The number that the Great Bambino made famous, was not always bestowed on the most powerful players in Reds history. In fact, the number was seldom used up until recently. In light of the lacking number of candidates, it seems only right to name Ken Griffey Jr. as the all-time best Red to ever don the number three.
For his first six years in a Reds uniform, Junior wore the number 30 that his father made so famous in the Queen City decades before. As father time wound down on “The Kid,” he made the switch to the single digit and trekked over to right field to allow a young, up and comer named Jay Bruce to roam center field.
After an injury plagued 2006 campaign, the end was near for the sweetest swing the game has ever seen. He still drilled 27 homeruns in a shortened season, but the final swan song was imminent. After a last gasp of greatness in 2007 where he hammered 30 homeruns and hit over .275, he had played his last full season as a member of the Reds.
With the plethora of young stars being infused into the locker room, the perceived negative attitudes of Griffey and teammate Adam Dunn came under heavy fire from both the media and the fan base and all but sealed the fate of the men that clobbered moonshots into the right field sun deck. Later that summer, Junior was shipped to the South side of Chicago in exchange for Danny Richar and Nick Masset, the latter who proved to be a useful asset to the back end of the Reds bullpen throughout his injury-ridden injury.
Other candidates for the number were a collection of players whose scrappy mentalities and low salaries allowed for great turnover. The collection of players includes: Travis Dawkins, Ryan Freel, D’Angelo Jimenez, Willy Taveras, Chris Valaika, and Cesar Izturis. Not many of those names draw images of Reds grandeur, although Pokey Reese, the former wizard of second base, did garner a considerable sum of consideration.
Should Griffey Jr. ever be enshrined in Reds lore, it would more than likely be the number 30 hanging from the upper deck. It goes to show how brilliant the playing career of the former Reds Hall of Famer was that he will more than likely go down as not only the best #30 to play for the Redlegs, but also the best #3.