Opening Day Countdown: Quintessential Red #50

50 days left. The guys you think are on this list today, but there weren't too many choices overall.

5. Dontrelle Willis (-0.3 WAR)

Of course D-Train's making this list! Willis pitched for the Reds in 2011, where he went 1-6 in 13 starts, for an ERA of 5.00. Willis pitched a long time in the major leagues, is a former rookie of the year, has a World Series ring, and ended his career right here in Cincinnati.

4. Joey Hamilton (-0.3 WAR)

Gross. Given there's a better "Joey" and a better "Hamilton" on this year's team, it's hard to believe that this guy was actually the Opening Day starter in 2002, but it happened. He went 5-12 with a 5.90 ERA in his career with Cincinnati. Bleh.

3. Jonathan Broxton (0.6 WAR)

Broxy wore #50 when he came over from KC in 2012. He put up a 2.82 ERA in 25 appearances, taking a role as a setup man after spending most of his career as a closer. He changed to his normal #51 shortly after.

2. Brad "The Animal" Lesley (1.0 WAR)

I don't think you're allowed to reference Lesley without using his nickname. Either way, he pitched for the Reds from 1982 to 1984 as a reliever, known for his strong personality. In fact, if you talk to anyone who went to Reds Fantasy Camp, I think you hear more stories about Brad Lesley than almost anyone else.

Here's something nifty I found, though. Did you know that he was a media personality in Japan after his playing days were over? He was on Takeshi's Castle in Japan, which is the show that got re-dubbed in the US as "Most Extreme Elimination Challenge" What a guy.

Unfortunately, this story doesn't necessarily have a happy ending. Lesley had health problems later on in his life, and died of kidney failure last year. He was only 54.

1. Kent Mercker (2.3 WAR)

Speaking of guys with big personalities, the top man on our list is right up there with the best of them. Despite spending most of his career with Atlanta, Mercker spent 5 years with the Reds (4 of them wearing #50). From Dublin, OH, Mercker is a local boy, and still makes his home in the area.

Another guy who's probably destined for a broadcast booth, Mercker has already done a few games with the local yokels.

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