitching staff.

So the Orioles offer the Reds Milt Pappas... a 13-16 game winner who logs 200 innings a year with a sub 3.00 ERA.
And in the same trade offer the Reds they offered Jack Baldschun, who was a nice double digit win and double digit save reliever.

And finally they threw in Dick Simpson, a 22 year old outfield prospect who looked like he was going to develop into a great base stealer.

Plus with Johnny Edwards, Deron Jackson, Tony Perez, Pete Rose, Vada Pinson and Tommy Harper still in the line up, they could afford to give up one power hitter if it meant improving the rotation, the bullpen and still get an outfielder for the future.

So they traded Frank Robinson, the 1956 Rookie of the Year, the 1961 MVP, a Gold Glove winner who in 1965 finished second in on base percentage and runs batted in and fourth in home runs.

How were they supposed to know he'd win the triple crown and lead the Orioles to their greatest era ever?


TOP PINCH HITTER OFF OF THE BENCH
TED KLUSZEWSKI

In the days before BALCO and testing, there was probably no pair of arms more intimidating than Kluszewski's!

Look at those guns! And yes he cut the sleeves off. He claims he did that because the tight Reds uniforms cut off his circulation. I think he did it to scare the tar out of the other teams pitchers.

The fact that he consistently was among the league leaders in home runs, RBI and batting average probably made him scary enough!


THE STARTING ROTATION

DON GULLETT

The actor John Cazale appeared in only 5 movies before he died in 1978. His most famous role was as Fredo Corleone in The Godather and Godfather Part II. He was also in The Conversation, Dog Day Afternoon and The Deer Hunter.

Each one was a Best Picture nominee... each one has endured as a classic film of the 1970s.

Don Gullett was kind of like the John Cazale of baseball.
Gullett played only nine seasons. Seven of those teams made the playoffs. Six of those teams won the pennant and four won the World Series.

And like Cazale, he was underrated in those years. He had a pair of top 10 finishes in the Cy Young voting and that doesn't include his 18-8, 3.51 ERA performance for the 1973 Reds. And, including his time with the 1977 Yankees, was the game 1 starter in three straight World Series.

Like Cazale, his career ended suddenly in 1978. But don't worry. Gullett just had arm troubles.


MARIO SOTO

If Don Gullett had perfect timing for experiencing World Series glory, than Mario Soto had the worst.

He broke in with the 1977 Reds, just as they finished their back to back World Series run. He began as a reliever and a spot starter and blossomed into a Cy Young candidate, finishing second to John Denny in 1983.

The Reds made the 1979 playoffs but were bounced out by the Pirates. The 1981 Reds had the best record in baseball, but were kept out of the playoffs altogether when the standings were split into pre-strike and post-strike finishes.

Injuries forced the Reds to release him during the 1988 season. The Dodgers signed him and went on to win the World Series.

But he never threw a pitch for the Dodgers as he stayed on the disabled list during the whole playoffs.



JIM MALONEY

The Reds career leader in strikeouts, Maloney condensed his great years over six seasons.

He won 20 games twice and had the best strikeout to innings pitched ratio in 1963.

He was traded away after the 1970 World Series and missed the Big Red Machine years. His bad luck continued with No Hitter rules. He pitched a no hitter through nine innings in 1965, but he let up a hit in extra innings.

He threw an official no hitter in 1969.


JOE NUXHALL

What did you do when you were 15 years old?

I played high school football and baseball, was in the school play and spent my afternoons watching videos and wondering if I am ever going to see a girl naked.

Joe Nuxhall pitched in a big league game.
Granted it was in 1944 as most of the best players were off at war, but that's quite an accomplishment to check off your "To Do" list in life before you can drive a car!

It turns out it wasn't an Eddie Gaedel like stunt. He went to the minor leagues and worked his way back to the bigs... not as a freak show but as a legit big league left hander.

He made a pair of All Star teams and led the NL in shutouts in 1955.
He played his last season of his 15+ year career when he was 37 and became a beloved broadcaster through the end of his life.

Not bad for a high school kid,


TOM BROWNING

I originally had Hod Eller here... but I decided to go with Browning.

During game 2 of the 1990 World Series, Tom Browning's wife went into labor. Browning left the ballpark and went to the hospital in full uniform to be with her. I am sure there were some people who thought he was just a crazy Reds fan.

They probably didn't recognize the guy who won 20 games in 1985, threw a perfect game in 1988 and won game 2 of the 1990 NLCS.

Two days after his child's birth, he won Game 3 of the World Series.

That kid is now 18 years old. How many times do you think they've heard that story?




THE BULLPEN

ELMER RIDDLE

Riddle worked primarily as a starting pitcher for the Reds and had a pair of MVP caliber seasons during the 1940s. But his first full season, he was a reliever for the 1940 World Champion Reds.

He recorded a 1.87 ERA in his 14 games out of the pen that season before winning the ERA title in 1941 and leading the league in wins in 1943.

Plus his name was Elmer. Not many of those any more.


TOM HUME

Like Mario Soto, Tom Hume had lousy timing with the Reds. He just missed the Big Red Machine years and his career was wrapped up before the 1990 World Series.

But in those interim years, Hume gave the Reds a steady arm out of the bullpen.

He saved 25 games over 137 innings in 1980 and was on the 1982 All Star Team.

And he shared the 1979 Sporting News Reliever of the Year award with Rollie Fingers. It's never a shame to be even mentioned in the same sentence with Rollie Fingers!


ROB DIBBLE

Why do I love Rob Dibble?

1) He was a bad ass wild child as a player who would brawl with his manager in the clubhouse and strikeout the side on the field

2) He was a 2 Time All Star and NLCS Co-MVP who helped beat the 1990 A's, a team I hated

3) He cleverly parlayed what amounted to six noteworthy seasons into a lifetime on the air.

4) He is a native of Bridgeport, Connecticut... as are my parents.

5) He always laughs at my jokes when I call into his XM Show.

6) All of the Above.



RAWLEY EASTWICK

Eastwick had Bernie Carbo terribly fooled in the 8th inning of Game 6 of the 1975 World Series when he barely tipped a two strike pitch to stay alive. Of course he homered to tie the game. If he got Carbo out and pitched a scoreless 9th, Eastwick might have been the World Series MVP.

If he got out of the 8th and 9th he would have finished the series with a 2-0 record and 2 saves with a 1.00 ERA.
Oh well, as a consolation prize he got a pair of World Series rings and was the NL Rolaids Reliever of the Year in 1976.


WILL McENANEY

Some great relievers never experienced the thrill of clinching a World Series. Will McEneaney did it in back to back seasons.

The first one all he had to do was throw a scoreless 9th inning in Fenway Park and get Yaz to fly out to end the 1975 Series, the greatest anyone had ever seen.

In 1976 he cemented the Reds place in history by clinching the 4th and final game in Yankee Stadium.

I have a strange fascination with the pitchers who get the last out of the World Series. Maybe because I used to pretend to do that on my front lawn as a kid, I am in awe of the people who have done it in real life.

I guess I'd be fascinated if I met Batman or Luke Skywalker as well.


THE BENCH

RESERVE INFIELDER
DAVE CONCEPCION

For a while there was some support for Concepcion to be elected to the Hall of Fame. That would mean, assuming that some day Pete Rose will be put in, the entire infield of the Big Red Machine was Hall of Fame worthy.

Concepcion won 5 Gold Gloves, a pair of Silver Sluggers, made 9 All Star teams, finished 4th in the 1981 MVP race and had some big October hits. In the 1976 World Series he batted .357 with an OPS of .971 including a Series capping RBI ground rule double in Game 4.

Is that a Hall of Fame career? Not sure, but it is a darn good one.



RESERVE INFIELDER
CHRIS SABO

When the Reds won the first two games of the 1990 World Series, it was assumed that the A's would return home and hold serve. Besides, if they could win game 3, they had Dave Stewart going in game 4 and the series would be tied.

Chris Sabo destroyed that thought process for the third game.

The Spuds Mackensie looking third baseman homered in the second inning to put the Reds up 1-0.
The A's took the lead in the bottom of the second, but the Reds rallied in the third.

After an error and a few well placed hits gave the Reds a 3-2 lead crushed his second homer in as many innings. The Reds would score seven runs in the innings and pull away, stunning the A's and setting up the sweep the next day.




RESERVE OUTFIELDER
KEN GRIFFEY

His son might be more talented, but the father had the more satisfying run in Cincinnati.

The three time All Star contended for the 1976 batting title, finishing 3 points behind Bill Madlock. He was the #2 hitter for the Big Red Machine whose job it was to move Pete Rose along and be on base for Morgan, Perez and Foster.

And he got some nice at bats in October as well. He hit .385 with an OPS of 1.005 in the 1976 NLCS and finished the series with a walk off pennant clinching single in Game 3.

I am sure Junior would love to have had a post season moment like that in Cincinnati!


RESERVE OUTFIELDER
ADAM DUNN

One of the few bright spots in the recent Reds years, Dunn is a consistent 40 homer a year threat whose swing seems perfect for hitter friendly Great American Ballpark.

Sure he strikes out too much, but his all or nothing swing put him in the top 4 for homers in three different seasons.

He's been around for so long, it's easy to forget he's still under 30... and will be doing his slugging for Washington in 2009.


RESERVE CATCHER
JOHNNY EDWARDS

I almost put Joe Oliver here… but Edwards was a better player.

Oh and by the way, good luck looking up facts on Edwards and not stumbling across the former Senator and Vice Presidential candidate who cheated on his wife who had cancer.

And while I am at it, try to avoid on line entries of John Edward, that TV fraud who claims to talk to the dead.

No, THIS Edwards was an All Star catcher and Gold Glove winner who batted .364 in the 1961 World Series for the Reds.

And that impresses me more than cheating on your wife or taking money while pretending to talk to the dead.


25TH MAN
FRANK McCORMICK

I couldn't put McCormick at first over Perez, but that's why I have the 25th man spot!

"Buck" McCormick was and MVP candidate in 1939 when the Reds won their first pennant since 1919. The next year he won the MVP and the Reds won their second ever title (and the first one where the other team was actually TRYING to win.)

And while he had a lousy series in 1940, he did hit the double that sparked the winning rally in game 7.

His heroics plus his many years as a Reds broadcaster made his inclusion imperative!



That's a great team!
The All Time Hits leader? MVPs? Hall of Famers? World Series heroes!

The only think they lacked was a true work horse All Time Cy Young Award winning Ace.

Do you think the Acquired Team has one?
Do you think they have one of the great pitchers of All Time?

Read on...




ALL TIME ACQUIRED REDS TEAM


STARTING CATCHER
ERNIE LOMBARDI

Lombardi was a great player, loved by the fans and was wrongly villified by sports writers for being a World Series goat. (He was knocked on his back with the ball lying close to him when Joe Dimaggio scored in the World Series clinching rally in 1939.)

You'd think he'd live that down, especially when the Reds won the World Series the next year.
They didn't.

He was the 1938 NL MVP and called both of Johnny Van Der Meer's no hitters. But the fan favorite fought demons later in his life and contemplated suicide.

He died before he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1986. Hopefully he found some peace with himself and his baseball career.



STARTING FIRST BASEMAN
HAL MORRIS

Some day I'll write my "All Former Yankee Farm Hands Traded Away During The 1980s" team.
Morris no doubt will be on the club.

With Cincinnati he won the 1991 Batting Title and had a 1.000 OPS in the 1990 NLCS, drove in what turned out to be the World Series clinching run that year and won the coveted Sully Baseball Division Series MVP in 1995.

Not a bad return for Tim Leary and Van Snider!!!


STARTING SECOND BASEMAN
JOE MORGAN

Morgan is a controversial announcer but there is no questioning his impact on the Reds. After coming over from Houston he had five straight top 10 finishes for the NL MVP, winning it in 1975 and 1976. He was a Gold Glove winner, a slugger and for someone who rolls his eyes at Sabermetrics, he had the NL's top OPS in 1975 and 1976.

Oh yeah, he also got the game winning hit with two outs in the 9th inning of game 7 of the 1975 World Series.

Am I wrong that I don't hate Joe Morgan as an announcer? He's not my favorite, but I do love listening to Jon Miller and Joe Morgan call a game. And yet I feel that admitting that is tantamount to saying "My favorite song is We Built This City On Rock And Roll."

Can we all agree, whether you hate Morgan the announcer or not, that this commercial is awesome.


STARTING SHORTSTOP
BILLY MYERS

Acquired as a minor leaguer from the Giants, Myers became a spark plug and unlikely MVP candidate for the Reds back to back pennants in 1939 and 1940.

He drove in the winning run in the underrated Game 7 of the 1940 World Series. I would love to find a recording of that game. If anyone has one, please shoot me an e mail!


STARTING THIRD BASEMAN
HEINIE GROH

Groh was mistaken for a batboy when he made his debut in 1912 with the New York Giants. Clearly they didn't take him very seriously and he was quickly traded to the Reds.

Giants manager John McGraw quickly saw that was a mistake as the little Groh developed into one of the best infielders in the National League.

He hit for the cycle in 1915, had a 23 game hitting streak in 1917 and although nobody knew what it was at the time, he had the highest OPS in 1919.

He led the Reds to the 1919 World Series title... well, he did and the gamblers did.

The Giants reacquired him and he became the offensive star of the 1922 World Series.

Not bad for someone who looked like a batboy.



STARTING LEFT FIELDER
GEORGE FOSTER

In the wake of all the recent steroid controversy, how much better is George Foster's 52 homer MVP season in 1977 looking?

Between 1965 and 1990, Foster was the only slugger to top 50.
It was still a magical milestone.

And Foster would also have the highest OPS in 1977, lead the league in RBI three straight seasons and have the highest home run total in 1978 as well. (I thought Foster and Jim Rice were going to lead the league every year!)

And he did all of this without injecting cow hormones into his butt.




STARTING CENTER FIELDER
EDD ROUSH

The Reds made a trade with the Giants for the legendary Christy Mathewson and the Giants threw in Roush for good measure.

Little did either team know the other player would go to the Hall of Fame too. He was a two time batting champ in Cincinnati. For you Sabermetric fans, he led the NL in OPS in 1918.

He claimed that the Reds won the 1919 World Series not because the White Sox were paid off but because they were the better team. Who am I to argue?

By the way, that isn't a spelling mistake. He spelled his first name Edd.


STARTING RIGHT FIELDER
DAVE PARKER

By 1983, Dave Parker's once brilliant star seemed to be fading. He was overweight, injured and involved in a cocaine scandal. He signed with Cincinnati for the 1984 season and had a decent first year.

Then in 1985 he blossomed again, batting .312 with 34 homers and a league leading 125 RBI.
Recharged, he nearly won his second MVP (Willie McGee won it.) I wonder if he won that MVP if he'd get more Hall of Fame consideration.


TOP PINCH HITTER OFF THE BENCH
CY SEYMOUR

Nope I never heard of Cy Seymour either.

But his name kept popping up when I was looking up Reds offensive leaders.
He played three full seasons with the Reds and part of two others... and holy Cow did he hit!

Do you like batting averages? Well he led the league in 1905 with a .377 average.
His total batting average as a Red was .332.

Do you like OPS? Well total Reds OPS was .841.

Do want another in credible number from 1905?
His OPS was .988 and his RBI total was 121 (both best in the league.)

Guess how many homers he hit?
8.

He put up those gaudy power numbers yet didn't bust double digits with homers. Those are some timely hits. I recommend putting him on the roster!


THE STARTING ROTATION

TOM SEAVER

My friend Doc Dougherty, a Queens native and a Mets fan, wrote a play called Broad Channel that took place during one of the darkest days of his life... the day the Mets dealt Tom Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds.

Seaver put up some more great numbers with the Reds, finishing second to Fernando Valenzuela in the 1981 Cy Young race and threw his only no hitter.

But here's something that will make Doc angry: I always associate Seaver with the Reds! My first memories of him pitching were with the Reds. My only memories of Seaver with the Mets was the one season he played with them in the 1980s. For me he belonged with Bench and Morgan and Rose.

He was on the Baseball Bunch as a Red! I'm sorry Doc.

What can I say? The Reds got the better end of the deal!



JOSE RIJO

The 1990 Yankees floundered to a 95 loss season and didn't have a single starting pitcher with double digits in wins. I'm sure the Yankees front office had a great time watching the NLCS that year. The Pirates ace was eventual Cy Young winner and former Yankee farm hand Doug Drabek.

Meanwhile the Reds' ace was Jose Rijo, another former Yankee. The Reds won the pennant and Rijo squared up against Dave Stewart twice in the Series... and won both games, going 2-0 with an 0.59 ERA and 14 strikeouts over 15 1/3 innings, earning Series MVP honors.

Man, I am going to have fun writing the "All Former Yankee Farm Hands Traded Away During The 1980s" team.


PAUL DERRINGER

Derringer had an amazing rookie season for the 1931 World Champion Cardinals. He went 18-8 with a 3.36 ERA and pitched in the World Series. Then that year looked like a fluke as he started losing... a lot.

He was dealt to the Reds in 1933 and lost 27 games.
But he turned it around and became a 20 game winner, a 300 inning pitcher and eventually an MVP candidate (with back to back top 5 finishes for the 1939 and 1940 pennant winners.)

In Game 7 of the 1940 World Series, he faced off against Detroit's Bobo Newsom and held on to the 2-1 lead with a complete game victory.

He became the second Reds pitcher to clinch a World Series... and the first to do so where the other team wasn't paid off.


BUCKY WALTERS

Between 1931 and 1934, Walters as a mediocre infielder for the Braves, Red Sox and Phillies. He didn't start much, didn't have much power and found himself in the minors when he experimented with pitching.

He worked his way back to the majors as a pitcher but still was nothing special with the Phillies. He then was dumped to the Reds.

Suddenly he became an All Star... and a 27 game winner... and regularly threw 300 innings... and won the NL MVP in 1939... and pitched two complete game victories in the to help win the 1940 World Series... and pitch into his 40s where he finished with 198 wins.

Imagine if he STARTED as a pitcher! He might be in the Hall of Fame.


EPPA RIXEY

Rixey was yet another mediocre Phillies pitcher who found himself in Cincinnati. A member of the 1915 NL Champion Phillies and a 20 game winner the next year, Rixey didn't pitch well in Philly after returning from World War I.

He was dealt to the Reds after the 1920 season and he returned to form. He won 20 games in a hitters era three times and won more games than any NL Lefty until Warren Spahn came along.

The Reds all time wins leader was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1963.


THE BULLPEN

JOHN FRANCO

For a big chunk of the 1980s, the Dodgers were lacking a reliable closer. Well they can blame that on their lust for Rafael Landestoy.

The Dodgers wanted the .189 hitting outfielder so badly, they shipped off minor league lefty John Franco to get him.

So while the Dodgers suffered through the Steve Howe drug scandal and Tom Niedenfuer letting up huge homers, Franco became an All Star and won the Rolaids Relief award.

I bet when Jack Clark hit that shot off of Niedenfuer, Lasorda thought "Oh thank God we got Landestoy!"


RANDY MYERS

It's amazing when you realize the "Nasty Boys" only existed for two seasons. You'd think they'd keep that group together for a while.

Myers came over in the deal for John Franco. Franco seemed like a perfect fit for the Mets but Myers dominated in 1990. He made the All Star team, finished second in the league with 31 saves and did not let up a run in 8 2/3 post season innings. He was the Co-MVP of the ALCS and closed out the World Series in Oakland.

The next year they made him a starter.
Yeah, because that whole "Dominating World Series Winning Closer" thing just wasn't good enough.


PEDRO BORBON

OK, first of all let me get this out of the way. Pedro Borbon and Manny Mota were never teammates. So the voice that Ted Striker heard in his head saying "Pinch Hitting For Pedro Borbon... Manny Mota... Mota... Mota..." isn't 100% accurate.

But the scene is still awesome.

Borbon was part of the incredible relief corps of the Big Red Machine, regularly winning and saving games in double digits. And he saved game 3 of the 1975 NLCS in extra innings clinching the pennant.

I'm glad we got the Airplane confusion cleared up.


NORM CHARLTON

What? Was I not supposed to include the other Nasty Boy?
He went 12-9 in 1990 (including a 6 wins as a starter) and on June 24 ran through a stop sign as a base runner and bowled over Mike Scioscia to score a run... he got the save that day too.





CLAY CARROLL

With all due respect to Danny Graves, who is the career leader in saves for the Reds, Carroll pitched in bigger games.
What do I mean by bigger games?

Well he won Game 7 of the 1975 World Series, throwing two hitless innings in Fenway Park, retiring Fisk, Lynn, Petrocelli, walking Evans, getting Burleson to ground into a double play and getting Cooper to pop out.

Those were the 7th and 8th innings of a tied Game 7 of the World Series.

That's responding to pressure, which is what Carroll did in is seven plus seasons in Cincinnati. He finished in the top ten for Cy Young votes and made the All Star team two times as a Red. He saved as many as 37 games... but no game will match that Game 7, which was also his last as a Red.


THE BENCH


RESERVE INFIELDER
LONNY FREY

Baseball used to be a much more hazardous game. Case in point, before the 1940 World Series Lonny Frey dropped the lid of a water cooler on his foot.

Today it would a piece of plastic. Then it was made of metal.
And the Reds All Star second baseman and the stolen base leader of 1940 was reduced to a pinch hitter during the World Series.

He only played the field for one innings, and fielded the ground out to clinch the World Series.

But kids, please be careful of water coolers!!!


RESERVE INFIELDER
BRANDON PHILLIPS

When the Indians dealt Bartolo Colon to the Expos, they got quite a haul back for him. Grady Sizemore would become an All Star centerfielder. Cliff Lee would win a Cy Young.

But Brandon Phillips was a disappointment. He excelled in the minors but flopped in the majors, so they sent him down state to the Reds before the 2006 season.

The move worked as he won player of the week his first week with the Reds. He has put up big power numbers from the second base position and won a Gold Glove in 2008.

Just think if he did that in Cleveland... it would have been the best trade in their teams history!


RESERVE OUTFIELDER
CESAR GERONIMO

Geronimo was the only member of the Big Red Machine starting line up to never be named to an All Star team. But he was hardly a slacker. After coming to Cincinnati in the trade that also brought Joe Morgan, Jack Billingham, Denis Menke and Ed Armbrister, Geronimo became the best defensive centerfielder in the National League.

He won four straight Gold Gloves, brought speed to the bases and even batted .307 for the 1976 World Champs.

Plus he homered twice in the 1975 World Series, including one in game 6 which seemed like it put the game out of reach.

Any other team, he'd be a big star. It's tough to get attention among 5 MVPs, Bench, Morgan, Perez, Rose and Foster!


RESERVE OUTFIELDER
BILLY HATCHER

First of all let me just say I ALMOST had Ken Griffey Jr. here. I am as big a Griffey supporter as you will ever see. But his time in Cincinnati can not be described as anything but a gigantic let down.

It wasn't Junior's fault. It was a rash of never ending injuries and the collapse of a team that forced a one game playoff the year before he arrived and couldn't put together a winner with him.

And Hatcher, while not possessing 1/8th of Griffey's talent, he came up big when they needed him. He got 7 straight hits in the 1990 World Series and had the highest batting average for any regular player in a 4 game World Series when he batted .750.

That first number is a 7.

Before you Reds fan start to write to me about how stupid I am, let me ask you a question:

When you think about Billy Hatcher, what is your first emotion as a Reds fan? Probably nostalgia for the last World Series title.

When you think about Ken Griffey Jr's, what is your first emotion as a Reds fan? Probably frustration of what could have been.

That's why it's Hatcher.



RESERVE CATCHER
BO DIAZ

The late Bo Diaz had the second of his two All Star seasons with the 1987 Reds when he hit 15 homers and 82 RBI. And he could still catch a little.

On June 27th, he threw out Robbie Thompson stealing 4 times.

You'd think after the third time, they'd take the green light off of Robbie!



25TH MAN
JOHNNY VAN DER MEER

Apologies to Dolph Luque, who was a great pitcher. But how often does Luque's name come up these days? Van Der Meer's name is brought up EVERY SINGLE TIME someone throws a no hitter.

Van Der Meer was kicked around between the Dodgers and Braves organizations between 1933 and 1935. He made his big league debut in 1937 with the Reds and the next year got his revenge on the two teams that gave up on him.

On June 11th he threw a no hitter against the Braves. In his next start on June 15th, he threw a no hitter against the Dodgers.

No player had ever thrown back to back no hitters.
Nobody has done it since.

And every time someone throws a no hitter, we are reminded that nobody has done it other than Van Der Meer.

Did you know he threw another no hitter much later in the minor leagues when he was trying to hang on to his career?
I didn't before today.




WHO WOULD WIN A HEAD TO HEAD SERIES?

The home grown team doesn't have the best rotation, but neither did the Big Red Machine. I think any team with Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Tony Perez and Frank Robinson at its heart will find a way to win, even if they are staring down Tom Seaver and friends.

VERDICT: THE HOME GROWN TEAM WINS... YOU CAN BET ON IT. (Don't Pete!)


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NEXT ALL TIME HOME GROWN VS. ACQUIRED TEAM:
THE MILWAUKEE BREWERS


20 comments:

  1. You missed a few. Like Bid McPhee, the 19th century Hall of Famer who should be the 2B of the "home-grown" team; Dolf Luque, who should be in Hod Eller's place; John Franco, home-grown and the best closer Cincinnati has had; and Joe Nuxhall, Cincinnati institution who should have a bullpen spot.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have John Franco... he's on the acquired team

    I acknowledge Dolf Luque (he was also acquired) during my Van Der Meer entry

    You are right about Nuxhall

    I am not sure if Bid McPhee counts as Home Grown
    I guess so, because it was the same organization... the league name changed

    I'll find a spot for him.
    Poor Tommy Helms

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sully,

    This list brings back some good memories. I did a tour of recruiting in Cincy (1988-91) and moved back here after retiring. I was in a bar a block away from Riverfront and a friend came in an offered his tickets. I thought about it and then said "Nah, it's cold and rainy." Tom Browning pitched his perfect game that night. That 1990 season was really special. I'm still an Indians fan but since they're in different leagues I can enjoy the Reds as well (except during that stupid interleague stuff)

    You're dead on about Rose. There is no quantifying the possible effects of gambling on the decisions made by a manager.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm with Pete!
    Gimme 200 on the Reds.

    Great post as always. And if anyone knows their Reds it's Shawn.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well, thanks, dude. Of course, I'd forgotten that Franco and Luque were acquired. My defense is that Franco made his major league debut with the Reds, and I forgot that the Dodgers originally drafted him; and Luque had such a small debut elsewhere, that it slipped my mind.

    ReplyDelete
  6. L.A. is another place were baseball is bigger than football.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm not a Reds fan, but I absolutely love these lists.

    Just one problem with this one. I don't think that Pete Rose killed Bart Giamatti. We all dream of a league without Bud Selig, but I don't think you can pin that one on Pete!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh I think Bart wasn't taking good care of his body. But lots of people close to Bart said that the strain on the whole Rose case weighed heavily on him... and the fact that he dropped dead a week after banning Rose doesn't look good.

    I believe that he would have lived at least through the 1992 ousting of Fay Vincent.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous9:40 AM

    I quibble with your assertion that the 1919 Sox were superior. They may have been favorites, but position by position, they really weren't a superior team.

    ReplyDelete
  10. You and Edd Roush would get along well.

    If the White Sox weren't such a prohibitive favorite, then Arnold Rothstein would have little to make on fixing the series.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous4:52 PM

    I really enjoyed your list of teams but I think I would have put Danny Jackson in place of P. Derringer,he had one of the greatest years ever for a Reds starting pitcher. 23 & 6 and second in the Cy Young award behind Oral Hershiser & only because he set the record for consecutive scoreless innings pitched. Also I would replace N. Charlton with Wayne Granger.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous7:21 AM

    Christy Mathewson ??? Hello?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Mathewson pitched one game for the Reds

    One

    Now granted it was a complete game victory, but I am award people based on their body of work with the Reds.

    Seaver, Rijo, Derringer, Walters, Rixley and Van Der Meer all did more AS A RED than Mathewson did as a Red.

    Same can be said for Dolph Luque and Danny Jackson

    The fact of the matter, as great as Christy Mathewson was (and he was great) he has only one more game as a pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds than me.

    By the same token I am not putting Babe Ruth on the Braves team

    I DID put Ty Cobb on the A's but he had one great year with the A's

    ReplyDelete
  14. The Cincinnati Reds should be always competitive enough to keep pace with the others. I really like them; they’ve always been my favourite teams in MLB.
    Just read about them here:
    http://www.redsground.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous8:24 AM

    I don't buy your claim about 1919 either. The American League had been doing quite well in past World Series, plus Chicago was a far larger market than Cincinnati, which may have affected the odds, plus any possible manipulation.

    The AL at this point had won 8 of the last 9 series, with only the NL Braves breaking that streak. The NL would however win four of the next seven series after 1919.

    Furthermore, we all know that post-season series are somthing of a crapshoot. Anybody remember the 1987 Twins, who didn't even outscore their opposition during the regular season and then took out two superior teams in the play-offs.

    Even with that in mind, the Reds had a far better record that year than did the White Sox, as well as a far better pythagorean record and a better road record. Whatever the White Sox did or didn't do is on them; I don't see it as in any way diminishing the achievements of the 1919 Reds.

    The 1919 Reds were the best team that season period and their World Championship bears no asterisk from this fan.

    Far worse for the integrity of the game, in my opinion, was the 1982 pseudo-title by L.A., where the top two teams in the NL didn't even get to play in the play-offs.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Well I am not putting an asterix next to the Red title either... but it would have been nice to have a series where Cicotte et al were playing at full speed.

    The pseudo title was actually in 1981... the NLCS should have been Cincinnati vs. St. Louis... and neither were in the playoffs.

    That being said, both the Reds and St. Lou wound up winning a World Series later... and it was Montreal's lone October appearance.

    Doesn't make up for the fact that the 1981 post season was all f---ed up... but I'm glad Montreal got ONE post season.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
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