Brandon Phillips had himself a game last evening. Cranking a grand slam (if you could see it though all that fog) and driving in a career-tying 6 RBI for the game. In the process, BP tied Joe Morgan as the Reds leader in home runs by a second baseman (152) and passed Morgan in RBI (615 to 612).
Nary a soul would dispute that #8 was one of the best to ever play second. As we heard during last night’s postgame comments, Phillips distanced himself from Joe.
But with BP having passed Morgan in a couple of offensive categories and tying him in another, it will inevitably bring about the question…
Could it be that BP is the best Reds second baseman of all-time?
Even as one that had the distinct pleasure to watch Morgan as a Red, I would retort with another question: Does it honestly matter?
We could mention that, in terms of bWAR, Morgan has crafted five of the greatest seasons in Reds history. Not just as a second baseman, but in all of Reds history by any player. Sure, we could dissect the all the stats.
We hear of all the different shortstops BP has had to play along side of, a fact that when fans enter into this discussion/debate, doesn’t get its due mention.
But look here. It’s a list of Reds that played the second base position between Morgan and BP (based on most games played at 2B for a season):
– Junior Kennedy (1980)
– Ron Oester (1981-1987, 1989)
– Jeff Treadway (1988)
– Mariano Duncan (1990)
– Bill Doran (1991-1992)
– Juan Samuel (1993)
– Bret Boone (1994-1998)
– Pokey Reese (1999-2000)
– Todd Walker (2001-2002)
– D’Angelo Jimenez (2003-2004)
– Rich Aurilia (2005)
Only Oester and Boone served as the Reds primary second baseman for more than two seasons. And how many of these players went to the All-Star Game? One, Boone in 1998.
Defensively, only Reese (2) and Boone (1) have won Gold Gloves. BP has three (some will argue he should have a fourth) and Morgan does own four. We are constantly amazed with BP’s athleticism and range. The wonderment of Morgan’s D was his smallish glove and
Only Bid McPhee (2,129), Oester (1,172) and Morgan (1,115) have played more games as a Reds second baseman than Phillips (1,093). BP should pass Morgan (22 games to tie) as well as Oester (79 to tie) by the end of this season.
And we will being seeing BP for a few more games as his current deal runs through the end of the 2017 season. He could have almost 1,800 games played by that time.
Honestly, here’s the plain and simple truth of it all. Reds fans have been truly blessed to have two players that play(ed) the same position that can earnestly be tabbed as the best of a Reds generation.
There’s Morgan for those who had the pleasure of watching the Big Red Machine such as myself. There’s BP for those of the current day, such as myself.
In other words, enjoy what you have or have had.
If your as fortunate as I have been in watching both, well, you truly have the best of both worlds.