The Greatest Reds: #80 - #76

80. Germany Smith

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
1891-1896 SS 81 91 66
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 1892 Never
37% 63% 0%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
N/A N/A

-43rd in career triples
-45th in career RBI
-45th in career stolen bases
-48th in career singles
-48th in career at-bats

Generally regarded as the best defensive shortstop of his era, Smith has the highest percentage of value driven by defense of anyone on the list. Indeed his best season (1892), in which he only .239 en route to an OPS+ of 92, was flanked by OPS+ years of 50 and 61. Despite not being much of a hitter, he routinely beat average SS fielding percentages by 20-30 percentage points, while also displaying more range than average. Nearing the end of his career, he was shrewdly traded for Tommy Corcoran, who then went on to man the same position for the better part of a decade.

79. Don Gullett

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
1970-1976 SP, RP 69 99 77
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 1974 Never
0% 0% 100%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
N/A W-L Percentage – 1971, 1975

-1st in career W-L percentage
-7th in career hits per inning
-12th in career WHIP
-18th in career strikeouts
-22nd in career ERA

At the conclusion of the 1974 season, Don Gullett was 23 years old, already with 65 career wins under his belt, but had yet to win a postseason game—despite his playoff involvement in three of his first five seasons. Still, he was a member of an elite team, and had come off a blistering season in which he threw 243 innings while finishing 5th in the NL in wins, 8th in strikeouts, and 4th in hits per inning. The remainder of Gullett’s career from that point forward is…bittersweet. From 1975 until the time of his last MLB pitch in 1978, Gullett posted a 44-13 record, gained four additional wins in postseason appearances, and never threw more than 160 innings in a season. For his troubles, Gullett picked up four consecutive World Champion rings (two with the Reds).

78. Tommy Corcoran

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
1897-1906 SS 51 109 117
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 1898 Never
41% 59% 0%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
N/A N/A

-13th in career triples
-14th in career stolen bases
-20th in career RBI
-20th in career hits
-23rd in career runs scored

As noted in Germany Smith’s profile, Corcoran was acquired by the Reds via trade—a trade which, essentially, was a shortstop for a shortstop (the Reds also threw in cash and a pitcher who never amounted to much). The Reds clearly "won" the deal—Smith was basically done, and Corcoran continued Smith’s legacy of a good-glove, no-hit player at shortstop for the next decade. These "challenge" trades consisting of like players at common positions seem to have been much more frequent in the older days, certainly before the advent of free agency. In his playing time with the Reds, Corcoran never put up an OPS+ above 81, but he does still hold the ML record for most assists in a 9-inning game (14).

77. Tom Seaver

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
1977-1982 SP 89 76 61
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 1981 Never
0% 0% 100%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
Inducted to Hall of Fame – 1992
All Star – 1977, 1978, 1981
WHIP – 1977
Shutouts – 1977, 1979
K/BB Ratio – 1977
Hits Per Inning – 1977
W-L Percentage – 1979, 1981
Wins – 1981

-1st in single season WHIP (1977)
-3rd in career hits per inning
-6th in career WHIP
-8th in career W-L percentage
-19th in career strikeouts

The Reds rather famously traded for Tom Seaver on June 15, 1977 in an effort to catch the division-leading Dodgers. Three days later, Seaver threw a complete game shutout against the Expos, and the Reds sat 6.5 games behind first place—sitting on a seven game win streak and having shaved 3.5 games off the division lead in just two weeks. Although momentum, and a new ace, were on the Reds’ side, they never got any closer to catching Los Angeles that season, although for that remainder of the 1977 season, Seaver went 14-3 with an ERA+ of 169. In 1981, he tore through the league with a 14-2 record and 140 ERA+ (thanks, Bowie). Of note, and perhaps speaking to Seaver’s pitching intelligence, Seaver threw 7.7 strikeouts for every 9 innings pitched through the 1978 season (with a rate of 7.8 K/9 in 1978). Thereafter, something clearly was missing with respect to his arm; he stopped amassing innings in the same way, and his highest single-season K/9 rate thereafter was 5.5. Nonetheless, he still managed to turn in quality seasons, finishing 4th in the 1979 Cy Young voting, and 2nd in 1981.

76. Hal Morris

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
1990-97, 1999-2000 1B 60 99 86
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 1996 Never
86% 14% 0%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
N/A N/A

-13th in career batting average
-18th in career doubles
-28th in career hits
-30th in career RBI
-37th in career runs scored

A good-hitting first baseman who never drove in more than 80 runs or hit more than 16 home runs in a season, Morris was the prototypical spray hitter, known for shuffling his feet as the pitch arrived. His best hitting seasons, rate-wise, came at the beginning of his career, but his rookie season in 1990 didn’t happen until Morris was 25 years old. Alternate universes may exist where Morris wasn’t stuck behind an in-his-prime Don Mattingly, but I prefer the one where the Reds benefited from the Yankees’ surplus.

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