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Lonny Frey Profile

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We are very excited today to welcome JinAZ to our stable of writers.  Justin is by far the most accomplished Reds-based sabermetric writer out there and we're looking forward to seeing his work on the pages of Red Reporter.  He's not completely leaving behind his Basement Dwellers site for now, but expect to see more of his excellent writing here as well as at Beyond The Box Score.  Welcome, Justin! - Slyde

From @CincinnatiReds today

Prior to tonight's game the #Reds will hold a moment of silence for Reds Hall of Famer Lonny Frey, who died Sunday at the age of 99.

I thought it would be worthwhile to do a quick profile on him.  The data are in the format that I use in the WAR position reviews I occasionally post, like this one (that post includes definitions of all of these stats, but everything is corrected for park and era, and wOBA numbers are translated to modern baseball--average is 0.335).

Lonny Frey. Reds Hall of Fame.

Debut Seasons PA Offense wOBA Fielding Fld/700PA PosAdj WAR WAR/700PA
1938 7 4045 49 0.349 89 15 37 30.4 5.3

Frey was purchased from the Chicago Cubs prior to his age-27 season in 1938. Previously at shortstop, he would go on to play almost exclusively at second base for the next seven seasons. He really blossomed in 1939 when he gave up switch-hitting and focused entirely on hitting form the left side.  He put up two consecutive 6+ WAR seasons and helping lead the team to two consecutive World Series.  He then followed with three consecutive 4 WAR seasons--all told, his time with the Reds was easily the best stretch of the three-time All Star's career.

By JAARF, he was a superb defender, routinely posting 10+ runs per season ratings throughout his career, which is a big part of his overall value.  But he was also a fine hitter. He showed modest power for a middle-infielder, twice reaching 11 home runs in a season. But the majority of his offensive value came from his batting eye. With the Reds, he posted a 12% walk rate and an 0.358 OBP. And when he got on base, he could make things happen. He led the league in steals (with just 22!) in 1940, and 11 of his 49 offensive RAA with the Reds was due to his performance on the basepaths.

He was purchased back by the Chicago Cubs after the 1946 season, and retired two years later at 37 years old.  I have him (or, rather, Rally has him) as the third-most valuable second baseman in Reds history by WAR.

RIP.