Joey Votto is a borderline Hall of Famer and one of the greatest players in Cincinnati Reds history. But, is he the best Reds player to ever wear No. 19?
Joseph Daniel Votto is a borderline Hall of Famer. Don’t let Votto’s past two seasons detract from the entire body of work that’s made him one of the best baseball players of his era. Another year or two of above-average production may be necessary for Votto to secure a spot in Cooperstown, but has he already done enough to be considered the best Cincinnati Reds player to wear No. 19?
Anyone want to take a guess as to who wore the No. 19 before Joey Votto? Back in 2007, Jeff Conine donned the two digits on the back of his Reds jersey. After a fine career with the Florida Marlins, Conine found a home at age 41 in the Queen City. Conine started 49 games at first base that year before ending his career with the New York Mets.
Anderson Machado (2004-2005), Reggie Taylor (2003-2004), Bill Doran (1990-1992) and Wayne Krenchicki (1982) were a few former players to have worn the No. 19 during their time in Cincinnati. Former All-Star Joel Youngblood also spent his rookie season (1976) wearing the No. 19.
A lot of fans will remember that Tommy Helms wore the No. 19 from 1964-1971. Helms was the Rookie of the Year in 1966, won two Gold Gloves and went to two All-Star Games while a member of the Cincinnati Reds. Helms also managed the Reds following Pete Rose’s suspension and eventual placement on baseball’s ineligible list. Helms was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 1979.
Former All-Star Charlie Neal wore the No. 19 for Cincinnati during his final major league season. Cincinnati native Herm Wehmeier wore the No. 19 during two games in 1945. Another native of the Queen City, Dick Murphy spent six games with the Redlegs during 1954. Murphy saw just one at-bat during those six games, but struck out. He did, however, score as a pinch runner during his final game.
So, upon further review, it’s pretty obvious that Joey Votto is the best Reds player to ever wear No. 19. That said, we’ll give a little nod to former infielder Tommy Helms as well. Votto is among the Top 10 in team history in several offensive categories, including games played, hits, doubles, home runs and RBIs.
While two un-Votto-like seasons have created a section of Reds Country who feel that the six-time All-Star is overpaid, his body of work speaks for itself. Joey Votto is the best Cincinnati Reds player to ever wear the No. 19 and there’s not a close second. His jersey will eventually be retired by the club.