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