The Greatest Reds: #18 - #17

18. Eric Davis

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
1984-91, 1996 CF, LF 21 19 15
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 1987 1986, 1987, 1989
85% 15% 0%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
Silver Slugger – 1987, 1989
Gold Glove – 1987, 1988, 1989
All Star – 1987, 1989
N/A

-7th in career OPS+
-8th in career home runs
-8th in career stolen bases
-19th in career runs
-19th in career RBI

Redsbatting0019_medium
via www.hittingfromtheheart.com


One of Bill James’s many "junk stats" is his power-speed creation, which is simply the geometric mean of a player’s home runs and stolen bases (2 x (HR x SB) / (HR + SB)). In terms of a player’s value, it doesn’t mean much, but it perhaps points to the well-roundedness of a player’s athletic skills. Eric Davis owns the two highest power-speed seasons in Reds history by virtue of his 1986 season in which he hit 27 home runs and stole 80 bases, and his follow-up 1987 masterpiece, hitting 37 dingers to pair with the 50 stolen bases. The kicker, and of course the underlying dark drama to any Eric Davis narrative, is that he only played in 132 and 129 games in those two respective seasons. In fact, the most games Davis ever appeared in was 135 (1988). Considering Davis played in just under 80% of his team’s games in 1987, the mind, it boggles: Davis still had that 37/50 season, finishing 4th in the NL in both categories, as well as finishing 7th in walks (84), 8th in RBI (100), and 3rd in runs scored (120!). Despite having what was for him a down season in 1990 (24 HR, 21 SB, 123 OPS+), Davis set the tone for the World Series by hitting a 2-run home run in the first inning off Dave Stewart. A failed Game 4 dive that resulted in a lacerated kidney set the tone for the rest of Davis’s career, which saw him traded to Los Angeles after 1991 (for Tim Belcher and John Wetteland, who was traded for perennial third baseman of the future Willie Greene), a triumphant return to Cincinnati in 1996 (139 OPS+), as well as a masterful victory over cancer (151 OPS+ for Baltimore in 1998).

17. Noodles Hahn

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
1899-1905 SP 23 15 11
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 1902 1899, 1901, 1902
0% 0% 100%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
N/A Strikeouts – 1899, 1900, 1901
Shutouts – 1900
Strikeout / Walk Ratio – 1901
Innings Pitched – 1901
Complete Games – 1901
Walks Per Inning – 1904

-2nd in career complete games
-3rd in career WHIP
-4th in career ERA+
-10th in career wins
-13th in career strikeouts

200px-noodles_hahn_medium
via upload.wikimedia.org


Nearly all of Hahn’s short career was spent with the Reds (about 98% of his total innings), and his final pitch was thrown before his 28th birthday, but he had about six consecutive seasons in which he was a pretty special pitcher. Bursting on to the major league scene a couple weeks before his 20th birthday, Hahn went on to lead the National League in strikeouts (145) and finish 4th in ERA+ (146) in that inaugural season. The next two years saw Hahn’s load increase (up to a peak of 375 innings in 1901), but his quality decline (ERA+’s of 112 and 118). So as a 3-year veteran at the age of 22, Hahn had already logged almost 1000 innings, was averaging 20 wins a year, and had led the league in strikeouts every season of his career. His ERA+ to that point was a very respectable 124. Interestingly, over the next three years his innings went down (a little over 900 for the 3-year span), his strikeouts went down quite a bit, and he continued to average 20 victories per annum. His ERA over that 2nd time-frame was a ridiculous 2.11 (150 ERA+) and he finished in the top 4 in the NL in ERA+ each of those years. His best season of 1902 had numbers as follows: 23-12, 1.77 ERA (170 ERA+), 321 innings. He finished 5th that year in WHIP, 4th in innings pitched, 2nd in ERA+, and 6th in strikeouts. Had the award existed at the time, however, Hahn would have been a long shot to win a Cy Young award for his peak year, due to Jack Taylor’s sublime 202 ERA+ in about as many innings.

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