The Cincinnati Reds lineup is one that once again features a fairly controversial hitter. For some, Pete Rose is the all time hit king but for others, he was a gamling man that should never be allowed into the Hall. They feature a few speedsters throughout the lineup and some big names at catcher and first base. However, they have a Hall of Fame snub at the center field spot simply because he played in the wrong era. On a side note, Ken Griffey Jr.’s name is the one big omission from the Cincinnati lineup though you’ll surely see him in Seattle’s.
1. Joe Morgan, 2B (L)
2. Barry Larkin, SS (R)
3. Pete Rose, LF (S)
4. Frank Robinson, RF (R)
5. Vada Pinson, CF (L)
6. Johnny Bench, C (R)
7. Tony Perez, 3B (R)
8. Joey Votto, 1B (L)
9. Noodles Hahn, P (L)
Manager: Bill McKechnie
1967-83: 1,091 Runs, 389 HR, 1,376 RBI, 68 SB, .267 BA/.342 OBP/.476 SLG
The starting catcher for the Reds is none other than the Hall of Famer, Johnny Bench. While never a consistent hitter to get on base, Bench was one of the best defensive catchers the game has ever seen. He broke out in 1968, winning the Rookie of the Year Award along with an All Star and Gold Glove. He would go one to repeat those performances and be selected to 13 straight All Star Games and win 10 straight Gold Gloves. While he’s not someone likely to hit very high up in the lineup or provide a ton of clutch hits, Bench provided a mix of great defensive and offensive ability that’s rarely ever seen at his position.
Honorable Mentions: Ernie Lombardi
2007-19: 990 Runs, 281 HR, 936 RBI, 78 SB, .307 BA/.422 OBP/.521 SLG
Starting off the infield will be current Red, Joey Votto. The face of the franchise and one of the funnest players to watch in the game, Votto is known for his great plate discipline and eye at the plate. While his power numbers have begun to fade in recent years, he still has great contact skills and remains an effective piece of their lineup. The average isn’t what it used to be this year but in his career, the batting average and walks have always kept his numbers up. He’s likely entering the dawn of his career but even so, will be remembered as Cincinnati’s best player of this decade.
Honorable Mentions: Ted Kluszewski, Frank McCormick, John Reilly
1972-79: 816 Runs, 152 HR, 612 RBI, 406 SB, .288 BA/.415 OBP/.415 SLG
While he did start his career in Houston and played for 5 different teams during his career, Joe Morgan will be best remembered for his time with Cincinnati. The Hall of Fame second baseman was one of the quickest players in the team’s history and won back to back MVPs in 1975 and 1976. His walk rate was always good and during his time in CIncinnati, he became a lethal base stealer. While he never led the league in steals, it’s safe to say 50 per season is pretty impressive. He’ll pair along with fellow middle infielder, Barry Larkin, atop the lineup.
Honorable Mentions: Bid McPhee, Brandon Phillips, Lonny Frey
1986-04: 1,329 Runs, 198 HR, 960 RBI, 379 SB, .295 BA/.371 OBP/.444 SLG
Barry Larkin manned the shortstop position for the Reds for 20 years until his retirement from the game at the age of 40. He was featured a great combination of hitting and defensive ability at the position that would eventually net him 12 All Star appearances over his career. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012, Larkin’s path to the majors was through his speed and stealing ability. For that reason and his ability to get on base by any means, Larkin is the perfect table setter for the rest of the lineup.
Honorable Mentions: Roy McMillian, Germany Smith
1964-76: 936 Runs, 287 HR, 1,192 RBI, 39 SB, .283 BA/.346 OBP/.474 SLG
While Tony Perez didn’t do too much in his first few years in the league, he took off in 1967 and became one of the biggest contributors of the famed Big Red Machine. He acted as the RBI man of those teams and was a great compliment behind Pete Rose and Johnny Bench. He’ll slot right back behind them in this lineup and should see many opportunities to knock in some runs. While he often got the back seat to some of his other star teammates, he remained an integral part of the Reds roster and looks to fill a similar role here.
Honorable Mentions: Heinie Groh, Dave Concepcion
1963-78, 84-86: 1,741 Runs, 152 HR, 1,036 RBI, 146 SB, .307 BA/.379 OBP/.425 SLG
One of the most interesting stories in baseball, Pete Rose is the pick here at left field. Rose spent two separate stints with the Reds and according to him and some others, hold to record for most hits in MLB history. However, he was supposedly involved in gambling on games and neve quite made it to Cooperstown. On the field, Rose was one of the best contact hitting machines the game had ever seen. He was known for his tough playing style and there’s many iconic photos of him flying around the basepaths. There’s no doubt he deserves a spot in the Hall due to his pedigree but his reputation will be forever tarnished.
Honorable Mentions: George Foster, Adam Dunn
1958-68: 978 Runs, 186 HR, 814 RBI, 221 SB, .297 BA/.341 OBP/.469 SLG
One of the lesser known names in the lineup is center fielder, Vada Pinson. He doesn’t have the same pedigree as his fellow teammates but was still a 4 time All Star and Gold Glove Award winner. Most known for his speed, Pinson was a valuable bat in the lineup during the Reds before the great Reds era. However, he carried great stats and likely would’ve been a Hall of Famer had he been placed in a different era. He was a player who could do it all but alongside outfield teammates like Rose and Robinson, didn’t stand much of a chance.
Honorable Mentions: Edd Roush, Eric Davis
1956-65: 1,043 Runs, 324 HR, 1,009 RBI, 161 SB, .303 BA/.389 OBP/.554 SLG
Frank Robinson began his historic career with Cincinnati before becoming a bigger star with the Orioles. However, Brooks Robinson occupies the Baltimore starting job and thus, this Robinson will belong to the Reds. While never a great fielder with the Reds, Robinson held his own patrolling both corner outfield spots and even some infield. He’s a great bat in the lineup and should provide plenty of power in the middle of the lineup. With a career 586 home runs, there’s no doubt he’ll prove lethal hitting behind Rose.
Honorable Mentions: Ken Griffey, Reggie Sanders
1899-05: 127-92 Record, 2.52 ERA, 4.1 K/9, 1.7 BB/9
While it’s almost wise to pick a Hall of Famer as the team’s starting pitcher, Cincinnati should opt for a different route here. Noodles Hahn played only 7 years with the Reds and one with the Yankees before retiring at the age of just 28. During his time in the league, he was known as a strikeout pitcher who could tie up opposing hitters with one of the best fastballs at the time. However, he dealt with arm troubles later in his career that eventually cut it short. If he was only in modern times, there likely would’ve been a diagnosis that could’ve enabled Hahn to continue pitching and possibly reach the Hall of Fame.
Honorable Mentions: Eppa Rixey, Bucky Walters, Dolf Luque
While Sparky Anderson is likely the best manager the Reds ever had, he’s also the manager for Detroit which makes him ineligible for this spot. Taking the helm as Cincinnati’s manager will be fellow Hall of Famer Bill Mckechnie. He emphasised strong pitching and defense in his gameplan. He led them to their first ever 100 win season in franchise history as well as their first of four World Series titles in 1940.
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