The Cincinnati Enquirer held a fan vote for the All-Time Cincinnati Reds team made up of players throughout the history of the organization. Some choices were a lot easier than others. Here was how the fan vote played out, position by position:

  • Johnny Bench – Catcher
  • Tony Perez – First Base
  • Joe Morgan – Second Base
  • Pete Rose – Third Base
  • Barry Larkin – Shortstop
  • Frank Robinson – Outfield
  • Eric Davis – Outfield
  • George Foster – Outfield
  • Jose Rijo – Starting Pitcher
  • Mario Soto – Starting Pitcher
  • Jim Maloney – Starting Pitcher
  • Don Gullett – Starting Pitcher
  • Johnny Cueto – Starting Pitcher
  • John Franco – Relief Pitcher
  • Aroldis Chapman – Relief Pitcher
  • Rob Dibble – Relief Pitcher

That’s not a bad team at all. I’d switch a few of those players for others – but it’s a team that has five Hall of Famers on it – including the gold standard at two different positions (Bench and Morgan at their respective positions).

Let’s have a fun little conversation this Monday afternoon. Who would make your All-Time Reds lineup? Feel free to explain why you would pick one player over the other in the more close calls at a given position.

48 Responses

  1. Rick in Va

    I would put Ted Kluszewski at First. He had four of the best years anyone ever had for the Reds before his back undermined his career. Only player in baseball to have four (I think) years in which his home runs exceeded his strikeouts. Nothing against Perez, but I think Kluszewski had a better peak and if Davis makes the team (which he should) despite an injury shortened career Kluszewski should too.

    • Doug Gray

      Joey Votto had a peak that was far better than either of them, both in how long it lasted, and how good it was.

      • Rick in Va

        Right. Somehow Votto slipped my mind! Kluszewski is underrated, though, because his career was cut short by injuries (and because a lot of fans are too young to remember him).

  2. curtis allen williams

    If we are getting players in their prime and peak, then Griffey Jr. has to replace either Foster or Davis. And Tom Seaver would have to be on the pitching staff.

    • Doug Gray

      I think the purpose is “Reds career”, more than peak or season or anything like that. But hey – we can do whatever the heck we want, can’t we? Yes. Yes we can.

  3. SultanofSwaff

    C Bench
    1B Votto
    2B Morgan
    SS Larkin
    3B Rose
    LF Foster
    CF Pinson
    RF Robinson
    SP Derringer
    RP Borbon

    I gave extra weight to total AB’s and IP when making my choices, especially when you’re looking at similar OPS or WHIP. This is why Pinson edged out Davis, and Derringer/Borbon get the nod over others.

    • Colorado Red

      The only reason, I would stick with Tony at 1st, is his clutch hitting.
      Including the blast in game 7 vs the Bosox.

    • Mike

      I agree with sultan’s picks across the board, except for his pitchers. I’d go with Maloney or Purkey as my starter. Maybe Carroll for reliever due to longevity

  4. GR

    Ed Roush in CF rather than George Foster

  5. Ryan

    The first baseman has to be Joey votto. I’m so sick of all the Votto hate. Tony Perez had 2 seasons in his entire career with an OPS+ above 155, Big Klu had 1. I know OPS+ isn’t a perfect formula, but no number is and it is probably as good as there is to judge hitting in their era. Joey Votto had at least an OPS+ of 155 in EIGHT (8) CONSECUTIVE SEASONS in which he played 100 games (09-17 without 14 due to only playing 62 games). How can you argue against Votto? Some other names who have done that (I am no researcher so I can’t encompass everybody): Pujols (10 to start his career), Ruth (2 different times), Ted Williams, Mike Trout. Some who have not: Hank Aaron, Tony Gwynn (only had 3 ever), Joe DiMaggio, Frank Robinson, Pete Rose, Bench (only 1 season), Joe Morgan

    He’s a historically good hitter who nobody talks about because a) his own fans don’t even support him b) hasn’t had many opportunities in the postseason. But please open your eyes and support the best Reds hitter of all time.

    • Doug Gray

      Feels like Votto gets more love and praise outside of Cincinnati than he does in Cincinnati. That said, I don’t think that happens much here at Redleg Nation.

    • RedNat

      I just think it goes back to the old hypothetical question.

      Bottom of the ninth , 2 outs, bases loaded, down by a run, if you could pick any red present or past, who do you want at the plate?

      Joey has put up great advanced statistics for a long time but he does not even crack my top 10 list of choices even in his prime. And I know the stats support that Joey is an excellent clutch player.

    • Colorado Red

      I understand all the stats, but Tony was on the best clutch hitter, clutch situations that I can remember.

      • Doug Gray

        He wasn’t.

        RISP: Votto had a 1.051 OPS. Perez had an .834 OPS.
        Men on: Votto has a .997 OPS. Perez had an .848 OPS.
        Late and Close: Votto has an .884 OPS. Perez had an .860 OPS.
        Tie Game: Votto has a .939 OPS. Perez had a .796 OPS.
        Game within 1 run: Votto has a .934 OPS. Perez had an .804 OPS.

        Votto is significantly better in every single area of what I think anyone would consider a clutch situation.

      • greenmtred

        I’ve always been a Tony Perez fan, and I believe that clutch is real, but the problem with evaluating it is that we remember the times Tony came through and forget the times he didn’t. Doug’s stats tell the story.

      • Justin

        Bench
        Votto
        Morgan
        Larkin
        Perez
        Rose
        Rousch
        Robinson

  6. Jeff Dunn

    I’d like to see how some of the “old guys” would do alongside this lineup. Pitchers like Bucky Walters, Ewell (The Whip) Blackwell, Paul Derringer. And Edd Roush in the outfield. They provided a lot of the ammo when the Reds won the 1919 and 1940 World Series.

  7. RedsFan11

    I am “younger” as in young enough to not know the Big Red Machine, but old enough to never witness a World Series in 29 years of living. That said to Doug’s comment I’m going to do whatever I want and just pick my favorite Reds players from this century:

    1B: Votto: Greatest Red ever
    2B: Brandon Phillips: I mean I can’t even think of another 2B he was here so long
    SS: Larkin: Favorite Red of all time
    3B: Frazier: Fly Me to the Moon

    LF: Adam Dunn: Grand Slam Walk off
    CF: Ken Griffey Jr: I remember my teacher in 5th grade letting us watch his first at bat as a Red it was such a big deal when he came to town
    RF: Jay Bruce : Clinchmas

    Bench: Sean Casey, Ryan Freel

    • Doug Gray

      That’s right – this is YOUR team. You get to pick it based on the criteria you want.

  8. Stock

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

    DH Foster, Heinie Groh

    SP1 Derringer
    SP2 Rijo
    SP3 Noodles Hahn
    SP4 Dolf Luque
    SP5 Jim Maloney

    RP1 Dibble
    RP 2 Chapman
    RP 3 Norm Charlton

  9. RedNat

    if we could choose a peak year (as a red for each position)

    rf- Dave Parker-1985
    cf- Veda Pinson-1959
    lf- George Foster- 1977
    3b- Tony Perez- 1970
    ss- Barry Larkin 1996
    2b- Joe Morgan 1976
    1b – Big Klu- 1954
    c- Johnny Bench- 1970
    sp- Mario Soto- 1982
    closer- John Franco- 1988

    great topic Doug

    • ohiojim

      I like that someone else also got to Perez at 3B vs 1B.

      Probably controversial to say this but Rose’s position on a team like this might be the super sub. As a person who lived through it all, Rose was the example of “if he hits, they’ll find a place for him”. He bounced from 2B to OF (multiple seasons at both corner positions) to 3B (and after he left the Reds 1B). Pretty much every time he moved it was to make way for somebody more valuable to the team at the position he moved from than he was.

      • ohiojim

        Obviously if we adopt current Al rules, Rose is the DH on this list.

      • Stock

        Harsh comments and most importantly not correct.

        In 1967 Rose moved from 2B to LF, Tommy Helm moved from 3B to 2B and Tony Perez came up to play 3B. You can argue Perez was better than Rose but no way was Tommy Helms ever better than Rose. From 1967-1971 Tommy Helms had a WAR of 2.5. Pete Rose had a WAR of 25.0. Rose’s average annual WAR in these five year was twice Helm’s accumulative WAR.

        In 1975 it was clear that Foster and Griffey were clearly better than John Vukovich. Sparky called Rose into his office and asked if he would consider a move to 3B so he could get Foster’s bat into the lineup.

        Rose’s response: I will do whatever it takes to make this team better. The move was made. I Rose says no then Foster has limited playing time in 1975. But Pete Rose was all about winning. And if you don’t believe me ask Ray Fosse.

    • Stock

      I like Rijo (1993) over Soto but really close.

      I have differences at closer Chapman was fantastic in 2012. Clearly the the choice over Franco.

      In the OF you need to include Frank Robinson’s 1962 Season. Rose played RF in 1969 and am torn between him and Pinson (1963) as OF #3. If you are going by actual position and not just 3 best OF then

      LF Foster (1977)
      CF Pinson (1963)
      RF Robinson (1962)

      Like your differentiation from Doug’s list

  10. Joseph Menninger

    c Johnny Bench
    1b Ted Kluzewski
    2b Joe Morgan
    SS Barry Larkin
    3b Heinie Groh
    LF Vada Pinson
    CF Edd Roush
    RF Frank Robinson
    C Ernie Lombardi
    inf/of Pete Rose
    1b/3b Tony Perez
    ss/2b Dave Concepcion
    of Eric Davis
    of George Foster
    SP Eppa Rixey
    SP Paul Derringer
    SP Dolph Luque
    SP Noodles Hahn
    SP Jim Maloney
    RP Bucky Walters
    RP Tony Mullane
    RP John Franco
    RP Clay Carroll
    RP Danny Graves
    RP Adrolis Chapman
    RP Rob Dibble

  11. Greenfield Red

    This is the first time I’ve compared Eric Davis’ Cincinnati numbers to Ken Griffey Jr’s. Both played 9 years here. OPS is .877 to .876. Many other stats are remarkably close. However, to me it’s Davis head and shoulders over Griffey.

    Davis came up through the Reds’ system and didn’t cost any prospect capital. Not only was the Griffey trade expensive in terms of prospects, Griffey’s contract was an albatross at the time.

    My personal bias also favors Davis. I know he missed many games here, he played more than Griffey in 9 years, and to me Griffey was out of shape an uninterested in the last half of his time here.

  12. Scott C

    I think I would put Votto in at first. I love Tony Perez but Votto has been so good for a long time. I also hate to see Gary Nolan left off the list and how come Norm Charlton doesn’t get any love. He was truly the nasty boy. But really not much to argue about on the list.

  13. redfan4life

    I am going with a 25 man roster.
    Starters

    1. Rose 3b I put him there because we are weak at 3B as a franchise.
    2. Votto 1b
    3.Morgan 2b
    4. Robinson rf
    5. Bench c
    6. Foster LF
    7. Davis CF
    8. Larkin ss

    Bench
    C Lombardi
    1b-3b Perez
    SS Concepcion
    2b Phillips
    CF Pinson
    LF Dunn we need some LH power
    RF Sanders

    Starters
    1. Maloney
    2,Rijo
    3. soto
    4. Gullett
    5. Cueto

    Chapman is the closer period
    setup Dibble
    Setup Franco
    Middle relief Borbon
    Middle relief Carroll
    Long man Browning
    10 man staff old school like it used to be.

  14. Melvin

    I have to say for the most part I have no problem with the list. However, as much as I love Tony Perez, Votto may be the best all around hitter the Reds ever had. Marty Brennaman even said as much as I recall when he said Pete Rose had more hits but Votto is a better hitter. When it comes to Eric Davis he was one of the best all around players I’ve ever seen when healthy but putting him over Ken Griffey Jr., a nearly unanimous first ballot Hall Of Famer? Come on now.

    • redfan4life

      Davis over Griffey 100 times out of a 100 for me. Griffey as a Mariner different story.
      But Griffey as a Red only I pick Davis every time.
      Davis for a brief short period of time. IMO was better than Griffey. Now I said only for a very short period. I am talking before Griffey was even in the majors.

      • VaRedsFan

        Agree with Eric the Red over Jr. (as a Red)

      • Melvin

        Well that’s okay of course. Everyone has their opinion. That’s what makes this fun. I’m certainly not going to argue about Davis. He was awesome and I liked him a lot! One thing about Griffey that we all seem to forget since he didn’t live up to our expectations with the Reds because of injuries. That is even with all of those injuries he still put up pretty good numbers while here ( .270 AVE – 210 HR – 602 RBI). Those numbers alone would have at least put him in the Reds Hall Of Fame.

      • Greenfield Red

        Melvin, I agree with what you say about Griffey except that I remember it feeling more about a lack of preparation and conditioning more than injuries…. or maybe a lack of conditioning and care that exasperated the injuries.

        Just google ‘Ken Griffey Jr images’. The years he is in a Seattle uniform he’s in descent shape. The images that come up from his years in Cincinnati he has an average American belly just like most of us. He was not in the condition that a superstar baseball player needs to be in.

      • Melvin

        Hey. You may be right. It’ s hard to tell about that part. There are things to consider here though. For one thing when he first entered the league he was just a “kid” and hadn’t grown into his “man” body. The difference in uniforms and how they looked could have possibly effected his appearance as well. We always have to remember too all of those years playing hard on artificial turf just wore his body out (which also caused Davis problems as well). You probably recall that he is the main reason Cinergy Field (I still like to call it Riverfront) switched to grass the last year of its existence. It’s funny though that I find myself defending him in that Eric Davis was my favorite player. I always said he was the best all around player I ever saw when completely healthy which was, of course, very rare. It’s just that when you have to talk about the BEST Reds eight of all time I have to, in my mind, put Griffey Jr. over Davis even though I’d honestly like to do otherwise. Either way though, that would be one ELITE EIGHT playing together. I’d take my chances with them playing against any team in history. WOW! What a team that would be. LOL

        Rose 3B
        Votto 1B
        Morgan 2B
        Griffey Jr./Davis CF
        Foster LF
        Bench C
        Robinson RF
        Larkin SS

  15. redfan4life

    Not sure why everyone thinks Perez was the greatest CLUTCH HITTER the Reds has ever had. HE wasn’t.
    I love Tony Perez. But the reason he had 90 plus RBIs for several years in a row was he had. Rose and Morgan hitting in front of him and Bench behind him. Rose and Morgan were on base all the time. Hence the 90 RBIs for Perez.
    Kinda like 2013 Choo and Votto on base all the time so Phillips with his 100 RBIs.
    Marty and Thom kept saying how CLUTCH Phillips was with all those RBIs. He was not clutch.
    Votto over Perez all day everyday on any kind of all time Reds list.

    • VaRedsFan

      People like to remember a player coming up big in big situations. Did you have a big game changing hit. Did you get the hit that put the team ahead late in the game. Both BP and Perez did that. Votto has great OBP in those situations, but it seems he’s never the Sportscenter guy that’s hitting a 3 run walkoff HR highlight reel type of player. In JV’s defense, he hasn’t had a huge opportunity in the playoffs. I do recall Votto having a 3 HR game vs. the Nats ending it with a slam.

  16. Tim Killian

    Many historical players are not represented. The Reds don’t have a ton of great 3b options, but at 3b Rose is not the best. I think Heinie Groh. Also, agree a few better CF options in the form of Pinson or Roush. I would take either over Davis. Also, from a starting pitcher perspective, you need Noodles Hahn, Tom Seaver, and Dolf Luque.

  17. NorMichRed

    Here’s my try at an all-time team. I must start by saying I’ve never seen any Reds players either live or on TV before roughly 1960. I may have done a disservice to some like Eppa Rixey, Ewell Blackwell, Heinie Groh, Ival Goodman, among others.

    Starting Nine:
    C Bench, no one close
    1B Votto, the superior metrics speak for themselves, even though I’m a Doggie fan
    2B Morgan, no one close
    SS Larkin
    3B Rose, placed here by default and lack of great 3B, I’m and NL fan and no DH
    LF Roush
    CF Davis, one of the handful of true 5-tool players I’ve gotten to see
    RF F. Robinson
    SP Maloney, I wonder what he’d have done on a consistently better team

    And the rest of my 25-man roster (10 pitcher roster, old school!)

    SP 2 Rijo
    SP 3 P. Derringer
    SP 4 Gullett
    SP 5 Noodles Hahn
    CL Chapman
    Late RP 1 Dibble
    Late RP 2 Charlton
    Mid RP 1 Borbon
    Mid RP 2 Carroll
    IF 1 Perez
    IF 2 Kluzewski
    IF 3 Concepcion
    OF 1 Pinson
    OF 2 Foster
    OF 3 Griffey Sr.
    C 2 Lombardi
    MGR Sparky
    GM Howsam
    Radio PXP M. Brennaman (I remember and liked Jim McIntyre as a solid # 2)
    Radio Color Nuxhall (He & Marty as a tandem, absolute must for me)
    TV PXP Grande (by default, still open, no one named Thom need apply)
    TV Color Welsh
    TV Features Day

  18. gusnwally

    I agree with Vada 3 there is no reason to argue Davis vs Griffey. Vada Pinson should be the man anyway. Watching his seasons with 200 hits, 20 doubles 20 hr’s and 20 steals was remarkable. Only man to have done it 3 times. He could do it all. In most eras he would have won 1o Gold Gloves, but he was going against Willie Mays so that was a done deal.

  19. greenmtred

    I saw him, and he was great, for sure. Center is a very strong position for the Reds all time.

  20. Dewey Roberts

    Your father was my favorite Reds player of all-time. He was a great player. I remember he hit .343 (I think) in 1961.

  21. curtis allen williams

    So do we all think our all time Reds team could contend for the all times team World Series?

    • Doug Gray

      No. The pitching staff simply isn’t good enough.

      • Melvin

        Although our “Elite Eight” could probably play with any lineup, I’m sure you know what you’re talking about with the pitching. Can you give some examples? I’m sure it would be interesting. Thanks.

      • Doug Gray

        The Dodgers could run out Kershaw, Koufax, Drysdale, Vance, and pick your #5 among a slew of incredibly good pitchers. The Reds can’t match that.

        The Braves could go with Maddux, Smoltz. Glavine, Spahn, Nichols. There’s not even room in their rotation for Phil Niekro, a Hall of Famer.

  22. My Beloved Reds

    I was born in 67. I saw the BRM play. They were my childhood heroes. I can’t do an all time Reds Team, as I didn’t see Klu, Roush, and Vandermeer, etc play. So, I decided to do a my lifetime Reds Team. Keep in mind the following criterion:
    * I only took into account their Reds career
    * This is position specific. In other words, the best at a position.
    * I did not allow career shortening injuries to eliminate a player from consideration unless it happened after one year. No one year wonders.
    * based on a 25 man roster

    Starting Lineup:
    Pete Rose – 3B
    Barry Larkin – SS
    Joe Morgan – 2B
    Joey Votto – 1B
    George Foster – OF
    Johnny Bench – C
    Jay Bruce – RF
    Eric Davis – CF

    Five-man Rotation:
    Don Gullett
    Tom Seaver
    Mario Soto
    Jose Rijo
    Johnny Cueto

    Bullpen:
    Clay Carroll
    John Franco
    Randy Myers
    Rob Dibble
    Norm Charlton – long relief/6th starter for double headers
    Aroldis Chapman – closer

    Bench:
    C – Jason LaRue
    1B – Tony Perez
    IF – Davey Comcepciom
    IF – Brandon Phillips
    OF – Ken Griffey, Sr.
    OF – Adam Dunn

    Manager – Sparky Anderson
    Bench Coach – Jack McKeon
    3B Coach – Lou Piniella
    1B Coach – Davey Johnson
    Hitting Coach – Dusty Baker
    Pitching Coach – Bryan Price

    GM – Bob Howsam

  23. Redleg Bob

    This 28 man team is 1970 to current:

    C – guy named Johnny Bench
    1B – Joey Votto
    2B – Joe Morgan
    3B – Pete Rose
    SS – Barry Larkin
    LF – George Foster
    CF – Eric Davis
    RF – Ken Griffey
    SP – Don Gullett
    SP – Mario Soto
    SP – Tom Seaver
    SP – Jose Rijo
    SP – Johnny Cueto
    RP – Clay Carroll
    RP – Pedro Borbon
    RP – Rawly Eastwick
    RP – Randy Myers
    RP – Rob Dibble
    RP – Norm Charlton
    RP – Aroldis Chapman
    Bench – Tony Perez, Brandon Phillips, Chris Sabo, Dave Concepcion, Cesar Geronimo, Dave Parker, Jay Bruce, Ryan Hanigan