Back in late June, Reds right-hander Bronson Arroyo effectively announced his retirement at season’s end:
— FOX Sports Ohio (@FOXSportsOH) June 26, 2017
Over the weekend, of course, the Reds celebrated Arroyo’s retirement (more on that in a minute). Arroyo’s last trip around the National League in a Reds uniform wasn’t much fun, but now that it’s over, it’s an appropriate time to remember just how good Arroyo was over his Reds career.
On March 20, 2006, Arroyo was traded to the Reds in exchange for the immortal Wily Mo Pena. In 157 games over two seasons in Boston, Pena hit .271/.328/.451 with 16 home runs and 59 RBI before being traded to Washington. He then bounced around to the Mets, Padres, Diamondbacks, Mariners, and Indians, and his big league career was finished by the age of 30.
Arroyo, on the other hand, made the National League All-Star team in his first season with the Reds. That year, 2006, Arroyo went 14-11 with a 3.29 ERA. He led the league in games started (35) and innings pitched (240.2), posting 4.9 wins above replacement. That represented the beginning of a trend, as Arroyo was a reliable inning-eater and workhorse during his Reds career. In his first eight seasons with the Redlegs, Arroyo failed to reach 200 innings just once — in 2011, when he only pitched 199 innings.
In total, over parts of nine seasons in Cincinnati, Arroyo won 108 games with a 4.18 ERA. He posted 20.1 bWAR over that time, a total that ranks 22nd in Reds history, ahead of such luminaries as Tom Browning (23rd), Tom Seaver (24), Don Gullett (29), and Elmer Dessens (39). (You can check out the top 25 in that graphic over on the right; you may need to click it to embiggen the chart so it’s more readable.)
Bronson ranks fifth among all Reds starters in strikeouts (1,157). Arroyo is also tied with Johnny Vander Meer for #7 on the Reds all-time franchise list in games started (279), and he’s 15th in wins and innings pitched. No one has ever started more games, won more games, pitched more innings or complete games, or struck out as many batters at Great American Ball Park as Arroyo. He’s a future member of the Reds Hall of Fame.
But with Bronson, it was never just about the numbers. There was always the long hair and the goofy leg kick and the guitar and everything else that went along with having Arroyo living in your town and playing for your hometown nine. Since the end is here, I thought it might be fun to take a little tour through Bronson Arroyo’s greatest hits…
It all begins with “Reds Hooded Sweatshirt,” Bronson’s classic duet with Aroldis Chapman. Dip-dip-dip:
Next, we have the iconic J.T.M. commercials, featuring Arroyo and Reds broadcaster (and former crafty lefty) Chris Welsh:
Then there’s this classic commercial, which is flat-out hilarious if you don’t mind the (very mild) salty language:
And you can’t forget Arroyo’s performances at RedsFest:
Look at this kid:
I don’t know what to make of this:
Bronson’s spring training home, the Nasty Hook (though rougher waters lay ahead):
This isn’t Bronson Arroyo, but it makes me laugh:
Sorry, I’ll get back on topic now. This week, Arroyo sat down with Jim Day to discuss his life and career:
And, of course, as he discussed in that interview, he did in fact play with Pearl Jam:
Then, this weekend, the Reds honored Arroyo’s career:
Saved the best for last: A custom-made guitar, case and strap made from one of Bronson’s road jerseys! 🎸 pic.twitter.com/pnz6tOD3Tx
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) September 23, 2017
Pearl Jam or Bronson Arroyo? Hard to tell😜 pic.twitter.com/VS4pGXB2jG
— Cardstalker (@m3kcmf) September 23, 2017
So long, Bronson. Thanks for the memories.
Blame Chad for creating this mess.
Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.
You can email Chad at firstname.lastname@example.org.