Pete Rose played 24 seasons, 14 of which were spent as an outfielder … but often part-time. He played first base, third base, shortstop, and second base, too. And he probably would have been a designated hitter if the National League had that rule in place during any part of his career.

So was he an infielder? An outfielder? Or both?

That third answer is the most accurate, because of all the things you can possibly say about Pete Rose, the one common denominator was that Rose was a gamer who would take the field wherever he was told to go, and that pliability served him well as a manager, too (when he was not gambling on his own team, an activity that has kept him out of the Hall of Fame).

But when it comes to historical Cincinnati baseball figures, it is hard to find anyone who was more beloved than the player known as “Charlie Hustle” on the Big Red Machine teams of the 1970s.

No, he has not aged gracefully. But in this corner of the Internet universe we are choosing to focus mostly on what he did on the field as a player rather than what he did off of it as a manager or how he strived to make money after he was given a lifetime ban from the game. One paragraph on that:

True story: While walking the labyrinthian hallways of Caesars Palace a decade ago, a peek into a sporting goods shop in a Vegas mall found Rose sitting at a table with a pile of merchandise atop it as he was awaiting customers who would pay for him to sign these items. Of all the strange things you can see in Vegas on any given day, that was right up there at the top.

For purposes of this list, we are considering him a “utilityman” rather than a pure outfielder.

Who are the Reds outfielders this 2023 MLB season?

Will Benson, TJ Friedl, and Jake Fraley are the regulars across the outfield for a Reds team that was neck-and-neck with the Milwaukee Brewers atop the NL Central before losing five of six to the Brew Crew in early July. However, Cincinnati is squarely in the wild-card race along with San Francisco, Arizona, Philadelphia and Miami, and the Reds still have three games remaining against the Brewers, beginning July 24. On a team with only one .300 hitter, these three outfielders have been OK nonetheless with batting averages in the .269 to .289 range.

Cincinnati Reds Outfielders History

When you are talking about the oldest franchise in all of baseball history, there are quite a few men who have roamed the outfields of the Union Grounds, Avenue Grounds, Bank Street Grounds, League Park, Palace of the Fans, Crosley Field, Riverfront Stadium, and the Great American Ballpark. We are talking about a franchise that began playing in 1869, when Ulysses S. Grant was President of the United States. So, yeah, there are many outfielders to choose from on this list.

Ranking the Top 10 Greatest Cincinnati Reds Outfielders of all time

  1. Wally Post

Years with Reds: 1949 to 1957, 1960-63
Career Stats with Reds: .266 batting average, 172 HRs, 525 RBIs​

On April 14, 1961, Wally Post hit one of the longest recorded home runs in baseball history at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The mammoth blast was estimated at 569 feet. The Wendelin, Ohio, native also hit the first home run in Dodger Stadium history. In 1967, Reds fans stuffed the All-Star ballot boxes and put Post and six teammates on the NL’s starting team. His most productive season came in 1955 when he hit .309 with 40 home runs and 109 RBIs -- all career highs.

  1. Edd Roush

Years with Reds: 1916 to 1926
Career Stats with Reds: .331 batting average, 47 HRs, 763 RBIs
Honors and Awards: Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee (1962) 

The Oakland City, Ind., native was a member of the Redlegs’ 1919 World Series championship team, and he hit .352 in both 1921 and 1922 as well as .351 in 1923. His 1919 championship came out of the famous Black Sox scandal series against Chicago, and Edd Roush maintained that Cincinnati would have won with or without the scandal. He later spent several post-playing career days as a coach with the Reds. When he died in 1988, he was the last surviving player from the Black Sox scandal series.

  1. Dave Parker

Years with Reds: 1984 to 1987
Career Stats with Reds: .281 batting average, 107 HRs, 432 RBIs
Honors and Awards: National League All-Star (1985, 1986), Silver Slugger Award (1985, 1986) 

A native of Grenada, Miss., Dave Parker was known as “The Cobra.” Although born in the South, he grew up near Crosley Field in Cincinnati and leaned how to play baseball in that old stadium’s parking lot. In 1985, he enjoyed his best season since winning the 1978 MVP with a .312 batting average and 34 home runs. He also led the National League that year with 125 RBIs, 42 doubles, 80 extra-base hits, and 350 total bases. Parker finished second in the 1985 National League MVP voting and won the first Home Run Derby. He later owned several Popeye’s Chicken franchises in Cincinnati for 25 years before selling them in 2012.

  1. Vada Pinson

Years with Reds: 1958 to 1968
Career Stats with Reds:
.297 batting average, 186 HRs, 814 RBIs
Honors and Awards: National League All-Star (1959, 1960), Gold Glove Award (1961)

Memphis, Tenn., native Vada Pinson’s first full year in the majors came in 1959, and he responded with big numbers. He had a .316 batting average and .371 OBP un 154 games. He also scored 131 runs (a league high) to go with 205 hits, 47 doubles (also a league high), 20 home runs, and 21 stolen bases. In 1961, while playing in all 154 games for a third straight year, Pinson had 208 hits (a career high and league high) in 607 at-bats, along with 101 runs, 34 doubles, 16 home runs, 87 RBIs, and a .343 batting average. Pinson’s 1961 Reds reached the World Series but were swept by the Yankees.

  1. Cy Seymour

Years with Reds: 1903 to 1906
Career Stats with Reds: .332 batting average, 26 HRs, 326 RBIs 

Cy Seymour is the Reds' career leader in batting average and holds the Reds' single-season record for batting average. Along with Babe Ruth, Seymour is the only player in Major League Baseball history with at least 50 home runs and 50 pitching victories. His .377 batting average in 1905 set the single-season record for the Reds, and his 325 total bases that season were a National League record through 1919. Seymour had a .332 batting average during his tenure with the Reds, which remains a franchise record.

  1. Ken Griffey Jr.

Years with Reds: 2000 to 2008
Career Stats with Reds: .270 batting average, 210 HRs, 602 RBIs
Honors and Awards: National League All-Star (2000, 2004, 2007), NL Comeback Player of the Year (2005), Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee (2016)

While his best seasons came with the Seattle Mariners, Ken Griffey Jr. was traded to the Reds and changed his number from 24 to 30 because that was the number his dad had worn in Cincinnati. Griffey Jr. signed a nine-year contract, exceptionally long for that era. From 2001 through 2004, he was plagued by a string of injuries, including season-ending injuries in 2002, 2003, and 2004. But on June 20, 2004, Griffey hit his 500th career home run with his father in attendance and tied his dad with 2,143 career hits. On July 30, 2008, Griffey hit his 608th career home run in his last game for the Reds.

  1. Ken Griffey Sr.

Years with Reds: 1973 to 1981, 1988 to 1990
Career Stats with Reds: .303 batting average, 71 HRs, 466 RBIs
Honors and Awards: National League All-Star (1976, 1977, 1980).

In 1976, Ken Griffey went 0-for-2 on the final day of the season to lose the batting title to Bill Madlock of the Cubs, and Griffey was criticized for trying to sit on his lead before entering the game after he heard of Madlock’s strong afternoon. Over the next four seasons, Griffey batted .318, .288, .316, and .294 with a total of 43 home runs. In 1981, the final season of Griffey’s first stint with the Reds, he batted .311 with only two home runs and 34 RBIs. Still, two World Series titles stand out.

  1. George Foster

Years with Reds: 1971 to 1981
Career Stats with Reds: .286 batting average, 244 HRs, 861 RBIs
Honors and Awards: National League All-Star (1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981), NL MVP (1977)

When manager Sparky Anderson moved Pete Rose from the outfield to third base, it opened up a spot for George Foster, a native of Tuscaloosa, Ala. Foster started in a platoon, but he soon won the everyday job with a .300 batting average, 23 home runs and 78 RBIs in 1975. With Foster a full-time left fielder, the final piece of the "Big Red Machine" was in place. The Reds won 108 games and the World Series that year, and repeated as champions in 1976, Foster batted .306 with 29 home runs and a major league-leading 121 RBIs to finish second in 1976 MVP voting behind teammate Joe Morgan. The following year, he hit 52 homers to finish atop the MVP voting.

  1. Eric Davis

Years with Reds: 1984 to 1991, 1996
Career Stats with Reds: .271 batting average, 203 HRs, 615 RBIs
Honors and Awards: National League All-Star (1987, 1989), Gold Glove Award (1987, 1988, 1989)

Nicknamed “Eric the Red,” Los Angeles native Eric Davis merged as one of the game’s elite players in 1986. He hit .277 with 27 home runs, 71 RBIs and 80 stolen bases that season. In 1987, Davis hit .293 with 37 home runs, 100 RBIs, and 50 steals to go with the first of his three straight Gold Glove Awards. When Davis first appeared in the major leagues, he was a rare five-tool player with home-run power as well as speed on the base paths. He made a habit of robbing home runs and elicited comparisons to Willie Mays.

  1. Frank Robinson

Years with Reds: 1956 to 1965
Career Stats with Reds: .303 batting average, 324 HRs, 1,009 RBIs
Honors and Awards: National League All-Star (1956, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1965), NL MVP (1961), Gold Glove Award (1958), Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee (1982)

Why the Reds ever decided to trade this beast of a player from Beaumont, Texas, remains one of the greatest mysteries in baseball trade history. In the first season, after he was traded to Baltimore, Frank Robinson went on to become the 1966 AL MVP and World Series MVP. He then won another title with the Orioles in 1970. Reds owner Bill DeWitt referred to Robinson as “not a young 30” when explaining the deal, which was not a good one. Robinson won the Triple Crown in 1966 and later became the only player to ever hit a ball completely out of Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.

He broke in with Cincinnati as a 20-year-old rookie in 1956, hitting .290 with 38 home runs (then a rookie record) and driving in 83 to win the NL Rookie of the Year award. He won the MVP in 1961, leading the Reds to the pennant after hitting .323 with 37 home runs and 124 RBIs. He had a better year in 1962, hitting .342 with 39 home runs and 136 RBIs and leading the league with 51 doubles and 134 runs. Here are the top 10 rookie seasons in Cincinnati Reds history.

Parameters of Ranking

Once again, when dealing with baseball’s oldest franchise, it is quite a duty to pare down the list of great outfielders to just 10 … which is why Pete Rose did not make the list. We went with championship winners, Hall of Famers, and players who did extremely remarkable things. Some of these players would have given the Reds even more championships if they had not been dealt away or allowed to leave in free agency.

Related: Top 10 best Cincinnati Reds catchers of all time


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