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Cincinnati’s Legends: The Legends of Cincinnati Reds History

A Friday List

The city of Cincinnati has hosted a professional baseball team since 1869, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited human settlements in world history. Over those many years (most of them spent wondering things like “where’s the pitching?” or “where’s the hitting?” or “where’s the manager?” or “where’s the benzodiazepine?”) the Reds have boasted some legendary talents and personalities on and off the field. Here is a list of the best of them.

Johnny Bench

This Reds legend, known to best friends and peers as Hondo, spent his entire career with the Reds. He caught every single pitch of over 75 games in his entire career, a feat matched by only some other baseball players in baseball history.

Joe Morgan

Los Angeles Dodgers v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Perhaps the greatest pitcher in Cincinnati Reds history, Joe Morgan won back-to-back Cy Young Awards and led the Reds to back-to-back World Series championships. He also once posed back-to-back with Vic Tayback on the cover of Cracked.

High Pockets Kelly

George Kelly earned the nickname High Pockets because he was 6’4” and wore his pants up to his armpits like a fuckin nerd grandpa.

That one isn’t a joke.

Frank Robinson

If the Reds weren’t actually, you know, the Reds, he would be the greatest legend in Reds history.

Joey Votto

The best hitter in Cincinnati Reds history. And an absolute snack.

Ryan Freel

He wasn’t the most talented player on the field on any given day, but he played with an exuberant energy that was impossible not to love. Cincinnati is a blue-collar town and the Reds have had a number of hustling go-getters over the years, but Freel was the first, the best, and the most beloved. So many fan favorites (Derek Dietrich, Scooter Gennett, Chris Stynes, Chris Sabo) were cast in his mold, but none could match the grit and hustle of Ryan Freel.

Tragically, he took his own life a few days before Christmas in 2012. Rest peacefully, Farney.

Tony Perez

There are three members of the Big Red Machine in the Baseball Hall of Fame. All three are on this list. The Cobra was the engine of the Machine and the prevailing narrative is that trading him after the ‘76 season is what ended the run. Can’t take the engine out of the machine and expect it to go, duh doy.

Greg Vaughn

He was only a Red for one incredible season, but it was a full-scale rawdog orgy of a season. “Long Gone” Greg Vaughn hit 45 home runs and led the 1999 Reds on an unforgettable hedonistic erotic fantasy that will never and can never be done again. A fuck so good you’ll tell your grandkids about it.