Cincinnati Reds’ managers get a shot at Hall of Fame induction

Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Reds see former managers Lou Piniella and Davey Johnson earn Hall of Fame consideration.

The Cincinnati Reds’ last World Series winning manager, Lou Piniella, is under consideration for the Hall of Fame under Today’s Game Era ballot based on impact in the last thirty years for managers who have managed at least ten seasons.  Piniella managed for the New York Yankees, Reds, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays, and Chicago Cubs.  He has won 1835 games as a manager, good for 14th best all time.

Piniella was the first full-time manager after Pete Rose was suspended for life from baseball.  In between the end of the Rose era and the beginning of the Piniella era, long time coach Tommy Helms managed 64 games.  Under Rose the Reds seemed just short of the play-offs, but under Helms they seemed undermanned.

When Piniella took over, there was immediate hope in Cincinnati.  Most impressive of the Reds’ 1990 World Series was their wire-to-wire domination of the National League West.  They won their first game of the season and never looked back.

Piniella only stayed in Cincinnati for three seasons.  Piniella went 255-231.  He had one losing season sandwiched in between a pair of 90 win seasons.  The Reds were only one game worse in 1992 than they were in their 1990 World Series winning season.  Piniella led the Mariners and Cubs to the playoffs, but never made it back to the World Series.  This season he returned to the Reds as an instructional consultant.

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Davey Johnson made his name with teams besides Cincinnati in his historic career as a manager.

Johnson managed the Reds from 1993 through 1995.  In 1995 the Reds made the playoffs for the first time since their 1990 World Series victory.  These playoff runs connect the managers in Reds’ history regardless of the voting outcome.

Johnson managed the New York Mets, Reds, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Washington Nationals.  He led all of those teams to the playoffs, except for the Dodgers.  He led the Mets to the 1986 World Series victory, including the unforgettable Billy Buckner play against the Boston Red Sox.

The 1995 Reds were led by shortstop Barry Larkin, outfielder Reggie Sanders and closer “Cowboy” Jeff Brantley, who is currently a radio announcer for the Reds.  The team went 85-59 with second place Cy Young finalist Pete Schourek leading the team with 18 wins.  After sweeping the Dodgers in the divisional round, the Cincinnati Reds lost in the NLCS 4-0 to the Atlanta Braves.

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The voting for Johnson and Piniella will take place on December 5.  It takes 75% of the votes to win induction.  Both have a good chance of making it, but they are up against iconic owners George Steinbrenner and Bud Selig.  Bryan Price may be gone by then.