Back in the olden days, the National League and American League would simply send their pennant winners to face each other in the World Series. As expansion expanded the leagues, that eventually carved out the opportunity for League Championship Series to serve as the opening act, allowing more teams to begin to claim ‘postseason appearances’ as a thing that actually had any sort of meaning.
By the time the 1994 strike rolled around and the further expansion brought in Florida and Colorado, MLB opted to carve out additional divisions - three each in the NL and AL - and Wild Card teams to round out a full quarterfinal-start to the baseball postseason. Eight teams got to claim ‘postseason appearances’ to their fans, a number that climbed to ten in 2012 with the advent of the one-game play-in playoff game, too.
In other words, it’s become increasingly easy for MLB teams to stumble into a playoff spot here or there over the last three decades. Even drunk on a bet you make the playoffs once a decade, right?
In the case of the Cincinnati Reds, that’s barely been true. Yes, at the same time it has become easier and easier to claim a ‘postseason appearance’ as anything special, the Reds have diverged into the baseball purgatory we all Reds fans know and loathe.
That conundrum drove me to a realization earlier today - I have basically zero knowledge of any postseason leaderboard. Most postseason dingers? Kinda had a guess, that guy was fourth. Most postseason PA? Jeter, I assumed, and got that right. Postseason ribbies? My god, Carlos Correa is already 7th all-time.
Point being, as the playoffs expanded, so, too, did the number of ‘postseason games’ that were played each year. So naturally, the current leaderboards for all ‘postseason’ play are weighted heavily towards the last two, three decades of play, since Lou Gehrig didn’t get 20 postseason games a year to honk wangers with proclivity the way, say, George Springer has.
The lists got weighted heavily to the era in which the Reds have abdicated. That’s why I know very little about them, I assume, like how Skip Schumaker has almost 6x as many postseason PA as Joey Votto. Heck, it’s even worse now that I remember the 1990 Cincinnati Reds were so clinical in their postseason success that they only played in 10 games.
Anyway, for the first Friday List to take place during the 2021 MLB Playoffs, here is an unofficial list of All-Time Top 10 Postseason Leaderboards in which no Cincinnati Reds feature (given the sample size parameters Baseball Reference uses to curate their great set of lists):
Batting Average (Career)
Batting Average (Season)
Games Played (Career)
Games Played (Season)
At Bats (Career)
At Bats (Season)
Plate Appearances (Career)
Plate Appearances (Season)
Runs Scored (Career)
Runs Scored (Season)
Total Bases (Career)
Total Bases (Season)
Stolen Bases (Season)
The trio of doubles swatted by Paul O’Neill in 1990 helped propel him to a postseason career total of 17, tied for 10th all-time. Meanwhile, Reggie Sanders struck out 19 times in just 7 postseason games in 1995, a significant portion of his 79 career postseason Ks, a number that ranks him T-5th on that career list.
The inimitable Joe Morgan swiped 15 career postseason bags, a number that ranks 7th on the all-time playoff swiping board. 14 of those came in a Reds uniform!
So hey, the Reds made some postseason Top 10 leaderboards - just, like, not many.
Many copious thanks to Baseball Reference for their copious data deserving of thanks.