Cincinnati Reds had five fans growing up who never played for Cincinnati, but should have

Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Reds have five former MLB players that watched the team growing up that slipped through their fingers.

Here are the five best local players that never played for the Cincinnati Reds.  Some are famous throughout baseball and others aren’t.  There were plenty of good MLB players to play in Cincinnati, both as Reds and not.  Among those from Cincinnati that did play for the Reds are Dave Parker and Pete Rose.

The players are listed in alphabetical order.

Jim Bunning

Jim Bunning was born in Southgate, Kentucky, five miles south of where the Cincinnati Reds play now.  He attended Saint Xavier High School which holds among its alums Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechley and also the current mayor of Cincinnati, John Cranley.  After playing baseball, Bunning was a two term Republican senator before retiring to private life.

As a baseball player, he is the only player enshrined in Cooperstown from Cincinnati who didn’t play for the Reds.  He was a nine time All-Star playing for the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies and also the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Therefore, his number 14 jersey is retired by the Phillies.

Lance Johnson

Lance Johnson grew up in Cincinnati and went to Princeton High School just north of the city.  He left Cincinnati to play his college ball at South Alabama.  In 1987 he was the MVP of the American Association playing for the Triple-A team of the Saint Louis Cardinals in Louisville.

More from Reds History

While he is best known for his time as a center fielder for the Chicago White Sox after leaving the Cardinals’ organization, he also played for the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, and New York Yankees.  His only All-Star appearance came in 1986, his first year with the Mets.  He played for the White Sox from 1988-1995, during which time he led the American League in triples four times from 1991 through 1994.

David Justice

David Justice grew up in Saint Bernard and went to Covington Latin School, where he was more well known locally as basketball guard.  Everyday on his way home from skill he past the Cincinnati Reds’ Riverfront Stadium.  His baseball skills began to flourish at local D-III college Thomas More.  Away from baseball he may be best known for being one of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful people and his marriage to Halle Berry.

On the field Justice had a decorated career, earning National League Rookie of the Year, replacing Dale Murphy as the everyday right fielder for the Atlanta Braves.  He went on to make three All-Star teams and win two World Series.  In addition to the Braves, he played for the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees before playing a single season for the Oakland Athletics that was memorialized in the infamous Moneyball book and movie.

Roger McDowell

Roger McDowell grew up in a western suburb of Cincinnati and went to Colerain High School, a school known nationally for their football program.  He left Colerain to attend Bowling Green State University three hours up I-75 from Cincinnati.  Off the field, he made an appearance with Keith Hernandez on a Seinfeld episode in 1992.

McDowell played for the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles.  He won a World Series in 1986 with the Mets, winning game 7 and keeping the curse of the Bambino in effect for a few more years.  After retiring in 1996, McDowell also coached the Braves’ pitching staff from 1996-2006.

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Kevin Youkilis

Kevin Youkilis is often regarded as the one that got away.  He went to high school at Sycamore, a public high school in a high middle class suburb.  Youkilis followed that up by attending the University of Cincinnati.  He was selected in the eighth round of the 2001 MLB draft.  At least, Youkilis’ ability to get on base earned him repeated mentions in the book made movie, Moneyball.

Youkilis spent his entire MLB career in the American League.  He played for the Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, and the New York Yankees.  He was also a three time All-Star and a two time World Series champion with the Red Sox.

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Youkilis played for 10 years at the MLB level.  He also won a Gold Glove at first base in 2007.  During that time, he set the since broken MLB record for most consecutive games without an error at first.