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Thread: Reds SS History Post WW2

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Reds SS History Post WW2


    Being a Cincinnati fan you canít be anything but aware that the Reds have had essentially 4 shortstops since 1951. From 1950-2004 sixty-seven men have played shortstop for the Reds, a total of 8680 games.

    The amazing fact within this fact is that 80% of those games were played by only four men, equally amazing is 51% of them were played by only two men.

    Spoiled is the Reds fan in his shortstop history, but how spoiled are we?

    Here are the American League and National League games leaders for shortstops since 1950.
    Code:
    GAMES                            G       AB       AVG      OBA      SLG     RC/G    
    1    Luis Aparicio              2599    10230     .262     .311     .343     3.80   
    2    Cal Ripken                 2381     9217     .277     .345     .454     5.34   
    3    Alan Trammell              2293     8288     .285     .352     .415     5.27   
    4    Bert Campaneris            2213     8459     .258     .310     .342     3.84   
    5    Omar Vizquel               2138     7819     .275     .341     .358     4.38   
    6    Mark Belanger              1962     5734     .227     .300     .280     2.95   
    7    Ozzie Guillen              1818     6190     .264     .285     .338     3.15   
    8    Ed Brinkman                1812     5957     .224     .280     .300     2.63   
    9    Robin Yount                1549     6049     .286     .331     .427     4.99   
    10   Greg Gagne                 1524     4730     .254     .299     .387     3.68   
    GAMES                            G       AB       AVG      OBA      SLG     RC/G    
    1    Ozzie Smith                2573     9396     .262     .337     .328     4.16   
    2    Dave Concepcion            2300     8247     .267     .322     .359     3.90   
    3    Larry Bowa                 2247     8418     .260     .300     .320     3.39   
    4    Barry Larkin               2180     7937     .295     .371     .444     6.22   
    5    Roy McMillan               2093     6752     .243     .314     .321     3.41   
    6    Garry Templeton            2047     7664     .272     .305     .369     3.72   
    7    Chris Speier               1960     6480     .246     .326     .345     3.79   
    8    Dick Groat                 1929     7484     .286     .330     .366     4.10   
    9    Bill Russell               1911     6617     .266     .312     .337     3.50   
    10   Don Kessinger              1852     6991     .253     .315     .313     3.40
    1500 appears to be the benchmark for extreme longevity at the SS position, with 2000 being the number achieved by the upper echelon.

    In the AL you have 5 players with 2000 games started at shortstop, in the NL you have 6 players, the AL has 3 players who started at least 2000 of their games with one team. In the AL Ripken, Vizquel and Trammel hold that honor and in the NL Concepcion and Larkin can make claim to it as well. In modern MLB history there have been a total of 18 men who logged 2000 appearances at shortstop, 72% of them appeared after World War 2 and 3 of them were Reds. (Roy McMillan split his games amongst 3 teams, 1348 as a Red)

    It was McMillan who began the string in 1951 when he appeared in 85 games for the Reds, from 1952-1958 he played in over 145 games a season at the shortstop position for the Reds.

    In 1960 Leo Cardenas appeared in Cincinnati that season he shared the SS duties with Roy and his play must have convinced Bill DeWitt to move ahead with his first deal as the new Reds owner that winter when flipped McMillan to the Braves Jay and Pizarro in December of 1960.

    1157 games later the Reds entered the 1969 season and experienced the first year in 18 seasons that McMillan or Cardenas didnít man the shortstop position.

    In the last full season at Crosley and the first full season of division play, the Reds split the position amongst 2 players with Chico Ruiz getting some time there as well. Not the most stellar group they posted below average fielding numbers and did nothing to further solidified a position that was a noted weakness prior to the start of the season.
    Code:
    GAMES                            G        A        E       PCT    
    1    Woody Woodward               93      248       14     .966   
    2    Darrel Chaney                91      191       17     .947   
    3    Chico Ruiz                   29       58        1     .989   
    4    Tommy Helms                   4        3        0    1.000
    The position wasnít buoyed by the .233/.308/.277 line they produced as a group, and Chic Ruiz probably left the greatest impression that season when he ďplayĒ attacked Chief Noc-A-Homa in a mock Indian raid that found the Reds shortstop being flipped by the mascot, much to the amusement of all the Reds who revealed in his antics.

    Two months later Chico was an Angel and the Reds were talking internally of counting on a youngster named Dave Concepcion. It took a couple of years for Davey to fully grab the job (a common SS occurrence is slow growth) and when he did grab it he held on tight and stayed long enough to watch both Pete and Tony leave and come back. Reagen was in his second term before the Reds worried about the shortstop position again.

    I'll be where the eagles flying higher and higher.
    Gonna be your man in motion
    All I need is a pair of wheels.
    Take me where the future's lying; St. Elmo's fire.


    In June 1985 the world was hit in the face with The Brat Pack ensemble St Elmos Fire. In memory the whole she-bang was a monumental waste of time that I'd rather forget about. But that month also brought some good news, it was in June of 1985, the Reds used their 1st round pick on a college position player for the first time ever.

    The prior year pitcher Pat Pacillo had been the first college player ever chosen by the Reds in the 1st round. The fact that this occurred in the 20th year of the drafts existence was not lost on Bill James who addressed the Reds drafting strategy in his 1984 Baseball Abstract.

    The position player?

    Barry Larkin, shortstop, University of Michigan.

    1985 also is the last year that Dave Concepcion ever played over 100 games at shortstop in a season

    Like Roy McMillan Davey was able to share his spot with his eventual successor and that alone avoided a gap in the SS legacy since the earlier one in 1969.

    Thatís quite the legacy

    From 1970-2004 the Reds had 10 players who appeared in at least 100 games at SS
    Code:
    GAMES                            G        G     
    1    Dave Concepcion            2178     2178   
    2    Barry Larkin               2085     2085   
    T3   Pokey Reese                 222      222   
    T3   Darrel Chaney               222      222   
    5    Juan Castro                 183      183   
    6    Woody Woodward              162      162   
    7    Jeff Branson                149      149   
    8    Tom Foley                   135      135   
    9    Kurt Stillwell              131      131   
    10   Felipe Lopez                101      101
    Some interesting names in that list, Chaney shared some time with Concepcion early on as did Woodward, who became better known as a GM than he was a player. Former 1st round draft choice Stillwell gave Larkin a run for the job early on, but like Pokey he was not all that and a bag of chips and soon found his way out of town.

    In the same time period that the Reds had 10 players with 100 appearances the Braves can claim 18 with 100 appearances.

    In the same time period that The Reds had 4 players with 200 or more appearances at SS the Braves and Mets could claim 8 players and Montreal 9.

    To really touch on the spoiled nature of the Reds fan and the shortstop position letís take a look at the Pre 1990ís expansion National League teams and see who holds their games played at SS and how they did.

    Code:
    1946-2004
    Reds                 
                                     G       AB       AVG      OBA      SLG     RC/G    
    1    Dave Concepcion            2300     8247     .267     .322     .359     3.90   
    2    Barry Larkin               2180     7937     .295     .371     .444     6.22   
    3    Roy McMillan               1348     4319     .249     .326     .332     3.72   
    4    Leo Cardenas               1157     4047     .261     .313     .377     3.83  
    Braves
    1    Johnny Logan               1351     4931     .270     .330     .384     4.37   
    2    Jeff Blauser               1024     3438     .268     .361     .416     5.38   
    Padres
    1    Garry Templeton            1254     4455     .252     .294     .340     3.18  
    Giants
    1    Rich Aurilia                993     3598     .278     .331     .444     5.05   
    Astros
    1    Roger Metzger              1021     3678     .229     .291     .291     2.83   
    2    Craig Reynolds             1004     3131     .256     .288     .352     3.45   
    Dodgers
    1    Bill Russell               1911     6617     .266     .312     .337     3.50   
    2    Pee Wee Reese              1676     6257     .277     .375     .396     5.46   
    3    Maury Wills                1593     6156     .281     .331     .332     4.11   
    Expos
    1    Orlando Cabrera             904     3288     .267     .315     .405     4.31   
    Phillies
    1    Larry Bowa                 1739     6815     .264     .301     .324     3.44  
    Pirates
    1    Dick Groat                 1258     4950     .290     .329     .370     4.06   
    2    Jay Bell                   1106     4179     .269     .339     .402     4.55   
    3    Gene Alley                 1096     3591     .256     .312     .356     3.71   
    Mets
    1    Bud Harrelson              1322     4390     .234     .324     .287     3.42   
    Cardinals
    1    Ozzie Smith                1990     7160     .272     .350     .344     4.58   
    2    Dal Maxvill                1100     2972     .222     .299     .265     2.60  
    Cubs
    1    Don Kessinger              1648     6355     .255     .315     .314     3.41   
    2    Shawon Dunston             1254     4570     .267     .295     .407     4.07   
    3    Ernie Banks                1216     4670     .290     .353     .552     6.77
    The Reds are the only team a player with 2000 starts and they have 2 they also are the only team with 4 players with 1000 starts. An amazing sign of stability at a position that is very volatile.

    Little surprises around every corner, but nothing dangerous!

    Since 1950 the Reds can also claim to have were the best hitting shortstops , plating a Ĺ a run better per 27 outs than all other NL shortstops.
    Code:
    RUNS CREATED/GAME               DIFF   PLAYER   LEAGUE      G     
    1    Reds                       0.51     4.22     3.71    10455   
    2    Cubs                       0.37     4.06     3.69     9958   
    3    Cardinals                  0.30     4.00     3.70    10931   
    4    Rockies                    0.27     4.46     4.19     2087   
    5    Diamondbacks               0.20     4.38     4.18     1394   
    6    Pilots/Brewers             0.11     4.31     4.20     1335   
    7    Dodgers                    0.01     3.71     3.70    10441   
    8    Expos                      0.01     3.64     3.64     6844   
    9    Braves                     -.07     3.63     3.70    10836   
    10   Pirates                    -.08     3.63     3.71    10270   
    11   Giants                     -.14     3.59     3.73    10817   
    12   Astros                     -.19     3.38     3.57     9015   
    13   Marlins                    -.20     4.00     4.19     2356   
    14   Phillies                   -.22     3.45     3.67    10254   
    15   Padres                     -.36     3.27     3.63     7017   
    16   Mets                       -.45     3.09     3.54     8207
    This of course is all history and as of today Conceptionís first manager was getting his number retired tonight and Larkin works for a team that is only slightly newer than his job.

    However the Reds "could" have the heir apparent to the linage in Lopez (if you thought Aurilia bite your tongue)

    At 24 Lopez in 2005 appears to be a completely different ballplayer than Lopez in 2004 and before. This can be seen in his approach at the plate (from both sides) and his play on the field. He appears more into the game then I remember him being last season (and the prior ones as well) and most enjoyable has been the the fact that his at bats have been better than good almost daily and he has proven that he can use his bat speed to keep his plate apperances prolonged and this has helped him not only raise his batting average but has helped him improved his k rate from (1/3.2ab) in 2004 to (1/5.2 ab) in 2005.

    Lopez's May numbers currently scream top of the order hitter his robust .323/.380/.594/.973 and his 18.5 VORP is second on the Reds and 2nd amongst all NL SS. Since the All Star break in 2004 Felipe Lopez is hitting .277 with a .351 OB% and a .503 slg%, compiling 167 Total Bases in 332 at bats.

    That's so much more than I expected after his 2003 crash and burn.

    This season has taken more than one or two ugly turns; at times itís been like being pummeled with socks full of marbles by a pack of 4 year olds, demeaning, insulting and ridiculous.

    But the emergence of Lopez in the wake of Auriliaís injury (and constant lineup apperances) has proven that once again the baseball season always knows how to give a little back to the fan even in a flood of poor play and losses

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  3. #2
    Ripsnort wheels's Avatar
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    Re: Reds SS History Post WW2

    Great, great post.
    "We know we're better than this, but we can't prove it." - Tony Gwynn

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    The Mad Monk Jaycint's Avatar
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    Re: Reds SS History Post WW2

    Good stuff Woy, thanks. We truly are blessed as Reds fans at the SS position. In this season of doom and gloom so far Felipe Lopez has been the one really bright spot for me. Here's to hoping he never sees the bench again and mans the SS position for us for the next 15 years.

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    Re: Reds SS History Post WW2

    Great stuff, WOY. Thanks for posting that. The Reds have always had a rich SS history and I believe that Lopez has a chance to carry on that tradition. We'll see.

  6. #5
    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: Reds SS History Post WW2

    This is why I come to RedsZone.

    Amazing post, woy. I feel educated now, and I hate Rich Aurillia even more.
    Championships Matter.
    23 Years and Counting...

  7. #6
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Reds SS History Post WW2

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou
    This season has taken more than one or two ugly turns; at times itís been like being pummeled with socks full of marbles by a pack of 4 year olds, demeaning, insulting and ridiculous.

    But the emergence of Lopez in the wake of Auriliaís injury (and constant lineup apperances) has proven that once again the baseball season always knows how to give a little back to the fan even in a flood of poor play and losses
    What, no mention of Virgil Stallcup?

    Fantastic stuff and the part I quoted above perfectly captures why baseball is such a great game. If the Reds set a team record in losses this season, but Felipe Lopez establishes himself as the new torchbearer at SS then, far as I'm concerned, this season's a success. He could be a huge piece of the foundation.

    Actually, as good as his bat's been, I'm far more impressed with his defense to date - and it has very little to do with his stingy error rate. He's not wrong-footing himself anymore. Previously he'd try to anticipate the play and he'd get caught leaning the wrong way when the ball got struck. To be kind, his range was awful. Now he's reacting to the ball, which is what good shortstops do. He's not a great defender, but he's been good and that's a huge step forward for him. Combine that with the bat and you've got a solid SS. Now if he can figure out how to be less of a knucklehead on the bases ...
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

    I'm witchcrafting everybody.

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    Member SandyD's Avatar
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    Re: Reds SS History Post WW2

    great stuff as always, woy.

    One thing about baseball, no matter how bad the record gets, there's always something to talk about. And generally something to look forward to.

    Here's hoping we get the chance to see Felipe Lopez blossom into a steady ss for years to come.

  9. #8
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Reds SS History Post WW2

    Great stuff, WOY!
    The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rally-...24872650873160

  10. #9
    MarsArmyGirl RosieRed's Avatar
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    Re: Reds SS History Post WW2

    Great post WOY. Pretty amazing how fortunate this organization has been, having Concepcion and Larkin.

  11. #10
    Vavasor TRF's Avatar
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    Re: Reds SS History Post WW2

    please. please write a book. fantastic work, and i don't just mean the research. you have a flair for writing, that keeps the reader's attention.

    now write a book and get famous.
    Suck it up cupcake.

  12. #11
    Panicking Fan since 1993
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    Re: Reds SS History Post WW2

    One note about Woody Woodward -

    The Reds used to play him somewhere whenever they faced Tom Seaver. He used to hitTom Terriffic like a drum.

  13. #12

    Re: Reds SS History Post WW2

    That is a great post (of course, I saw it over at Redleg Nation , too).

    Anyway, you've reminded me what a good read that was. After the game today, I think I'll bump it back up to the top at RN.

    Keep up the great work.
    Chad D
    Redleg Nation: A Cincinnati Reds Blog, Fan Community, and Therapy Group

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    Re: Reds SS History Post WW2

    had the Reds signed Larkin the first time they drafted him, in 1982, they likely would have drafted Barry Bonds with that 1985 selection

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    Resident optimist OldRightHander's Avatar
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    Reds' shortstop tradition

    Some folks were discussing on the live board about Felipe possibly being the heir to the shortstop throne, or something along those lines. I was wondering if any other team has had a similar run at any position, not just shortstop, for the last 50 years. If you think about it, it's pretty impressive how the Reds have had so few people play that position over the last half century. Does anyone think another team could equal that, given the state of the game today and how rare it is for a player to stay with one team for that many years?

  16. #15
    MarsArmyGirl RosieRed's Avatar
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    Re: Reds' shortstop tradition

    In case you or anyone else missed it, WOY made an excellent post about the SS position.


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