Opening Day Countdown: Quintessential Red #47

Old school today!

5. Scott Scudder (0.5 WAR)

Scudder was known as a key long reliever/spot starter for the Reds from 1989 to 1991, chalking up 10 starts for the last World Series winner along the way. He has a ring, he's on the list. He was pretty average as a player, but outside of the Nasty Boys he's one of the first guys you remember from those bullpens.

4. Frank Williams (2.9 WAR)

Frank Williams came right before Scudder, and was even better as a shutdown reliever for those 1987 and 1988 teams. He had his best season as a Red in 1987, where he went 4-0 with a 2.30 ERA in 87 (!) appearances. The Reds acquired him in early 1987 from San Francisco... trivia question for today: what outfielder did the Reds trade for him?

3. Tom Hume (5.6 WAR)

Tom Hume pitched for the Reds from 1977 to 1985, with 388 of his 436 appearances coming in the bullpen. He was as reliable as any longtime Reds reliever in the 80's, with 4 straight seasons of an ERA under 3.5. He only made one All-Star team in his career, where he represented the Reds along with Mario Soto in 1982. He's kind of a local guy, as he was born here, but grew up in Florida. At this point, he's best known for his time in the mid 90's to the mid 00's as the Reds' bullpen coach.

2. Johnny Cueto (15.5 WAR)

Admit it, you thought he was going to win. JC has been great since he got to the big leagues, and has a chance to take over this spot with a couple more great seasons. He's been pitching for the Reds since 2008, which is what I'd like to reminisce a bit on in this space. His first start is still the one that I'll remember most for him, as it was so completely out of nowhere. If you don't remember, he pitched 7 innings of 1-run ball and struck out 10 Diamondbacks in his big league debut. The game thread was pretty excited, and the post game recap by FVA was pretty optimistic too. Those were the days.

1. Ewell Blackwell (26.2 WAR)

The answer to every trivia question during Reds broadcasts, "The Whip" was an absolute beast for a long time, making his debut in 1942, and pitching for the Reds until 1952. He was one of the best pitchers in baseball in his prime, making 6 straight All-Star teams from '46 to '51. His best season was probably 1947, where he went 22-8 with a 2.47 ERA, with a league leading 193 strikeouts (!) in 273 innings (!!!!!). He finished 2nd in the MVP voting.

He left the Reds in 1952, where he was traded for 4 players.

The Reds organization is known for producing hitters, but Ewell Blackwell is a major exception to that rule. There are a few on the team who could change this, but for right now, there aren't too many Reds who I can think of who were as dominant in a Reds uniform as Blackwell was in his era. "The Whip" passed away in 1996.

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