The Greatest Reds: #75 - #71

75. Johnny Edwards

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
1961-1967 C 85 72 66
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 1963 Never
49% 51% 0%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
Gold Glove – 1963, 1964
All Star – 1963, 1964, 1965
N/A

-15th in career intentional walks
-29th in career sacrifice flies
-44th in career AB/HR ratio
-49th in career HR

There are three things that come to mind in seeking to praise Johnny Edwards: 1) he’s one of the top 5 major league ballplayers to come out of The Ohio State University; 2) at his peak, Edwards combined decent durability, gold glove defense behind the plate, and a bat that ranked roughly around league average; and 3) he had the incredibly good sense to have back-to-back poor seasons as Johnny Bench was breaking through to the big leagues. Upon the 2nd poor season in 1967, Edwards was traded to the Cardinals in exchange for two guys who would become big-league managers (Pat Corrales and Jimy Williams).

74. Dave Parker

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
1984-1987 RF 93 42 66
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 1985 1985
83% 17% 0%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
Silver Slugger – 1985, 1986
All Star – 1985, 1986
RBI – 1985
Total Bases – 1985, 1986
Extra Base Hits – 1985
Doubles – 1985
Intentional Walks - 1985

-6th in single season total bases (1985)
-17th in career slugging percentage
-21st in career home runs
-32nd in career OPS
-33rd in career RBI

The Cobra. In 1985, the Reds employed a man who was, more or less, the baddest man on the planet. Doc Gooden was perhaps more intimidating, Don Mattingly was perhaps a better hitter, Rickey Henderson a better player, but Parker had the Thing and the respect that went with it. Parker finished the 1985 season with a .312 batting average (5th in NL), 42 doubles (1st), 34 home runs (2nd), 125 RBI (1st), 22 intentional walks (1st) and an OPS+ of 149 (5th)…all to go with one of the most powerful arms in the game. After the 1987 season, Parker was traded to the A’s for Jose Rijo. Parker is the highest ranking Red acquired via free agency.

73. Paul O'Neill

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
1985-1992 RF, LF 80 79 61
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 1991 Never
82% 18% 0%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
All Star – 1991 N/A

-25th in career HR
-37th in career walks
-40th in career RBI
-41st in career doubles
-47th in career slugging percentage

O’Neill had an unusual career, in that his five best seasons—as measured by OPS+--all happened after he turned 30…which meant they all happened as a member of the Yankees. O’Neill was an adequate right-fielder, with his best season (with Cincy) in 1991 showing stats of 256/346/481, including a career high in home runs (28), and 64 extra-base hits, which was good for 5th in the NL. One mediocre year later, he was sent to New York to become a perpetual .300 hitter, 100-RBI threat, marginal MVP candidate, and huge fan favorite. His transaction chain is pretty interesting: O’Neill was traded for Roberto Kelly, who was eventually traded for Deion Sanders, who was eventually part of a package traded for a group which included Dave Burba, who was eventually traded for Sean Casey.

72. Harry Steinfeldt

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
1898-1905 3B, 2B 56 95 78
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 1903 Never
65% 35% 0%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
N/A Doubles – 1903

-19th in career triples
-33rd in career doubles
-36th in career RBI
-42nd in career hits
-43rd in career stolen bases

Bill James tells us that in the old days, third basemen were further to the more difficult end of the defensive spectrum, perhaps akin to where the 2nd base position is today. Given that, with Steinfeldt’s above-average glove and roughly average bat, the resulting ranking of his 7-year career as the primary Reds third baseman around the turn of the 20th century makes some sense. In his best year with the Reds, Steinfeldt hit 312/386/481, good for a 136 OPS+…8th best in the NL that year. Steinfeldt was traded to the Cubs prior to the 1906 season, where he promptly turned in a season in which he led the NL in hits and RBI. Also, while not a key component, Steinfeldt was the starting 3rd baseman on the last Cubs team ever to win a World Series, over 100 years ago.

71. Cesar Geronimo

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
1972-1980 CF, RF 65 85 73
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 1976 Never
71% 29% 0%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
Gold Glove – 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977 N/A

-8th in career intentional walks
-35th in career walks
-36th in career triples
-40th in career doubles
-41st in career hits

The most unrecognized member of the Big Red Machine starting eight still put together a 15-year career. Part of the key trade that also brought Joe Morgan to Cincinnati from Houston, Geronimo went almost overnight from being a little-used backup outfielder to the starting centerfielder for the best team in the league. One gets the sense that the Reds’ management understood what Geronimo was and what he wasn’t…and decided that what he was fit perfectly into the overall structure of the team. And after giving him regular playing time, Geronimo made two key improvements to his offensive game: he learned how to take more walks (even after accounting for the high number of intentional walks he garnered as the #8 hitter), and he stole more bases. In fact, in 1976—en route to a 3rd consecutive Gold Glove award—Geronimo had a truly career year: a .307 batting average, 56 walks, 24 doubles, 11 triples, 22 steals (while being caught only 5 times), and an OPS+ of 125. Geronimo was one of the surprise stars of the 1975 series, hitting .280 with two home runs.

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