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The Greatest Reds: #65 - #61

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65. Chris Sabo

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
1988-93, 1996 3B 63 50 65
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 1990 Never
76% 24% 0%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
Rookie of Year – 1988
All Star – 1988, 1990, 1991
N/A

-22nd in career home runs
-22nd in career doubles
-39th in career stolen bases
-43rd in career runs scored
-46th in career hits

Upon reaching the major leagues as a 26-year-old in 1988, the intense Sabo hacked and hustled his way into the hearts of the Cincinnati fans, combining 40 doubles with 46 steals en route to winning Rookie of the Year honors. While Sabo had some trouble staying healthy and on the field, he did put together pretty good seasons in 1990-91, including a 25-25 season in 1990 which he added to by destroying A’s pitching in the World Series (9 for 16, 2 HR, 5 RBI). The injury bug struck again in 1992, and Sabo’s career dwindled from that point forward.

64. Jim O'Toole

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
1958-1966 SP 67 66 53
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 1961 Never
0% 0% 100%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
All Star – 1963 N/A

-8th in career strikeouts
-12th in career games started
-19th in career K/BB ratio
-21st in career wins
-41st in career hits per inning

In 1961, Jim O’Toole was the pitching ace of the pennant-winning Reds, winning 19 games, and pacing the team with 252.2 innings and a 3.10 ERA. Although the Reds were outclassed in the World Series by the Yankees, the Reds fan of the day must have been optimistic about the team’s outlook: All five of the starting pitchers had ERA+’s over 100, and four of the five had yet to reach 29 years of age. Plus, a young Jim Maloney was showing considerable promise as a part-time starter. On offense, four out of the team’s best five hitters were 27 or younger; the league’s best player (Frank Robinson) was still just 25. To be sure, the Reds put together a solid string of seasons: 1962 saw the league jump to a 162-game schedule, and the Reds’ win totals in the four successive seasons were 98, 86, 92, and 89. These were still the days of one team from each league reaching the post-season, however, and the Reds were never the best team in the league—one wonders how differently the perception of that era would be…or how the Big Red Machine era might have differed, had the Reds won a couple more pennants during that stretch.

63. Dick Hoblitzel

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
1908-1914 1B 69 66 48
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 1909 Never
91% 9% 0%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
N/A At-Bats – 1910, 1911

-4th in career sacrifice hits
-16th in career triples
-35th in career stolen bases
-37th in career hits
-41st in career RBI

A "do a little bit of everything" type of player, Hoblitzel rarely topped league leaderboards, but frequently found his way somewhere on league top-10 lists in several hitting categories (especially triples, RBI, and sacrifice hits), but also posted respectable totals in walks and steals, as well. His best season came at age 20, in 1909, in which he hit over .300 for the only time in his career (.308/.364/.418 – 144 OPS+). Most other seasons, he hovered around his career OPS+ mark of 111. Hoblitzel had an unusual career path in which he amassed almost 5400 plate appearances across 11 seasons, but was still finished before his 30th birthday.

62. Ron Oester

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
1978-1990 2B, SS 44 79 73
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 1985 Never
58% 42% 0%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
Hutch Award – 1988 N/A

-6th in career intentional walks
-13th in career games played
-24th in career hits
-24th in career doubles
-40th in career runs scored

It’s probably not fair, because Oester was essentially the quintessential average 2nd baseman (career OPS+ of 87, average defense), and as such was not without value, but in my mind he’ll always be the "face" of those awful 1982-83 teams…which means bad thoughts. From 1981-1986, Oester was basically an every day player, and while he had his moments (.295 batting average, 98 OPS+ in 1985), he never posted a slugging percentage north of .400. He lost a full year from July 1987 to July 1988 to a knee injury, came back to be the starting 2nd baseman in 1989, and then ended his career in 1990 as Mariano Duncan’s caddy. In his one at-bat during the 1990 World Series, Oester drove in a run with a single off Bob Welch.

61. Grady Hatton

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
1946-1954 3B, 2B 54 76 57
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 1947 Never
75% 25% 0%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
All Star – 1952 N/A

-14th in career walks
-32nd in career home runs
-35th in career RBI
-41st in career runs scored
-44th in career hits

Hatton’s promising start to his career (128 OPS+ in 507 PA as a 23-year-old rookie, 119 OPS+ in 610 PA the next year) was betrayed by a disappointing remainder (only once again topped a 100 OPS+ with the Reds, at 101 in 1949). What did improve was his defense, which was pretty bad when he came up, but steadily improved up until the end of his Reds tenure, when he was a slick-fielding 2nd baseman. Hatton was somewhat of a walking machine with the Reds (.254 batting average, .350 OBP).