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Opening Day Countdown: Quintessential Red #46

Late night list on pitchers and catchers eve. Let's go.

5. John Riedling (0.9 WAR)

Riedling is the only post 2000 player on the list, and made a big splash coming into the league the way he did. In the 2000 and 2001 seasons combined, he put up a 2.39 ERA in 42 appearances, earning a place in the Reds 'pen. His drop precipitated quickly though, and he was pretty pedestrian in 2003 and 2004 before finishing his career as a Marlin in 2005.

4. Pete Schourek (4.0 WAR)

"Cy" Schourek was picked off of waivers, basically given up on by the Mets. He pitched decently enough for the Reds in the 1994 season to give him a shot, and in '95, it paid off. He went 18-7 with a 3.22 ERA, and struck out 160 batters, by far the best season of his career. He had two more seasons with the Reds, and then a bunch of really mediocre seasons elsewhere, but he'll likely be remembered as one of the Reds' best pitchers of the 90's.

3. Rob Murphy (5.5 WAR)

Murphy was a stud reliever for a long time, spending 4 years with the Cincinnati. He led the league in appearances in 1988 with 76, but his 1986 season is the one I want to draw attention to. He threw 50.1 innings in 34 games, and only gave up 4 runs all year for an ERA of 0.72. Insane.

2. Brooks Lawrence (8.0 WAR)

A native of Springfield, OH, Lawrence started out in the Negro National League before coming up through the Cleveland system. He started with the Cardinals before coming to his local team in 1956, where he had an immediate impact. He went 19-10 with a 3.99 ERA and made the All-Star team, his only one of his career. That season also included a streak of 13 straight wins, which is pretty damn impressive. Lawrence worked for the Reds in plenty of different capacities before his passing in 2000.

1. Jim Maloney (34.6 WAR)

As good as yesterday's winner Ewell Blackwell was in the 40's, Maloney was that good in the 60's. He pitched for the Reds from 1960 to 1970, and was criminally underrated in that time. He only made one All-Star team, despite an ERA+ above 100 in 7 out of 8 years. Personally, I like his 1963 season the best, where he went 23-7 with a 2.77 ERA and 265 (!!!!) strikeouts in 250 innings. His 9.5 K/9 that year led the league.

Accomplishment-wise, he also threw 2 or 3 no-hitters, depending on who you ask. His first effort was a no-no through 9, but was broken up in the 11th inning, so technically it doesn't count. He didn't get any help in his next effort, either, but managed to pull out the win (and more importantly, the official no-no) by winning in 10 innings. He threw his last one in 1969.

Jim's still around, and can often be seen at Reds HOF events despite living in his hometown of Fresno, CA.