Best Cincinnati Reds Ever: Aaron Harang v. Billy Hatcher

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First Round Matchup No. 7 Aaron Harang v. No. 10 Billy Hatcher


The ace of the Cincinnati Reds for a half decade, Aaron Harang actually spent his first season and a half in the MLB with the Oakland Athletics. The only issue? He was on a staff that included Tim Hudson, Barry Zito and Mark Mulder — and Harang couldn’t compare. That was until he showed up in Cincinnati. Harang then tatted off back-to-back 200+ strikeout season including a 2006 season in which he lead the league in wins (16), games started (35), complete games (6) and strikeouts (216). He added a league-best 16 wins on an 80-win Reds team.

But over his final three years (2008-10) with the Reds, Harang won just six games in each of those seasons, led the league with 17 losses in 2008, and watched both his innings pitched and strikeout totals plummet. He pitched just 111 2/3 innings in his final season with Cincinnati and his strikeout-rate dropped by nearly two strikeouts per nine innings.

Even still, that doesn’t take away from Haring’s fourth-place finish in the Cy Young Award voting in 2007 when he finished behind just Jake Peavy, Brandon Webb and Brad Penny. And maybe of more value was Harang’s ability to dominate hitters on a bad — very bad — Reds team in a notoriously poor pitcher’s park. His efforts and high strikeout numbers unfortunately never amounted to any significant team success, but I’m sure the Reds would love to have a 2007 version of Harang right now.

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And of course … we can’t forget the husky 6-foot-7 righty and his itty-bitty stride to the plate during his windup. Maybe he’d have been firing his fastball at 100 mph if he wouldn’t have tip-toed toward the plate.


Billy Hatcher spent just 2 1/2 seasons in the middle of his 12-year career and didn’t produce any gaudy numbers. He had a 30-steal season and had just a .271 batting average — although higher than his .264 career mark — with the Reds. But he was a mainstay in the outfield for the World Series champion 1990 Reds.

And Hatcher wasn’t just along for the ride. Among a roster littered with talent, Hatcher may have had the best World Series of any of them. All he did was hit .750 (9 for 12) with five extra-base hits, two RBIs, two walks and NO strikeouts. That was after a 5-for-15 performance in the NLCS where he added a home run and two RBIs.

Hatcher was on the move yet again following a 1992 trade that sent him to Boston. He played just one full season after that before retiring after the 1995 season. Ultimately, Hatcher was a speedy outfielder who had a knack for putting the ball in play. He wasn’t the best player on the field, but a necessary one and that has been evident as he continues his role as a Reds base coach this season.

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