The 2012 Cincinnati Reds: Revisiting a Season That Could Have Been

Brandon Phillips and the Reds are NL Central champions. The team?s next challenge ? the playoffs ?
Brandon Phillips and the Reds are NL Central champions. The team?s next challenge ? the playoffs ? / Jeff Swinger via Imagn Content Services,

The 2012 Cincinnati Reds were one of the best teams in baseball that season. Based on record, the Reds 97 wins was just shy of the Washington Nationals 98 wins for the best record in the entire MLB. 

The season ultimately ended in disappointment. Blowing a 2-0 series lead in the NLDS, and losing three straight games at home to the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants. 

That series left Reds fans asking “what if?”. What if newly elected Hall of Famer Scott Rolen doesn’t bobble the ground ball in Game 3 that resulted in a 2-1 extra inning loss? Earlier in the game, what if Brandon Phillips doesn’t try going 1st to 3rd on a passed ball in the first inning? An inning where the Reds scored 1 run, that could have been 2. And of course, the Buster Posey grand slam in Game 5 off Mat Latos. 

Postseason heartbreak put aside, the 2012 season gave us fans plenty of memorable moments. It without question stands alone as the best Reds season since the turn of the century.

The Many Moments of The 2012 Cincinnati Reds

The 2012 Reds team was made up of a handful of notable players. Led by their three All Stars that season (Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, and Aroldis Chapman). Brandon Phillips also provided his flashy defense to go along with 18 home runs. Resurgent Ryan Ludwick tallied his second-best career season with 26 home runs and a .877 OPS.

The pitching staff wasn’t one to mess with either. A young staff composed of 19-game-winner Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, and Mike Leake to go along with the seasoned veteran Bronson Arroyo.

On May 13th, Joey Votto in what was one of his best seasons in his career, found himself in the history books. During a rainy Sunday Mother’s Day game, Votto hit three home runs. The third, a walk-off grand slam. Votto became the first player in MLB history with three home runs including a walk-off grand slam. 

During a week and a half stretch in late July, the Reds would go on a 10 game winning streak. The streak was made famous by longtime Voice of Reds Radio Marty Brennaman previously going on record by saying “ If the Reds win 10 in a row, I'll shave my head.” 

On September 20th, the Reds would become the first team to secure a playoff spot by winning their 91st game of the year. Just two days later they would capture the NL Central Division crown for the second time in three seasons. 

September 28th, just days before the regular season came to an end, Homer Bailey threw his first career No Hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 1-0 victory. Bailey would throw his second No Hitter the following year against the San Francisco Giants. 

While the Reds aren’t on track to win 97 games in 2023, some of the players in their current organization provide Reds fans with the hope they can get back to a season like 2012.

A young exciting pitching staff, with talented All Star caliber hitter. The hope will only grow bigger with rising prospects making their way onto the big stage. There will come a time Reds fans can feel the excitement like they did in 2023. It may just come sooner, rather than later.