Why Joey Votto is the best first baseman in Reds history

The Reds declined Joey Votto's club-option this offseason, and a reunion seems unlikely.
Votto Tips His Cap to Fans at Great American
Votto Tips His Cap to Fans at Great American / Emilee Chinn/Cincinnati Reds/GettyImages

After 17 seasons, it looks as if Joey Votto's career with the Cincinnati Reds may have come to an end.

Over the course of his historical career, Votto brought the first MVP to Cincinnati in 15 seasons when he won the award in 2010. The slugger also notched five additional seasons in which he finished in the top 10 in NL MVP voting.

As Reds fans, myself included, are dealing with the fact that Votto is unlikely to return to Cincinnati, let's see where his 17 seasons rank among other first basemen in Reds history.

Joey Votto faces tough competition from Reds greats Ted Kluszewski and Tony Perez

To start, we need to look at two other famed Cincinnati Reds first basemen who are often mentioned when discussing the greatest of all-time. That would be, of course, Ted Kluszewski and Tony Perez.

Kluszewski played ten seasons in Cincinnati hitting .302/.357/.512 with 251 home runs and 886 RBI. Big Klu managed to finish second-place in the MVP race in 1954 to a young Willie Mays while leading the league in homers and RBI.

Perez played 16 seasons with the Reds over two stints, snagging seven All-Star nods and finishing as high as third in the MVP voting in 1970. Despite his prowess for hitting, Perez was in the top 10 for errors committed at first base six times during his career, leading the league with 13 in 1973.

Why Joey Votto is the best first baseman in Reds history

Spending his entire career with the Cincinnati Reds, Joey Votto has a Gold Glove Award, six All-Star appearances, and one MVP Award (and should've had two after his 2017 campaign).

Votto has a career OPS of .920 and is second all-time in home runs among Reds players behind only Hall of Famer Johnny Bench. Despite his regression over the past few seasons, Votto holds a career-OPS+ of 144 OPS+. Votto has shown he can hit for average and power, and has been priceless as a leader in the clubhouse and the community.

When it comes to Votto defensively, he is not without his woes. Votto has led the league in assists from first seven times and has ranked in the top 10 in putouts and double plays turned despite leading first basemen in errors in 2013 and 2020.

Joey Votto has proven that he was able to produce and be a star through years when he was the only offensive threat on the entire Cincinanti Reds team. For my money, Votto is the best Reds first baseman of all-time.