Opening Day Countdown: Quintessential Red #30

Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday was #30, so here we are. We'll have #29 in the morning tomorrow, and we'll be caught up with #28 in the afternoon. Slacking.

5. Hersh "Buster" Freeman (6.0 WAR)

Apologies to Norris Hopper, but our 5th member of the list contributed 6 bWAR over 4 seasons. Freeman was a reliever for the Reds during the Redlegs era, pitching from 1955 to 1958. His best year was 1956, where he went 14-5 with a 3.40 ERA and led the league in games finished. Right on, Buster.

4. Ken Griffey, Jr. (12.3 WAR)

As we all know, Junya split his time between two numbers pretty equally during his time in Cincinnati, so he'll likely make two lists. His time wearing #30 were his better years here, but he's not even the best player named Ken Griffey to wear the number. Still though, the sweetest swing in baseball, who won't rank well here because he split numbers.

3. Joey Jay (12.9 WAR)

Jay is another member of that vaunted '61 rotation, and that was his best season of his 6 in Cincinnati. He made the All-Star team that year, and went 21-10 with a 3.53 ERA in his first year in Cincy. He stuck around and was above average for his time here, and is now a Reds hall of famer.

2. Paul Derringer (13.9 WAR)

Derringer is second on this list, despite wearing #30 for his last 4 seasons in Cincinnati. He wore other numbers for other years, including 3 years where the team didn't even have numbers yet. Derringer was a staple of the 1930's Reds teams, and made 6 All-Star teams in his tenure here.

1. Ken Griffey, Sr. (25.4 WAR)

Man, if there ever was a "quintessential Red", it'd be Sr., wouldn't it? Griffey played for the Reds from 1973 to 1990, with 12 of those seasons coming with the Reds. He had stops in New York and Atlanta in that time, and of course, went on to play with his kid in Seattle to close out his career. He made 3 All-Star teams, with 1976 being his best year, in my opinion. He slashed an insane .336/.401/.450 that year, stole 34 bases, and finished 8th in the MVP voting.

At this point, he's not hard to find around the city, and (I believe) still has some pull with the team.


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