Many Reds fans realize that Joey Votto would become the 12th Reds NL MVP should he win the award this season (the other 11 are Lombardi '38, Walters '39, McCormick '40, Robinson '61, Bench '70 & '72, Rose '73, Morgan '75 &'76, Foster '77 and Larkin '95). What some fans may not realize is that Votto is about to become only the 13th Red to have what Bill James once called a "Hall Of Fame" season--a season of at least a .300 batting average, 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in.
Quick questions: Who was the first Red to have a "HOF" season and which Red had the most "HOF" seasons?
By calling a .300 30 100 season a "Hall Of Fame" season James did not mean that any player achieving those standards automatically deserved to be inducted into Cooperstown, and James certainly understood that both batting average and RBI are imperfect statistical methods of determining a hitter's value. However any hitter who consistently puts up seasons of .300 30 100 is a likely Hall of Famer; the line of batting average, home runs and runs batted in are still perhaps the most commonly used stats shown for a hitter (watch on TV when a hitter comes to the plate), and even in this day of OBP, SLG, OPS, Wins above replacement player, Win Shares, et al, fans still speculated earlier this season if we would see our first Triple Crown winner since 1967.
Ted Williams knew a thing or two about how important on base percentage and hitting with power were, yet Ted himself wrote that he set his seasonal goals based upon the Triple Crown stats (although being Ted Williams his goal was to hit .330, not a mere .300). Ted and Rogers Hornsby remain the only hitters to win two Triple Crowns, although an argument can be made for Jimmie Foxx.
Incidentally, Albert Pujols is on the verge of becoming the first player to ever have ten straight .300 30 100 seasons, and, if his average remains above .300 he will have done so in all 10 seasons he has played. As best I can find, Babe Ruth holds the record for most .300 30 100 seasons with 12.
Anyway, to answer the first question, the answer is somewhat tricky as two Reds both had a Hall Of Fame, .300 30 100 season, the first by a Red, in 1953. Ted Kluszewski hit .316 40 108 while Gus Bell cut it about as close as he could at .300 30 105 (I guess Klu locked up his season before Bell did).
Klu also holds the record for most Hall Of Fame seasons with four, as he followed 1953 with .326 49 141, .314 47 113 and .302 35 102 in 1954-56.
Wally Post joined the club in 1955 with .309 40 109. Bell just missed with .308 27 104 that season, yet the Reds still finished below .500.
Frank Robinson had three Hall Of Fame seasons with the Reds (and two more with the Orioles), going .311 36 125 in 1959, .323 37 124 in 1961 and .342 39 136 in 1962.
Tony Perez had a .317 40 129 line in 1970.
George Foster hit .320 52 149 in 1977.
Dave Parker, who had one HOF season as a Pirate, added another for the Reds in 1985 with .312 34 125.
Joey Votto will join the club this year.