Baseball-reference.com, which may be the best website in the world other than Redleg Nation, has a feature I just now saw called “Most Common Starters” by team, both by years played and by number of games. There are surprises. This may be a great chance to learn about some Reds players that you may not know.

Why does this matter to me? I don’t know, but history is bound to repeat itself. Even if a player can’t come back and play after their skills have faded, I still think their skill set is likely to reoccur.

First, the most common starters by number of years listed as the most common starter for that season. Also, I didn’t link all the players this time. Click on the “Most Common Starters” link above and it will take you to the page where all these guys have links to their individual pages.

C-Johnny Bench
1b–John Reilly
2b–Bid McPhee
3b–Hick Carpenter
SS–Dave Concepcion
LF–George Foster
CF–Edd Roush
RF–Ival Goodman

Some surprises, huh? More 1880’s players than I expected and then the expected longevity of the Big Red Machine days. Ival Goodman of the 1939-40 World Series teams surprised me. He was our first true home run hitter, connecting for 30 in 1938.

Now by games…they list the top five by position:

C–Johnny Bench 1742, Ernie Lombardi 1053, Ivey Wingo 955, Joe Oliver 738, Johnny Edwards 731

1b–Ted Kluszewski 1255, Frank McCormick 1206, Dan Driessen 1156, Tony Perez 1092, Sean Casey 1030

2b-Bid McPhee 2129, Ron Oester 1171, Joe Morgan 1116, Johnny Temple 948, Lonnie Frey 889

3b–Hick Carpenter 890, Heinie Groh 883, Chris Sabo 792, Tony Perez 760, Grady Hatton 729

SS–Dave Concepcion 2178, Barry Larkin 2085, Roy McMillan 1302, Tim Corcoran 1164, Leo Cardenas 1138

LF–Adam Dunn 941, George Foster 882, Bob Bescher 731, Frank Robinson 697, Pat Duncan 687

CF–Vada Pinson 1497, Edd Roush 1317, Cesar Geronimo 1031, Gus Bell 814, Eric Davis 770

RF–Ival Goodman 892, Ken Griffey Sr. 876, Mike Mitchell 813, Gee Walker 804, Paul O’Neill 685

No Pete Rose, Robinson barely mentioned, no Ken Griffey Jr. Rose and Robinson played different positions often for the Reds, minimizing their one position dominance. I was surprised to see Geronimo so high and Edwards usually gets lost in the shuffle because of Bench. Adam Dunn has played the most games at LF? That surprised me, too.

So..my opinion of batting orders from the most years played common starters:

CF–Edd Roush
2b–Bid McPhee
1b–John Reilly
c–Johnny Bench
LF–George Foster
RF–Ival Goodman
3b–Hick Carpenter
SS-Dave Concepcion

For the list of most games played by position, my batting order would be:

CF–Vada Pinson
2b–Bid McPhee
LF–Adam Dunn
1b–Ted Kluszewski
C–Johnny Bench
RF–Ival Goodman
3b–Hick Carpenter
SS-Dave Concepcion

My real list of Reds best players with lineup:

Rose 3b, Morgan 2b, Robinson RF, Kluszewski 1b, Bench C, Roush CF, Davis LF, Larkin SS

Reserves: Tony Perez 1b-3b, Heinie Groh 3b-2b, Dave Concepcion SS, Vada Pinson CF, Adam Dunn LF, C–Ernie Lombardi, 2b–Bid McPhee

Pitchers: Bucky Walters, Paul Derringer, Eppa Rixey, Dolf Luque, Jim Maloney, Noodles Hahn, Jose Rijo, Mario Soto, Tom Seaver, Tony Mullane

Sorry, no relievers. I think the guys above could do some swing duty.

I don’t like leaving off John Reilly, Frank McCormick or George Foster off the positional roster. I would also like to include Johnny Vander Meer and Gary Nolan. May I expand my roster?

Most Common Pitchers listed by most years:

SP: Eppa Rixey, Dolf Luque, Bucky Walters, Paul Derringer, Pete Donohue.

RP: Danny Graves, Scott Sullivan, Ray Kolp, Pedro Borbon

22 Responses

  1. per14

    Just a though (nit-picking really): In your all-time team, you could put Perez at 3rd (big years there in the early 70s); Rose in the OF with Robinson and Davis/Roush. I guess which bat would you rather have: Perez’s or Davis/Roush’s? (Yes, I know Perez wasn’t great at third, but neither was Rose.)

    Good work.

    • Steve Price

      Just a though (nit-picking really): In your all-time team, you could put Perez at 3rd (big years there in the early 70s); Rose in the OF with Robinson and Davis/Roush. I guess which bat would you rather have: Perez’s or Davis/Roush’s? (Yes, I know Perez wasn’t great at third, but neither was Rose.)

      Roush was a far better hitter than Perez. A different style, yes, but Roush was had an OPS+ over 130 for nine consecutive seasons; Perez topped 130 four times total. Perez had two seasons over 150 as did Roush, so even their best seasons are somewhat equal and Roush was an outstanding centerfielder, too.

      Davis had four 130+ seasons, too, including two 150’s also and he had his defense.
      Rose had seven 130+ seasons with two 150’s and I think he was a better third baseman than Rose, if not by much. Circumstancial evidence would be that Rose could play 2b, too.

      Can’t go wrong with any of these combinations.

  2. RiverCity Redleg

    I can’t really argue with your all-time list. That’s pretty darn good.
    @per14: I’d be good with your suggestion except I would never take out ED, his bat/glove combination is unmatched. I’m a big fan of ol Eric the Red.

  3. preach

    At least you had the CF leading off in both lineups. There is hope for you yet.

    • Steve Price

      At least you had the CF leading off in both lineups. There is hope for you yet.

      I kept a middle infielder batting second, too…at first, I had them reversed, but the Dusty effect overtook me. Then I realized that McPhee was a better bunter.

  4. Joestn

    i was about to say i can’t say i agree with your 1b choice. then i compared their WARs while with the reds, turns out that perez averaged 2.74 more wins per year, while klu had a nearly identical 2.7.
    but i still give tony the advantage based on greater longevity.

    am i the only person who has noticed a lack of a true legendary pitcher for the reds, ever. the only real legend to wear the uniform was seaver (actually, christie matthewson was a red for a year, but thats not long enough), but history remembers him as a met. i’m certain that maloney could have been like that had injury’s not hit him, but it still seems odd that there is such a hole in that area for such an old franchise.

    • Steve Price

      i was about to say i can’t say i agree with your 1b choice. then i compared their WARs while with the reds, turns out that perez averaged 2.74 more wins per year, while klu had a nearly identical 2.7.
      but i still give tony the advantage based on greater longevity.

      Klu and Perez are two of the most popular Reds of all time. Perez had more longevity…but back to a previous point I made, Big Klu had five seasons with a 130+ with the highest peak of either of the two at 167.

      Frankly, John Reilly may be a better choice than either. Reilly had three seasons of 130+ but had a 170 and a 190, which I suppose means he was twice as good as the average first baseman in 1884. That’s approaching Babe Ruth or Barry Bonds territory for those two seasons.

    • Steve Price

      am i the only person who has noticed a lack of a true legendary pitcher for the reds, ever. the only real legend

      Bucky Walters would’ve been the guy if he’d been with the Reds pitching from the beginning. He was super. Paul Derringer was pretty darn good, too, but it’s hard to win many when your team is losing 90 games every year.

      Mullane was a guy like this; Eppa Rixey’s good years were with the Reds, but I don’t know that he was dominant. I have trouble understanding why Dolf Luque wasn’t incredible every year.

      Some short term guys who had the talent: but injuries ruined the talents of Noodles Hahn, Don Gullett, Wayne Simpson, Gary Nolan, Jim Maloney, Jose Rijo, Mario Soto.

      All those guys could’ve been “that guy.”

  5. Jared

    @Joestn: I call it the Patriots effect. Let your (expensive) superstars walk in free agency and pay 2 stars instead. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  6. Kyle

    Mesoraco just hit a grand slam in his first AB tonight after hitting a walk off grand slam last night. Ridiculous start at Louisville for him.

  7. LVW

    I wouldn’t have Mullane on there at all because he spent most of his career pitching from 55 feet away. What about having Bob Ewing on the pitching staff- he pitched 8 years and his ERA was better than league average every year.

    • Steve Price

      I wouldn’t have Mullane on there at all because he spent most of his career pitching from 55 feet away. What about having Bob Ewing on the pitching staff- he pitched 8 years and his ERA was better than league average

      I wouldn’t call that relevant…it’s all comparable.

      Ewing was on “my list.”

  8. Joestn

    @Jared: but that doesn’t account for the 70 years prior to free agency when player salaries weren’t through the roof like they are now.

  9. Python Curtus

    Let me ask this….
    Do you think the Reds have had a bigger share of above average first basemen than other teams? Not neccesarily superstars, but real solid all-around players with longevity? Perez, Kluszewski, May, McCormick, Rose, Robinson, Morris, Casey, Driessen. And that’s just since the 40s. I know Driessen is in the top 10 all-time for fielding percentage at 1B. He used to be in the top 5, but I think there have been a few recent player, like Pujols, who passed him

    • LVW

      I know Driessen is in the top 10 all-time for fielding percentage at 1B.He used to be in the top 5, but I think there have been a few recent player, like Pujols, who passed him

      Pujols is behind him.

    • Steve Price

      Let me ask this….
      Do you think the Reds have had a bigger share of above average first basemen than other teams? Not neccesarily superstars, but real solid all-around players with longevity? Perez, Kluszewski, May, McCormick, Rose, Robinson, Morris, Casey, Driessen. And that’s just since the 40s. I know Driessen is in the top 10 all-time for fielding percentage at 1B. He used to be in the top 5, but I think there have been a few recent player, like Pujols, who passed him

      Bill James wrote about this recently…I think he mentioned the Cardinals:

      Ed Konetchy, Jack Fournier, Jim Bottomley, Ripper Collins, Johnny Mize, Stan Musial, Bill White, Orlando Cepeda, Keith Hernandez, Joe Torre, George Hendrick, Jack Clark, Pedro Guerrero, Gregg Jeffries, Albert Pujols

  10. Python Curtus

    @Steve Price:
    First of all, Greg Jefferies was one of the most overrated players not on the level of Wily Pena or Brandon Larson. I had moved to NYC when he first came up and had a front row seat to watch the eternal wait for him to get his sht together. When he was finally traded to the Royals, evry Mets fan said the same thing: oh, him. I’m barely aware of him even playing for the Cardinals, so it must not have been for long.
    Guerrero, his best years were behind him by the time he got there. In fact, it was just the year before, 1988, that he had his last good year, wasn’t it? He kind of disappeared after ’90.

    Second, a lot of the Cardinals on the list I mostly remember them as outfielders: Clark, Hendrick, White, Musiel. Same argument could be made for Rose and Robinson.
    But Johnny Mize was a good one

    • Steve Price

      Second, a lot of the Cardinals on the list I mostly remember them as outfielders: Clark, Hendrick, White, Musiel. Same argument could be made for Rose and Robinson.

      A lot of the “good” Reds players weren’t that good either, though.

      Morris, Casey, and Driessen were average at best in the grand scheme of things. But, if you make the argument equal, then we consider all. Robinson had two yars and Rose one year at 1b for the Reds.

      I’m not a Cardinals fan, but Jeffries had two very good all-star seasons as the Cardinals 1b, the two best seasons of his career (141 and 130 OPS+). Guerrero’s best years were with the Dodgers, but he was 3rd in MVP voting his first Cardinal year, which was 1989. Jack Clark played 1b for four years with the Cardinals (also 3rd in MVP). Hendrick played mainly OF with Cardinals, but the one year he played 1b he was voted the Silver Slugger for being the best hitting 1b. White was a long time Gold Glove first base (played LF one year). Stan Musial played more than 1000 games at 1b.

  11. Python Curtus

    I kind of don’t count pre-1900 players when I think of the best players because the game was so different. Someone mentioned the mound being 55 feet away back then? Even in just the time from 1895 to 1900 a lot of things were changed. A lot of players still weren’t even wearing gloves then.

    So we have to wonder, could, for example, Cy Young strike out Albert Pujols?

    • Steve Price

      kind of don’t count pre-1900 players when I think of the best players because the game was so different. Someone mentioned the mound being 55 feet away back then? Even in just the time from 1895 to 1900 a lot of things were changed. A lot of players still weren’t even wearing gloves then.

      So we have to wonder, could, for example, Cy Young strike out Albert Pujols?

      the same things could be said for every era….in fact, if you ask the old-timers they would say they were better ballplayers than the babified millionaires of today.

      Would Babe Ruth be as good?

      May be a slap hitter would bat .400 against today’s pitching…Ichiro comes to mind.

      We can draw arbitrary lines wherever we choose; for that reason I pretty much don’t and I compare players to the players of the time.

  12. GeorgeFoster

    As you might guess, I take issue with your exclusion of George Foster. I’m not sure if you’re considering career stats or Reds stats only, but Foster compares favorably with Dunn based on their Cincinnati production (162 game avg):
    Dunn .247/40/96 3.3 WAR 130 OPS+
    Foster .286/32/111 4.9 WAR 140 OPS+

    Foster also contributed to the 1976 WS champs as the most common clean up hitter and was #2 in MVP voting, won the 1977 MVP, and scored the dramatic winning run of the 1972 NLCS. You’re seriously going to take Dunn instead??

    • Steve Price

      Foster also contributed to the 1976 WS champs as the most common clean up hitter and was #2 in MVP voting, won the 1977 MVP, and scored the dramatic winning run of the 1972 NLCS. You’re seriously going to take Dunn instead??

      You make a very strong argument using the MVP and OPS+ info. The rbi info is irrelevant in this case…if Morgan and Rose were batting in front of Dunn rather than the crew he had, Dunn’s rbi total would be similar.

      I wouldn’t include scoring the winning run in the 1972 NLCS when he was a part-time player as a pinch runner. Billy Bates fans may start clamoring to include him, too, for his 1990 performance.

      Foster had seven seasons of 130+ OPS+ seasons, Dunn had six. I may have let Foster’s early Reds career drive down my opinion of him. I also think Dunn was underrated in his Reds stay.

      But, I would like to have a left handed power bat off the bench, wouldn’t I?

      I did include Foster on my short list of “can I get a few more roster spots” list in the post.

      Foster is a worthy.

      Dunn was more consistent than Foster. Foster had greater peak.