Top 5 Cincinnati Reds killers since 1970: The hitters edition

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 8: Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates after being hit by a pitch to drive in the game-winning run against the Cincinnati Reds in the ninth inning at Busch Stadium on August 8, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 8: Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates after being hit by a pitch to drive in the game-winning run against the Cincinnati Reds in the ninth inning at Busch Stadium on August 8, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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Lance Berkman #12 of the St. Louis Cardinals bats against the Cincinnati Reds.
CINCINNATI, OH – MAY 14: Lance Berkman #12 of the St. Louis Cardinals bats against the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

2. Lance Berkman blasted 50-plus HRs versus the Reds.

The longtime Houston Astro may never receive a plaque in Cooperstown, but if Lance Berkman is ever enshrined in the Hall of Fame, he should have a member of the Reds pitching staff deliver his induction speech. As an NL Central rival for 14 years, Berkman’s havoc wreaked against Cincinnati pitching has reached near-legendary status.

A first-round pick of the Astros in the 1997 MLB Draft and the 16th selection overall, the Reds took Brandon Larson two spots ahead of Berkman. The Big Puma wasted little time reaching the big leagues. Making his debut in the summer of 1999, it would not be until the following season when Berkman would begin crushing Reds pitching.

Berkman hit his first of what would be an incredible 52 homers against the Reds on September 22, 2000, taking Scott Sullivan deep and putting in motion an avalanche of homers to bury the Reds in the future. For his career, he would slash .314/.431/.656 with a 144 RBIs in 174 games versus the Cincinnati Reds.

Astonishingly, the Big Puma had two seasons, 2002 and 2004, in which he hit nine homers against the Reds alone. The aforementioned 52 long balls are 13 more than he has against any other opponent. There’s one former Redleg who I’m sure holds a special place in Berkman’s heart.

Right-hander Jose Acevedo faced Berkman 13 times in his five-year career, and to call it a one-sided affair would be incredibly unfair to Berkman. The Big Puma took Acevedo deep the same number of times Acevedo actually retired Berkman, four. He would reach base nine times and finish with a slash line of .727/.692/1.818 against the overmatched Reds righty.

Berkman ranks second in OBP, OPS, and slugging for players who have faced the Cincinnati Reds at least 100 times over the last 50 years.  The only man who stands in front of him is the same man who stands in front of just about everyone else who played the game.