This week’s respondents are Nick Carrington, Chad Dotson, Chris Garber, Bill Lack and Steve Mancuso.

Our Daily Reds Obsession: Who is your favorite Reds player since 2000?

Nick: Don’t make me choose! I loved Ken Griffey Jr. That swing is still one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. However, the constant injuries meant he spent more time rehabbing than patrolling center. I’ll go with Jay Bruce. My Reds fandom went into hyperdrive about the time he shot through the minors, and he was key to the long awaited playoff runs of 2010-2013.

I have two memories that stand out from Bruce’s Reds career. One was the Clinchmas home run of course. The other I saw in person.

I attended a game against the Diamondbacks early in Bruce’s career. In the 10th inning of a 1-1 game, the D-backs had Justin Upton on third and one out. The batter hit a fly ball into right center that Bruce tracked down moving to his right. He was facing the bleacher seats, and I thought the game was lost. He quickly pivoted and threw a laser to home plate, gunning down Upton and preserving the lead. The Reds would win in the bottom of the inning.

Chad: Is there any acceptable answer other than Adam Dunn? Okay, I’ll accept Joey Votto as an answer, too, but we’re talking “favorite” Reds player, not “best” Reds player. And for me, that’s Dunner.

The players I gravitate towards as my “favorite” often tend to be guys who, in my mind, receive more than their share of undeserved criticism from Reds fans. (I’m looking at you, Edwin Encarnacion.) Dunn struck out a lot and his defense wasn’t great, so the mouthbreathers who call into talk radio and get mad online blamed Dunn (and Ken Griffey Jr.) for the fact that the Reds were lousy in the early 2000s. I chose to celebrate Dunn for the things he did well, and there were many of them. He’s fourth on the Reds all-time franchise list in home runs (270), and is in the franchise’s top 20 in runs scored and RBI. He ranks third among all Reds hitters in SLG and OPS, and 7th in on-base percentage.

Plus, he was just fun to watch at all times. I look forward to witnessing his induction into the Reds Hall of Fame someday.

Chris: There have been some incredibly entertaining Reds players in the last couple decades. Joey Votto’s mastery is a nightly pleasure. Billy Hamilton is someone you’ll never see again. Same with Chapman. Aaron Harang was the hero Reds fans deserved after years of mound dreck. Bronson Arroyo is a witch.

But I still enjoy Adam Dunn the most. His humor, his self-awareness, the joy he seemed to take in being a part of the Cincinnati Reds (as distinct from playing baseball, which I’m not sure he actually liked all that much.)  The guy’s nickname was The Big Donkey, and he seemed to enjoy it. And of course, his power was a thing that made you gasp. Actually, it just made me laugh in disbelief.

Bill: I’d have to say, Adam Dunn. He came through the organization with such offensive hype that it wasn’t a matter of “if” he was going to come up, but when. He’d hit 32 homers in AA and AAA before getting called up in late July 2001, then hitting 19 more for the Reds. Five years in a row of hitting 40+ homers for the Reds (and walking over 100 times in those same years) and never having an OBP below .350 for the Reds. But it always seemed that the media concentrated more on his shortcomings (defense and striking out) than his strengths. I also really enjoyed his sense of humor (the banana phone story and the time he left Jr’s car in George Steinbrenner’s spot in Tampa) and reporters always said that he would never duck them and always shouldered the blame when deserved. Just seemed like a good, honorable man doing the best he could. I like that.

Steve: Players I’ve enjoyed enough to go to games just to watch them: Paul Janish, Drew Stubbs, Shin-Soo Choo, Mike Leake. I’d put Jay Bruce and Homer Bailey on a higher tier. Those two are players I’ve watched a long time and really appreciate their games. I loved watching Jay Bruce play RF in Great American Ball Park. Homer Bailey thrilled me when his velocity increased as the game went on. I hope he gets back to that this year. But my answer to this question is Joey Votto. Not just because he is the best player the Reds have had since 2000, but because of his mastery of his craft. It’s a wonder to watch his thoughtful approach to hitting. I have to say my admiration of him has deepened in the last few years.

34 Responses

  1. Ethan L

    I’m a firstbaseman, so naturally I like other firstbasemen. For me, it’s 1) Votto and 2) Casey.

    I even got a Sean Casey model glove back in the day. I also remember getting a Votto shirt at the beginning of the 09 season and declaring to my father that Votto would be something great.

    Give me one more year and Winker might make that list too–even not being a firstbaseman.

    • Matthew Habel

      Casey was my parent’s favorite player so naturally he was mine as well. I still remember feeling really bad for him in 2004 getting stuck at 99 RBIs. Still a pretty awesome year for him though. .210 ISO with a 5.7% strikeout rate!

    • Brock

      Yep. The same. I have always gravitated toward first basemen. First it was Mark McGwire in the mid-late 90s, then Casey, now Votto.

      • Reaganspad

        You of course mean Hal Morris, Casey and Votto

        Any mention of a Cardinal is a typo

  2. GW

    Joseph Daniel Votto. Clearly the best player since 2000. But also, thoughtful, highly intelligent, introspective, principled and overall unique MLB player. He may be my favorite Red of all time.

  3. TR

    The favorite for me would be Adam Dunn since he combined athletic talent with a sense of humor. As a slugger, he struck out a lot but he also knew how to work the count and got on base often with a walk which sometimes frustrated the fans.

    • sultanofswaff

      When Dunn first came into the league he was very athletic and possessed a cannon for an arm. I remember seeing him hit a dinger over the scoreboard in rookie ball. That same rookie team had Gookie, Kearns, DeWayne Wise, and Corky. So much talent for that level.

    • Sandman

      Just like Votto’s ability to work the count and get on base via a walk also frustrates some reds fans. What’s that about people? Geez.

      • TR

        It is puzzling because walks often upset the opposing pitcher more than hits do. And a walk is a runner-on-base and a potential run.

      • Sandman

        TR, walks aren’t exciting enough I guess.

  4. IndyRedMan

    Always a sucker for underdogs….give me the Four Horseman of temporary over-achievement….Jerry Hairston Jr, Jeff Keppinger, Sammy LeCure, and Adam Duvall. Hopefully Adam will have a longer run of success? As far as exciting goes….give me both ends of the trade…Josh Hamilton and Edison Volquez. They could make it look easy when they felt like it!

  5. Scott Carter

    We have so many to choose from, right now for me it is Joey simply because I know he is going to have a good At Bat always. Previously it has been Jay Bruce, Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, Chris Sabo, Eric Davis, Ryan Freel, The whole Big Red Machine (who could chose one) Leo Cardenas (Just fun to watch) and Frank Robinson.

    • Reaganspad

      I love me some Scott Sullivan and the frisbee

  6. cfd3000

    Counting down to the top:
    3) Billy Hamilton who does things on the field and especially on the base paths that I’ve never seen before and may never see again. A bit of a bust as an all around player but so much fun to watch run. I was sitting behind the first base dugout in late September this year when he got picked off first – and scored. Amazing.
    2) Adam Dunn. He’s literally the only player I ever rooted for to hit a home run every time he came up, and actually thought he might do it. Add in his self awareness and his innate understanding of how ridiculous all the Adam Dunn criticism AND the Adam Dunn hype both were and he was just a joy to follow.
    1) Joey Votto. I have seen Aroldis Chapman throw harder than any man alive. I have seen Billy Hamilton run faster than anyone in the game. I saw Barry Larkin make the whole game slow down and look so easy. And even though I followed the Reds back then, I never got to really immerse in the wonder of Johnny Bench revolutionizing what it meant to be a catcher, or Tom Seaver showing how an all time great power pitcher rules the diamond. But none of those can compare to the day to day pleasure of the body of work of Joseph Daniel Votto, professional hitter. He’s amazing at the plate, every time. I won’t go over that ground in detail again. Add to that his unique perspective on baseball, hitting, teammates, celebrity, and life and he might be my favorite Red ever. May he play and play well longer than Tom Brady!

  7. Sandman

    Easy one here. No surprise that it’s Joey Votto (but he’ll be the last favorite I have as well).

  8. Sandman

    Thank god one of you picked Joey Votto. To tell you the truth I was surprised most of you went with Dunn. Dunn was cool & alright and I loved his power. But Votto’s awesome. Not only can he hit but he improved his defense enough to be a Gold Glove finalist. So now he can do it on both sides of the ball. Plus, I think he has shouldered his fair share of the blame as well. How can the best not be your favorite? Everybody’s different I guess. To each his own.

    I will say though that there were a handful of players on those playoff teams from 2010-2013 that I liked a lot (just not as much as Votto…hence why he wears the label as my favorite player). But I still didn’t want to see them go in yet another dreadful rebuild attempt.

  9. G L

    Wow, Larkin isn’t much on people’s radar. People forget…

    • TR

      Barry Larkin. It’s tough to forget one of baseball’s all-time complete players.

      • Reaganspad

        He got it from Bobby Cox but I see it did not stick like it did for Dunn

        I stand corrected

    • cfd3000

      Barry Larkin is probably my favorite Red of all time, with Joey Votto, Johnny Bench and Eric Davis not far behind. But Larkin’s heyday was not in the 21st century so I don’t think he’s been jilted in being left off these responses. But don’t think I’ve forgotten about Larkin.

      One of my favorite memories of following Larkin was that he didn’t get his first grand slam until very late in his career, and I think when he got it he was the active leader in at bats without a slam. I was traveling in Asia in, I think, late spring – 2001, gone for two weeks with no live baseball, but checking box scores every day. One morning there was a box score where Larkin’s line was 4 – 1 – 1 – 4. Sure enough at the bottom of the box it showed that Larkin had finally done it. I was hooting and hollering with no one to understand my excitement. When I got home one of the first things I did was dig back to the game recaps,and stories of how his teammates went nuts for him. He was a complete player, and was and still is a gentleman, and a great ambassador for the game.

  10. DHud

    Corky Miller. Hands down.

    Fear the ‘stache

  11. kmartin

    On a purely emotional level Aroldis Chapman. On a more rational intellectual level Joey Votto.

  12. gusnwally

    Well I have mentioned on here b4 that Jay Bruce was my favorite player since Big Klu. But moments ago I was reading about Chadwick Tromp. 1st time I ever heard of him, and he is already my new favorite. Chadwick Tromp, Chadwick Tromp, have I died and gone to heaven. W.C. Fields would absolutely love him.

    • TR

      I hope Chadwick Tromp is a part of what makes the Reds great again.

  13. gusnwally

    Steve, you used the word admiration for Joey Votto. Excellent choice of words. I probably would have struggled to find the correct wording to express my feelings on Joey. You nailed it right on the money.

  14. Doug

    How quickly everyone forgets about Brandon Phillips. Not a single mention in all the posts. Billy Hamilton and Joey Votto as well. Still can’t believe Billy got hosed again on Gold Glove.

    • Doug

      I was speaking only of Brandon Phillips in my initial statement. Mentioned Hamilton and Votto only as an aside, not in comment to the article.

  15. bouwills

    Not the best, or most valuable , or even very popular (especially on this site) but by all means Adam Duvall. An all-star in his 1st full ML season, a gold glove finalist in both ML seasons, tied for 19th place in all of ML in 2016 with 70 xbh & tied for 14th in 2017 (alongside Votto) with 71 xbh while having type 1 diabetes. Adam has demonstrated perseverance, the ability to overcome obstacles, dedication to working hard at his craft, & is a great teammate by all accounts I’ve heard of. He’s a winner & exactly the type of player that attracts me to following the game.

  16. Justin Adams


    Then Larkin, Boone, and Dmitri and Pete Harnisch.

    I also liked Chris Stynes and Brady Taylor a lot. And Wily Mo.