With March Madness in full effect, we are holding Cincinnati Reds Madness. Leading up until Opening Day, Blog Red Machine will post matchups of all-time greats and let you, the readers, decide who is the greatest Reds player of all-time.
In the third of our four first-round matchups, the Hit King goes head-to-head with one of the most underrated players in Major League Baseball history. As Reds Madness continues, today’s contest features two Cincinnati Reds‘ greats as No. 2 seed Pete Rose goes up against No. 7 seed Dave Concepción.
This is one of the most interesting matchups of this hypothetical bracket or Cincinnati Reds greats in that, even though both Rose and Concepción have had their numbers retired by the organization, neither is in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Both for different reasons.
Pete Rose, who was born in Cincinnati, played for his hometown Reds from 1963-1978 and was a key member of the 1975 and 1976 World Championship teams. Rose won the National League MVP in 1973, a year in which he led the league in hits (230) and batting average (.338).
Rose left for Philadelphia and later Montreal following his success with the Reds, but returned home to Cincinnati in 1984 to close out his career as a player/ manager. On September 11, 1985, in front of a packed house at Riverfront Stadium, Pete Rose connected on his 4,192nd career hit, breaking Ty Cobb‘s record.
Pete Rose, one of MLB’s all-time greats, will likely never see his name enshrined in Cooperstown. On August 25, 1989, Rose voluntarily accepted a permanent place on baseball’s ineligible list after accusations arose about him betting on baseball. He later admitted publicly, in 2004, that those allegations were true.
Dave Concepción’s exclusion from the Baseball Hall of Fame is a lot different. One of the best shortstops to ever play the game, and certainly one of the two best to ever play for the Cincinnati Reds, Concepción has never received the accolades that he so richly deserves.
Concepción, a native of Venezuela, spent his entire 19-year professional career in the Queen City. He was a nine-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner during his career and was also part of the Big Red Machine that took home two World Series Championships during the 1970s.
Davey Concepción will never blow anyone away with his offensive statistics, hitting .267 for his career with only 101 home runs. Concepción did, however, take home the MVP of the 1982 All-Star Game in which he hit a two-run homer helping the NL walk away with a 4-1 victory.
Concepción perfected the one-bounce throw to first base with his teammate Tony Pérez. Concepción took advantage of the artificial surface at Riverfront Stadium and would often times bounce the ball to Pérez at first base on one hop.
Both Rose and Concepción have merit for making it into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but the odds appear long that either will ever reach that pinnacle. So, who do you got? Which of these Cincinnati Reds’ Hall of Famers should advance to Round 2 of Blog Red Machine’s “Reds Madness”?