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Opening Day Countdown: Quintessential Red #11


Good morning!

5. Bob Bailey (0.4 WAR)

Bailey joined the Reds in 1976, which was just in time. He was a bench player by the time he got to Cincinnati, but played a little 1B, 3B, and LF for the team. The longtime Pirate/Dodger/Expo also played a few years for the Red Sox before calling it a career.

4. Deron Johnson (6.6 WAR)

Johnson played for 8 teams total, the Reds finishing 2nd on his list of games played (behind Philadelphia). His Reds tenure was from 1964 to 1967, with maybe his best ever season coming in 1965. He finished 4th in the MVP voting (Trivia: who won that year?), and led the league in RBI with 130.

3. Roy McMillan (18.2 WAR)

What a number this is, huh? Shortstops are pretty famous for #11 in Cincinnati, and for the most part, that began with Roy McMillan in the 1950s. He broke into the league in 1951 and played for the Reds until 1960, when he was traded to Milwaukee for a pitcher who would end up being a Reds Hall of Famer for the team (Trivia: which pitcher?). He made two All-Star teams and won 3 Gold Gloves, in what would be a long and productive career.

2. Lonny Frey (26.5 WAR)

Frey came to the Reds in 1938 (that weird year where they all wore high numbers), but took over #11 in 1939 and wore it until he left in 1946 (including the two years he spent fighting in WWII). He was an average middle infielder before he got here, but made his only 3 All-Star teams in his 6 seasons in Cincinnati, and led the league in stolen bases in 1940.

1. Barry Larkin (70.2 WAR)

Who else? Lark was a Red from 1986 to 2004, which is an absurdly long time to play with one team. 12 All-Star appearances. A ring in 1990. 3 Gold Gloves. 7 Silver Sluggers. And that MVP award in 1995.

That season was special, but I'd argue that he was even more productive in 1996. He hit .298/.410/.567 that year in 627 plate appearances, but didn't even crack the top 10 in the MVP race somehow. I'd have to think that having an OBP of .410 would go farther in today's market, but what do I know?

Larkin obviously was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2012, and is an analyst for ESPN now.