Cincinnati Reds: Dave Concepción is still missing from the Hall of Fame

Cincinnati Reds Dave Concepcion
Cincinnati Reds Dave Concepcion

It’s been said before, but for those of you in the back, former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Dave Concepción belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Dave Concepción was one of the greatest players to ever put on a Cincinnati Reds uniform. From 1970-1988, Concepción displayed a level of defense few have ever seen. At this time of year, when the Baseball Writers of America come together to elect another class into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Reds fans are often reminded of one of those they missed.

Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, and Tony Perez have been given baseball’s greatest honor by being elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Three of the four most prominent members of the Big Red Machine have been enshrined in Cooperstown. While Pete Rose‘s candidacy is not up for debate here, Concepción’s is.

We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves. The Venezuelan born Concepción appeared in nine All-Star Games, taking home the MVP Trophy in 1982. Concepción is a five-time Gold Glove Award winner, two-time Silver Slugger, and a two-time World Series Champion.

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In 2018, Alan Trammell became the 25th shortstop to be elected into the Hall of Fame. He was voted in by the Veteran’s Committee. Trammell’s statistics are not all that more impressive than that of Concepción. Trammell appeared in six All-Star Games, took home four Gold Gloves, three Silver Sluggers, and helped lead the Detroit Tigers to the 1984 World Series title.

Ozzie Smith, another phenomenal shortstop, is also in the Hall of Fame. No will deny that Smith’s 15 All-Star appearances and 13 Gold Gloves trump Concepción’s accolades, but the offensive numbers are eerily similar, if not better.

Over a 19-year career, the Wizard of Oz put up a career batting average of .262. Smith recorded 28 home runs, 793 RBIs, and swiped 580 bases, all while owning a career-OPS of .666. Concepción, not known for his offense either, hit 101 homers during his 19 years in the league, while racking up 950 RBIs, 321 stolen bases, and a career-OPS of .679.

In order for Davey Concepción to be elected into the Hall of Fame, it will have to be via the Modern Baseball Committee’s vote. Last year, Concepción didn’t even make the cut, while players like Dwight Evans, Tommy John, and Don Mattingly were among the finalist who failed to garner enough votes. Marvin Miller and Ted Simmons, received enough votes to get in.

Simmons, a talented catcher who spent 13 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, had a career-WAR (wins above replacement) of 50.3. That surpasses Concepción’s 40.1 WAR, owever, Harold Baines was elected into the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee with just 38.7 WAR, six All-Star appearances, and never once ranked higher than ninth in the MVP voting.

It’s puzzling sometimes how so many players from those great Cincinnati Reds teams of the 1970s can be left out of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Rose is absent from the Hall for obvious reasons, but George Foster certainly deserves consideration, as does Concepción.

Perhaps Concepción just played during the wrong era of baseball. Oftentimes overlooked by the wizardry of Ozzie Smith, how many Gold Gloves did Concepción miss out on after 1980 (the year in which Smith began his streak of 13 straight Gold Gloves)? After his retirement in 1988, baseball ushered in a new era of power-hitting shortstops with the likes of Barry Larkin and Alex Rodriguez.

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Dave Concepción will always have a place in the hearts of the fans throughout Reds Country. While it’s not Cooperstown, Concepción was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 2000, along with his manager Sparky Anderson. Concepción’s No. 13 was retired by the Cincinnati Reds in 2007.