The Greatest Reds: #60 - #56

60. Bubbles Hargrave

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
1921-1928 C 51 69 64
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 1923 Never
73% 27% 0%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
N/A Hit By Pitch – 1923
Batting Average – 1926

-4th in career batting average
-11th in career OPS
-23rd in career triples
-42nd in career doubles
-50th in career RBI

After several years split between major and minor league time as a very weak-hitting catcher, the light turned on as a 26-year-old playing for St. Paul of the American Association. Hargrave proved the worth of his bat there in two consecutive seasons and the Reds snapped him up, and continued his path towards becoming a great-hitting catcher, including two seasons just around a 150 OPS+. Over his eight seasons with the Reds, Hargrave averaged 96 games played, with a 122 OPS+.

59. Ken Raffensberger

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
1947-1954 SP, RP 56 64 49
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 1952 1949
0% 0% 100%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
N/A Shutouts – 1949, 1952
Games Started – 1949
Walks Per Inning – 1950, 1951
WHIP – 1951

-4th in career shutouts
-7th in career walks per inning
-22nd in career innings pitched
-23rd in career wins
-33rd in career strikeouts

In June of 1947, the Phillies and Reds swapped a pair of backup catchers nearing the end of their careers. And the Phils threw in Raffensberger—at that point a 29-year-old journeyman, junkballing pitcher who had a career ERA that was around league average, but a W-L record that was awful—consistent with that of his team. In the ’47 season, Raffensberger had a dreadful first half, so he was shipped off…and became a workhorse #1 pitcher for a team that was also terrible (Raffensberger was a full-time Red in six full seasons…and the Reds never once won as many as 70 games in that stretch). A control pitcher who routinely finished in the top ten in innings pitched, Raffensberger barely topped 500 strikeouts in almost 1500 innings with the Reds. He finished 93 of the 205 games he started as a Red, and despite a 112 ERA+ in Cincy, only had a record of 89-99.

58. Bobby Tolan

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
1969-70, 1972-73 CF 85 22 55
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 1970 Never
78% 22% 0%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
Hutch Award – 1972 Stolen Bases – 1970

-9th in single season hit by pitch (1969)
-25th in career sacrifice flies
-30th in career stolen bases
-44th in career batting average
-48th in career home runs

After shrewdly trading Vada Pinson for Tolan and Wayne Granger prior to the 1969 season, the Reds had a clear superstar on their hands: a defensive hawk who put up OPS+ seasons of 124 and 126 in 1969 and 1970, respectively—Tolan’s age 23 and 24 years. A Brock2 projection after the 1970 season would have shown rough career estimates of 250 HR, 2700 hits, and 1400 runs scored. Instead, Tolan blew out his achilles tendon in that offseason playing basketball and missed all of 1971. While he came back for a more-than-respectable 1972 season, his ’73 was awful, and his career with the Reds was done—hastened by his own squabbles with management. We’ll never truly know if his career would have looked considerably different had he not missed that crucial age-25 season. We do know that his career was "supposed" to turn out better than 86 HR, 1121 hits, and 572 runs.

57. Arlie Latham

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
1890-1895 3B 67 50 45
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 1891 1891
72% 28% 0%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
N/A N/A

-5th in career stolen bases
-7th in single season runs scored (1894)
-25th in career runs scored
-29th in career on-base percentage
-36th in career walks

Latham was a volatile personality, known for setting lit firecrackers on the field and letting ground balls run past him as he stood still without making an attempt to catch them. Fortunately for the Reds, Latham was also known for running wild on the bases, totaling 337 steals in just 696 games with Cincy, including a career high of 87 in 1891. That year, despite his pedestrian batting average of .272, Latham finished 9th in the NL in walks—leading to a team high 119 runs scored and an OPS+ of 120.

56. Bob Purkey

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
1958-1964 SP 55 64 49
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 1962 Never
0% 0% 100%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
All Star – 1958, 1961 (2), 1962 (2) W-L Percentage – 1962

-7th in single season W-L percentage (1962)
-10th in career walks per inning
-17th in career wins
-22nd in career strikeouts
-48th in career ERA

A knuckleballer with excellent control, Purkey was a consistent innings-eater (from 1958 to 1962, Purkey averaged over 250 innings per year), who was good enough to be a solid contributor to a pennant winner (#3 starter in 1961), and had one great season in him (1962: 23-5, 288.1 IP, 2.81 ERA, 143 ERA+, 64 BB, 141 K) that netted him a 3rd place finish in the ML Cy Young Award voting (behind some scrub named "Drysdale"). While Purkey was involved with two trades involving the Reds, the timing for Cincy was impeccable (he managed 103 of his 129 career victories with the club).

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