Monday, June 29, 2020

They Played for the Reds?

I was thumbing through my Reds binder the other day and got inspired. I found several ideas for posts and started immediately pulling and sorting cards out for posts. The biggest thing I realized is how many people have played for the Reds that I forgot played for the Reds, like Dan Straily shown above.

That's what this post will be about.

It's also inspired by the "Short Term Stops" and "Zero Year Cards" series posted by Nick over on his Dime Boxes blog. To avoid him coming after me with a copyright claim, I'm going to lump those types of cards into one group I'll call "Unfamiliar Uniforms".

This may or may not be an ongoing series with other teams. I'm not sure yet. What this will be is several players that either I forgot played for the Reds, didn't know played for the Reds, or had a super short stint with the team.

David Wells joined the Reds from the Tigers as part of a 1995 trade deadline deal that sent C.J. Nitkowski and Mark Lewis to Detroit. He complimented an already strong Reds pitching staff and went 6-5 in 11 starts. In the playoffs, he went 1-1 beating Hideo Nomo in Game 3 of the Division Series. After the season, he was traded off to the Orioles around Christmas.

Another pitcher the Reds got via trade was Lee Smith. He arrived in Cincinnati around Memorial Day 1996 via exchange with the Angels who got Chuck McElroy in return. Smith appeared in 43 games for the Reds, going 3-4 with a 4.06 ERA. 

Speaking of closers, Jeff Reardon spent the 1993 season with the Reds sans his trademark beard thanks to a long-standing team policy of no facial hair. The 1993 club was a last place team and Reardon led the relief corps in appearances with 58 games and finished second in saves on the team with 8.

Joining Jeff Reardon on the 1993 Reds squad was longtime Phillies infielder Juan Samuel. Until I found this card in the binder, I had no idea he even played for the Reds. He and Bip Roberts split time at second base for the season, after which Samuel departed for the Tigers.

Did you know Ruben Sierra played for the Reds? Don't worry ... I'd forgotten that too. It was a brief 25-game stint at the beginning of the 1997 season. He was released in mid-May after only hitting .244 in 96 plate appearances.

The Reds must've been hurting in 2007. That or I wasn't paying much attention because I don't remember either Jeff Conine or David Ross playing for the Reds. Conine played most of the season as the primary first baseman and a few appearances in the outfield before being traded to the Phillies in August. Ross spent parts of three seasons (2006-2008) as the primary backstop for the team sharing time with other luminaries as Javier Valentin, Paul Bako, and Chad Moeller.

I'll close with this Vince Coleman card. I found this in a dime box at a flea market several years ago and my mind was blown. I had no idea Coleman was ever a Red but apparently it was for the first part of the 1996 season (what is it with the Reds and aging outfielders in the late 90s). His stats were nothing notable (.155 batting average) and was released in mid-June after only 33 games.

As I mentioned, not all encompassing and there are tons more cards I found in my Reds binder that fit this category. Maybe there will be a part 2 coming soon.


  1. I remember Reardon going to the Reds and having to shave off that beard. He still doesn't look right!

  2. I remember Straily and Smith playing in Cincy... but the rest was news to me. I think the biggest shocker is Coleman. Never would have guessed that.

  3. All great picks, and Vince Coleman in particular is a top-tier Short Term Stop for me! I had no idea he played for the Reds until I found that '96 Fleer card many years ago. Interestingly, though, it's not even his weirdest stint -- his six games with the Tigers in '97 probably takes that honor.

  4. I remember Jeff Conine with the Orioles but definitely not with the Reds.