The next second round matchup in our “Best Red Ever” tournament features baseball’s highest vote getter into the Hall of Fame and one of the best individual World Series performances — both for the Cincinnati Reds.
Ken Griffey Jr.’s first round win (96 percent) over Jonny Gomes in our Best Cincinnati Reds Ever tournament — along with a detailed write-up — can be found here.
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Ken Griffey Jr. was maybe the best player in baseball with the Seattle Mariners for the first decade of his Hall of Fame career. But he wasn’t too bad with the Cincinnati Reds in the next 8 1/2 years either. In his first season with the club as a 30-year-old in 2000 all Junior did was hit 40 home runs with 118 RBIs — both team highs that season by a wide margin.
He was an All-Star in that first season while playing 145 games. It was downhill from there as Griffey’s knees were shredded from his time on Seattle’s turf and his no-regard-for-his-body style of defense. However, for as much flak as Griffey caught from Reds fans at the time — largely due to signing the largest contract in team history and producing mixed results — he did hit 20+ home runs in six of his seasons in Cincinnati including two additional 30-homer seasons after his inaugural 40-HR campaign.
— ranks eighth in career home runs (210) with the Reds
— ranks 26th in career RBIs (602) with the Reds
— ranks fifth in career SLG (.514) with the Reds
— ranks sixth in career OPS (.876) for the Reds
— three-time All-Star selection
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.
— hit .750 with no strikeouts during the 1990 World Series
— posted a 30-steal season
— World Series champion
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Maybe the best player baseball has ever seen (albeit not all with the #Reds) battles an underrated player and coach!
— Blog Red Machine (@blogredmachine) June 21, 2016