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Sunday, May 22, 2022

JOEY VOTTO IS THE GREATEST REDS PLAYER OF ALL TIME

And then there’s this, perhaps the single best argument in favor of Votto as a baseball legend. Over the course of his career, he’s led the National League in on-base percentage (OBP) seven times. The list of players in baseball history who have led their league in OBP at least seven times over the course of their career: Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Rogers Hornsby, Ty Cobb, Votto. That’s it. Even better, Votto led the league in OBP for four consecutive seasons, from 2010 to 2013. In the entirety of baseball history, only three other players have ever done that: Hall of Famers Hornsby, Williams, and Wade Boggs.

Some of you might be thinking, Big deal. All he does is walk. Back in 2013, after Votto had already won a National League MVP award, then-Reds GM Walt Jocketty accused him of that very crime against old-school baseball. Throughout his career, observers in the stands and in the broadcast booth have charged that Votto was too content to accept a base on balls, especially with runners on base. Shouldn’t he be looking to put the ball into play, even if it means swinging at pitches outside the strike zone?

It’s always been a silly argument, for a number of reasons. First of all, just on the surface, it’s clear that there is more to Votto than standing in the batter’s box, bat on shoulder, waiting for ball four. After all, the guy has led the league in slugging percentage, doubles, and OPS and has pounded 24 or more homers in nine different seasons. Votto has even won a Gold Glove. He’s a well-rounded player who has been one of the game’s best for a long, long time.

You might say, But he doesn’t drive in runs like, say, Tony Perez! Certainly, Votto’s RBI totals don’t look as gaudy as Perez’s numbers with the Big Red Machine. But don’t ever let anyone tell you that’s because Votto isn’t a good “run producer” or that he isn’t “clutch.” Perez had a good career average with runners in scoring position (.284); Votto’s is a superior, even gaudy .325. Unlike Perez, Votto hasn’t had the good fortune of Morgan and Rose hitting in front of him in the Reds lineup.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 22, 2022 at 11:59 PM | 44 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: joey votto

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   1. Moeball Posted: May 23, 2022 at 12:33 AM (#6078074)
I am as big an admirer of Votto as anyone. I think it's insane that their own announcer ragged on him about getting on base too much by taking walks when he apparently should have been swinging at pitches outside the strike zone and making outs. But best Red ever? I think if I was starting their franchise all over again from scratch my #1 draft pick would have to be Johnny Bench. The standard for all catchers to be measured against.

Or maybe I would draft Christy Mathewson and maybe not trade him to the Giants.
   2. The Honorable Ardo Posted: May 23, 2022 at 01:28 AM (#6078078)
Uh... no. It's Bench and it's not even close.

All-time Reds team:

Bench C
Votto 1B
Morgan 2B
Larkin SS
Groh 3B
Rose LF
Pinson CF
Robinson RF

Starting pitchers:
Hahn
Rixey
Walters
Luque
Rijo

Closers:
Carroll
Chapman
   3. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: May 23, 2022 at 05:57 AM (#6078085)
Starting pitchers:
Hahn
Rixey
Walters
Luque

Noodles, Eppa, Bucky and Dolf
And a round of golf?

   4. Walt Davis Posted: May 23, 2022 at 06:59 AM (#6078087)
As long as we emphasize career, Votto has an argument as greatest Reds hitter ever but Bench and Larkin pretty clearly top him as overall players. For peak hitting, I assume it's pretty close among Votto, Morgan and Robinson. Peak value is surely Morgan.
   5. TomH Posted: May 23, 2022 at 08:24 AM (#6078092)
Some ##s, then some comments

Using bb-ref Rbat (hitting above avg), Rpos (accounting for position played, but NOT fielding prowess), and Rbaser (stealing and taking extra bases), we have for their REDS careers

player yrs Rbat Rpos Rbr total
Larkin .19 .200 .124 .81 405
Votto. .16 .468 -101 -31 366
Rose... .19 .361 .-31 .23 353
Morgan 08 .286 ..36 .58 380
Bench. .17 .269 .101 .-2 367

Most would say its obvious that Bench's fielding puts him #1. And Morgan packed his value so incredibly into half of the time that to me he is clearly #2 over Larkin.
   6. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 23, 2022 at 08:50 AM (#6078095)
Uh... no. It's Bench and it's not even close.

And in his 10 years with the Reds, Frank Robinson had 0.1 fewer WAR than Votto had, in 423 fewer games. Bench had 11.4 more WAR than Robinson, but he also played in 656 more games. For career value I'd go with Bench, but that's because Robinson's career with the Reds only lasted until he got old at 30.

And of course there's also Morgan, whose average value for his 8 years was higher than any of them.
   7. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: May 23, 2022 at 10:27 AM (#6078108)
So the headline is silly. But Votto is still one hell of a player. Both great and unusual - he's extremely self aware, and his ability and willingness to adapt to changing circumstances is quite rare. Realizing that he doesn't have his old skills anymore, and making a very conscious decision to be a pull-happy masher last year was a recent and notable example of self-awareness and adaptiveness at work. Unfortunately, it's looking like he's running out of any skills, but we've been lucky to get to see him play, even if he's not Johnny Bench.
   8. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 23, 2022 at 11:38 AM (#6078117)
JOEY VOTTO IS THE GREATEST REDS PLAYER OF ALL TIME

MR. PRESIDENT
   9. jingoist Posted: May 23, 2022 at 12:11 PM (#6078121)
Interesting that the Reda have never had a 300 game winner given their long history as a MLB franchise.
Luck of the draw; bad management decisions?
   10. BDC Posted: May 23, 2022 at 12:26 PM (#6078123)
They remind me a bit of the Pirates in that. Some very great position-player careers, like Cincinnati; but the Pirates' franchise high in wins is Wilbur Cooper with 202; and the HOFer who won the most games for Pittsburgh (a convoluted criterion but you see the logic in it – greatest all-time-great to stay there very long) was Jack Chesbro: 70 wins, the last of them in 1902.

No wait, I'm wrong: Vic Willis, 89, last one in 1909.

No wait, Pud Galvin, 126, 1892.
   11. BDC Posted: May 23, 2022 at 12:29 PM (#6078124)
But I think I'm making my own point with my errors: not much time in Pittsburgh and nobody can remember if they're Hall of Famers :-D The Reds are maybe a little better in the franchise pitching department; Rixey and Luque were pretty good and stayed there awhile. And are not quite so long ago, if still really long ago.
   12. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 23, 2022 at 12:33 PM (#6078126)
The Reds don't even have a 200-game winner! Their career leader in wins is Eppa Rixey with 179. The Reds seem to specialize in pitchers who are great for a short time then get hurt: Mario Soto, Ewell Blackwell, Don Gullett, Jose Rijo, Jim Maloney.
   13. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: May 23, 2022 at 12:52 PM (#6078129)
I ordinarily love the one career players, but in Votto's case, I wonder if he'd appreciate going to a team that's playing for something.

What an amazing offensive player, my favorite stat is still going an entire season (2016) without an infield popup. (He's at 4 this year.)
   14. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 23, 2022 at 12:56 PM (#6078130)
They remind me a bit of the Pirates in that. Some very great position-player careers, like Cincinnati; but the Pirates' franchise high in wins is Wilbur Cooper with 202; and the HOFer who won the most games for Pittsburgh (a convoluted criterion but you see the logic in it – greatest all-time-great to stay there very long) was Jack Chesbro: 70 wins, the last of them in 1902.

No wait, I'm wrong: Vic Willis, 89, last one in 1909.

No wait, Pud Galvin, 126, 1892.


My favorite Pirates trivia is that while their record in World Series outcomes is identical to the regular season W-L percentage of the 1927 Yankees, their record in World Series games is below .500. They've played in five World Series game sevens, and have yet to lose a single one.
   15. Dolf Lucky Posted: May 23, 2022 at 01:00 PM (#6078131)
Of course, most franchises don't have a 300 game winner. One, there aren't that many of them to begin with, and two, most of the 300 game winners swapped teams at least once.

That said, the Reds are still in last place among the original 16 franchises in terms of all-time wins leaders:

Twins/Senators 417 Johnson
Giants 372 Mathewson
Braves 356 Spahn
Athletics 284 Plank
Orioles 268 Palmer
Guardians 266 Feller
White Sox 260 Lyons
Cardinals 251 Gibson
Phillies 241 Carlton
Yankees 236 Ford
Dodgers 233 Sutton
Tigers 223 Dauss
Pirates 202 Cooper
Cubs 201 Root
Mets 198 Seaver
Red Sox 192 Clemens/Young
Reds 179 Rixey
Blue Jays 175 Stieb
Mariners 169 Hernandez
Royals 166 Splittorff
Angels 165 Finley
Nationals/Expos 158 Rogers
Astros 144 Niekro
Rangers 139 Hough
Diamondbacks 118 Johnson
Brewers 117 Slaton
Padres 100 Show
Rays 87 Shields
Rockies 86 De La Rosa
Marlins 81 Nolasco

I know that won't format correctly, but whatever. #12 is correct, in that some of the weak pitching numbers from Cincy is bad injury luck. Add Gary Nolan to that list.

Finally, I'll give credit to baseball-reference for the data listed above. I'll also note that I'm old enough that I can remember when pulling the same data would have been doable in half the time. That site bounces around from ad activity so much that (insert inappropriate joke here). Now get off my lawn.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 23, 2022 at 01:02 PM (#6078132)
Interesting that the Reda have never had a 300 game winner given their long history as a MLB franchise.
Luck of the draw; bad management decisions?


Luck of the draw. The Yankees don't have one either.
   17. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: May 23, 2022 at 01:09 PM (#6078133)
Injuries are a problem. So is trading Christy Mathewson for the corpse of Amos Rusie. (Never noticed this before - the only reason Rusie passed the 10 year mark required for the hall is those 22 terrible innings that he pitched in southern Ohio.) They were one bad trade from second place, and the Giants from dropping below CHW, with Carl Hubbell as their rep.

That site bounces around from ad activity so much that (insert inappropriate joke here).


This will help.
   18. sanny manguillen Posted: May 23, 2022 at 01:18 PM (#6078134)
The Pirates and Reds fortunes tracked each other for much of my life as a fan. As a kid, they each had a recent Series win, were still good but mostly for hitting. Took over their divisions in the 70s with offense and strong bullpens, multiple titles, then had a resurgence in the early 90s.

My favorite Pirates trivia is that while their record in World Series outcomes is identical to the regular season W-L percentage of the 1927 Yankees, their record in World Series games is below .500.


I believe this extends down to runs, including being outscored 55-27 in 1960.
   19. Dolf Lucky Posted: May 23, 2022 at 01:32 PM (#6078135)
The "greatest player in franchise history" conversation is interesting, in part, because there are a number of ways to define it. Bench is a very reasonable choice.

I at least have to note that Pete has 46% more runs created as a Cincy player than Bench (1805 to 1239). You can't create a peak argument for Rose, but his career length advantage is so large and he averaged 716 PA in his first 16 seasons with the club. Where you set the replacement value line matters a lot when choosing an answer to this question.
   20. Nasty Nate Posted: May 23, 2022 at 01:53 PM (#6078138)
My favorite Pirates trivia is that while their record in World Series outcomes is identical to the regular season W-L percentage of the 1927 Yankees, their record in World Series games is below .500. They've played in five World Series game sevens, and have yet to lose a single one.
It's the reverse for earlier stages of the postseason - when it's a win or go home game in the LCS or earlier, they are something like 2-8 (and they ended up losing the series anyway after those 2 wins).
   21. Mefisto Posted: May 23, 2022 at 03:00 PM (#6078144)
That Mathewson "trade" was always a sham and corrupt. The Giants basically parked Mathewson in Cincy temporarily over the winter for financial reasons and then "traded" to get him back. Lots of that stuff went on in those days (e.g. Louisville sending all its good players to Pittsburg). Mathewson was never on the Reds in any real sense.
   22. BDC Posted: May 23, 2022 at 03:12 PM (#6078147)
The Reds' luck with pitching injuries gets pretty fractal, right down to very small instances. Wayne Simpson was great for just four months and then it was over. That may stick in my mind because by midseason 1970, Simpson had been a star for a significant percentage of my life as a fan. The big NL pitchers of the day were Seaver, Gibson, Marichal, Simpson … then one was gone. But I guess that's not an uncommon fate.
   23. vortex of dissipation Posted: May 23, 2022 at 03:16 PM (#6078148)
All-time Reds team:

Bench C
Votto 1B
Morgan 2B
Larkin SS
Groh 3B
Rose LF
Pinson CF
Robinson RF


I'd put Tony Perez at third and live with the defense.

Perez had 45.6 WAR as a Red; Groh had 24.3. It's also hard to ignore the 287 home runs.
   24. rr would lock Shaq's a$$ up Posted: May 23, 2022 at 03:44 PM (#6078158)
The Pirates and Reds fortunes tracked each other for much of my life as a fan. As a kid, they each had a recent Series win, were still good but mostly for hitting. Took over their divisions in the 70s with offense and strong bullpens, multiple titles, then had a resurgence in the early 90s.


Yes--and they are still doing so now. Had the divisions been aligned more geographically in 1969, with St. Louis and Chicago in the West, and Cincinnati and Atlanta in the East, there would have been an intense Reds/Pirates "River Rivalry" from 1970-1975, with Philadelphia creating a three-contender division from 1976-1981 (and Montreal was good from 1979-1983 as well). Also, had the Reds been in the East, maybe the Seaver trade with the Mets doesn't happen. Reds/Dodgers really was a thing from 1973-1981, although it is not much remembered now.

As to the all-time team, I agree with #23. Tony Perez at 3rd. I also would maybe go Eric Davis over Vada Pinson in center, even though Pinson had the edge in career numbers and Davis was only a Red for a few years (if you go super old-time, you think about Edd Roush). As to greatest Red, peak is Morgan. But if I had to pick one guy, I go Bench. Awesome peak, great career, career Red, great hitter at a key defensive position. Barry Larkin is literally my favorite player ever, but I would go Bench.
   25. I don't want to talk about Rocco Posted: May 23, 2022 at 03:51 PM (#6078159)
Reds pitching history super interesting. Numerous impressive peak 3-5 year runs from Jose Rijo, Mario Soto, Jim Maloney and Bucky Walters. But one suspects from usage all broke down and were done sometimes before they even hit 30. Sure they kept pitching but were just guys taking up innings.
   26. Walt Davis Posted: May 23, 2022 at 05:22 PM (#6078176)
And Don Gullett didn't last long either. He was probably never at HoF-level but was the Pettitte of his day. Another guy the Reds brought to the majors at 19.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: May 23, 2022 at 05:27 PM (#6078177)
#5 ... with 468 Rbat, Votto indeed has a case as the greatest Reds (career) hitter.
   28. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 23, 2022 at 08:24 PM (#6078205)
The Greatest Red has to be Pete Rose.

Who do you think their fanbase would elect?
   29. Red Menace Posted: May 23, 2022 at 08:36 PM (#6078211)
The Reds fanbase would elect Rose in a landslide. As with all other elections the only solution is to wait for the baby boomers to die out.
   30. Darren Posted: May 24, 2022 at 10:42 AM (#6078277)
Votto seems pretty interesting beyond the field but then... Bench had the baseball bunch and Krylon and for interesting, it's hard to beat Rose.
   31. Darren Posted: May 24, 2022 at 11:05 AM (#6078280)
Also, RTFA. It's got a lot of Votto's history in there.
   32. Traderdave Posted: May 24, 2022 at 01:13 PM (#6078292)
Starting pitchers:
Hahn
Rixey
Walters
Luque
Rijo


Exactly 1 (one) born post war. That in a nutshell in the Cincinnati Reds
   33. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: May 24, 2022 at 01:53 PM (#6078298)
Reds pitching history super interesting. Numerous impressive peak 3-5 year runs from Jose Rijo, Mario Soto, Jim Maloney and Bucky Walters. But one suspects from usage all broke down and were done sometimes before they even hit 30. Sure they kept pitching but were just guys taking up innings.


Bucky Walters threw over 900 innings from ages 30-32 but was still an effective pitcher into his late 30s - led the league in wins throwing 285 innings at 35 during WW2, then a couple of good years as what looks like a rotation-stabilizer for Bill McKechnie - steady work but at 5-7 days rest. His SABR bio says Walters hurt his arm in late 1945, which might account for the more-sporadic duty.
   34. vortex of dissipation Posted: May 24, 2022 at 02:52 PM (#6078306)
Starting pitchers:
Hahn
Rixey
Walters
Luque
Rijo

Exactly 1 (one) born post war. That in a nutshell in the Cincinnati Reds


Tom Seaver will be remembered as a New York Met, and that's as it should be. But in his six years with the Cincinnati Reds, he was one of the best pitchers the team has ever had, putting up a 75-46 record, a .620 winning pct., and finishing in the top four in the Cy Young Award voting twice. In the fifty years that I've followed the Reds, Tom Seaver was without a doubt the best pitcher I've had the privilege to root for.
   35. dejarouehg Posted: May 24, 2022 at 05:30 PM (#6078332)
Gary Nolan had so much promise.

I'm sure the numbers don't say it, and I've never given Larkin enough credit, but I'd still take Concepcion over Larkin.

I'd put Tony Perez at third and live with the defense.
Good call, but his defense at 3B was nasty.

Good to see Vada Pinson get some mention. A grossly underrated player.
   36. rr would lock Shaq's a$$ up Posted: May 24, 2022 at 05:35 PM (#6078333)
The Reds fanbase would elect Rose in a landslide


No question about that.
   37. Hombre Brotani Posted: May 24, 2022 at 07:08 PM (#6078338)
I'm sure the numbers don't say it, and I've never given Larkin enough credit, but I'd still take Concepcion over Larkin.
Does Larkin ever get enough credit? I've always felt Larkin got lost in the shuffle between Ozzie/Ripken and Jeter/Nomar/ARod waves. He was just about always an All-Star, but never the superstar that those other guys were. He was such a modest guy, maybe he just didn't have the personality but, my goodness, he was so, so great.
   38. Adam Starblind Posted: May 24, 2022 at 09:49 PM (#6078354)
In terms of recognition, Larkin's problem was all the injuries. We know now that when you add it all up, he's a well qualified hall of famer. For much of his career though, he was thought of as an excellent player who was going to miss 20-60 games a year.

He also suffered from "good at everything, not dominant at anything." Excellent defender in the age of Ozzie, .300 hitter in the age of Boggs and Gwynn, a good base-stealer in the age of Coleman and Henderson, moderate power here and there but not a power hitter, etc.
   39. Booey Posted: May 24, 2022 at 10:08 PM (#6078358)
Speaking of Larkin, anyone else always thought it was weird that his HOF plaque doesn't mention his MVP? Seems like something that probably should have been noted. I can't think of any other recent* MVP winning HOFer whose plaque didn't even bother mentioning it.


* The really old timers plaques don't mention much of anything, so I'm not counting them.
   40. Ron J Posted: May 24, 2022 at 10:27 PM (#6078361)
#21 The story has many happy endings. Norfolk got the money. The guy who owned the Reds at the time of the trade ended up having to cut the check (he owned the Giants by the time the court case was over). And as a side note, Monte Ward represented Norfolk.
   41. Ron J Posted: May 24, 2022 at 10:49 PM (#6078363)
#35 There was a brief period where Jim Maloney was regarded as having the best stuff in the majors (non Koufax division). As good as he was in that 5 year run he was regarded as a mild disappointment. He had a fastball that threatened 100 (timed at 99.5 but given the timing of the day that could mean anything). Generally regarded as at least as fast as Koufax and with a plus curve. The difference between the two is that Maloney had too much movement on his very best stuff to be as consistent as Koufax was.

Apparently one of the last high fastball pitchers. Which is probably why when the injuries took the A+ fastball he was gone so quickly.

There's a couple of paragraph quote of Bob Friend in the Neyer/James book on pitchers where Friend specifically mentions Koufax and Maloney as the two pitchers who can get away with high fastballs.

"The only type pitchers who can get away with the high-riding stuff are guys like Sandy Koufax and Jim Maloney. How many pitchers do we have like Koufax and Maloney?"
   42. Booey Posted: May 24, 2022 at 11:19 PM (#6078370)
To add to #39 - and since I apparently have nothing better to do - I perused all the HOF plaques on BBREF for MVP winning HOFers and sure enough, Larkin's omission is unique amongst modern HOFers. None of the Hall's first decade of electees mentions their MVP's; the first one that does is Johnny Evers (elected 1946), and the last one that doesn't is Gabby Hartnett (elected 1955). But post 1955, every HOF MVP winners plaques mention their MVP(s)...except for Larkin's. Weird.
   43. Charles S. is pretty fast for an old guy Posted: May 25, 2022 at 09:53 AM (#6078395)
Guardians 266 Feller


Cy Young won 269 for Cleveland, but apparently the Spiders and the Indians were different franchises. I had not known that.
   44. Mefisto Posted: May 25, 2022 at 11:38 AM (#6078407)
#40: Yeah, but the Giants got stuck with Andrew Freedman, who ran the club into the ground before he finally sold it.

Tanking, perhaps. /s

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