As promised, each day of the month of January, the Blog Red Machine will honor a Reds great in history at that given number.
There were a few names on the list that were given consideration for the Number 2. For instance, current Reds shortstop Zack Cozart, former Reds outfielder ‘Neon’ Deion Sanders and the speedy outfielder from the middle 1980s, Gary Redus, all were given a look.
However, the number two honor goes to a Reds’ (1958 inductee) and MLB Hall of Famer (1986 inductee), who wore number two during the 1936 and 1937 seasons…catcher Ernie Lombardi.
Lombardi (nicknamed Schnozz by many) played a total of ten seasons in Cincinnati (1932-41), hitting .311 during that time, winning a batting title (.342) and National League MVP award in 1938, appeared in five all-star games (1936-40), and amassed 120 home runs and 682 RBIs as a Red. Lombardi sits behind Johnny Bench on the all-time list for HRs (120), hits (1238) and RBIs (682) for Reds catchers.
Though Lombardi was a skilled offensive player during that era, his defensive skill set was not as well noted. He led the league in passed balls eight of his ten years in Cincinnati and led the league in errors committed as a catcher during that same span. However, he did catch both of Johnny Vander Meer‘s no-hitters on June 11 and June 15, 1938. He wasn’t a defensive whiz, but by most accounts he was said to have handled the pitching staff well and called a good game.
Even though he wore a few other uniform numbers during his stint with the Reds, on January 2nd, in honor of the number two, we honor Ernie Lombardi as the greatest member in Reds history to wear #2. As a Hall of Famer, he will forever be remembered by Reds and MLB fans alike and we salute the man known as Schnozz.