Opening Day Countdown: Quintessential Red #41

41 days left. (Well, 40, but I didn't have time to do this yesterday. What are you gonna do, right? We'll be caught up tomorrow afternoon.)

5. Chris Reitsma (2.2 WAR)

Fitting that the before the Reds only arbitration hearing, we're reminded of the last time the Reds went to arbitration, with Canadian right-hander Chris Reitsma. He broke in as a starter, but had the vast majority of his success as a reliever.

4. Jeff Shaw (9.3 WAR)

Shaw pitched for the Reds from '96 to '98, and was arguably in the prime of his career. He started closing in '97, and led the league in saves in his first season as a closer. He saved even more games the next year, and took his value up enough to the point where the Reds traded him for Paul Konerko. Nice job, Reds.

3. Elmer Riddle (10.3 WAR)

Elmer Riddle was a stellar starting pitcher for the Reds from 1939 to 1947, but he only wore #41 until '44. Still, it included his best years, including a World Series ring in '40. His best year was '41, where he went 19-4 with a league leading 2.24 ERA in 33 starts.

2. Tom Seaver (18.6 WAR)

Tom Terrific is the first hall-of-famer to make our tally, who pitched for the Reds from '77 to '82. Seaver made his name with the Mets, of course, and was one of the best pitchers in baseball when he was traded to the '77 Reds. The Reds parted with some talent to get Seaver, and he was very good as a Red as well. Starting at age 32, he made 2 All-Star teams as a Red.

1. Joe Nuxhall (11.8 WAR)

Who else? Joe Nuxhall is the obvious answer here, even with guys like Seaver on the list. Nuxhall pitched for the Reds from 1944 to 1966 (with stops like KC, LA, and high school on his journey to the big leagues).  Nuxy pitched for the Reds in part of 15 seasons, wearing #39 for a lot of them, but is remembered as #41.

Obviously, at this point many of us know him from our homes growing up. Nuxy was like part of the family to many Reds fans, with him on the radio night after night with his best friend Marty. That's how I remember Joe.

Fitting that yesterday (the actual #41 day), it was 70 years to the day since Nuxy became the youngest ever big league player at age 15. Here's to you, Nuxy.

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