The Cincinnati Reds used a 12-game winning streak to climb into first place in the NL Central during the month of June, and reliever Ian Gibaut put together an 8-1 record in his first 40 appearances in large part because of the Reds’ penchant for late-game rallies. Gibaut is a household name only in his own household, and he is not even on the board for the NL Cy Young Award, where Arizona’s Zac Gallen is the favorite.

But baseball’s 2023 season is only at its midpoint, and the Reds are on the Betway board at +7000 to win their first World Series since 1990.

In Ohio, that would be known as an enticing wagering opportunity for those Reds believers who see the June streak as no aberration. Through the first week of July, the Reds led the National League with 107 stolen bases, and with baseball’s new rules changes encouraging that type of play, you just never know.

With the trading deadline still ahead of us, an opportunity exists for an ace starting pitcher to be brought aboard for a run at a title. And, no, it would not be the first time Cincinnati made a midseason move to try to win a National League pennant, as any Mets fan who remembers the 1977 “Midnight Massacre” trade of Tom Seaver to the Reds could tell you.

Who is the best pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds?

Record-wise, it is Gibaut. None of their starters has more than four victories, and an astonishing total of 32 players have thrown at least one pitch for Cincinnati this season. Starter Andrew Abbott has a 2.38 ERA and 4-1 record in seven starts with 48 strikeouts against just 29 hits allowed, and if he keeps that up for a decade, he might just make this list in the mid-2030s.

For now, he has Reds fans reminiscing about the best power pitchers who have ever played for them.

Famous Cincinnati Reds Pitchers

The Reds are the oldest continually operating baseball franchise in the majors, so there is a long list of pitchers to choose from, including many whose stats were accumulated in the dead-ball era prior to the early 1900s.

Ranking the Top 10 Greatest Cincinnati Reds Pitchers of all time

  1. Eppa Rixey

Years with Reds: 1921 to 1933
Career Stats with Reds: 179-148 record, 3.33 ERA
Honors and Awards: Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee (1983)

In his first five years with the Reds, Eppa Rixey won exactly 100 games for an average of 20 per year. Possessing an array of trick pitches, he played in the major leagues until 1922 and was the winningest left-hander in MLB history until Warren Spahn came along.

  1. Ewell Blackwell Years with Reds: 1942 to 1952
    Career Stats with Reds: 79-77 record, 3.32 ERA
    Honors and Awards: National League All-Star (1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951)

Ewell Blackwell pitched a no-hitter in 1947, a year in which he led the NL in wins (22) and strikeouts (193). A lanky 6-foot-6 sidearm pitcher whose delivery earned him the nickname “The Whip,” he came within two outs of pitching back-to-back no-hitters, but a grounder up the middle by Brooklyn’s Eddy Stanky went through his legs and into center field for a base hit.

  1. Johnny Cueto

Years with Reds: 2008 to 2015
Career Stats with Reds:
92-63 record, 3.21 ERA
Honors and Awards: National League All-Star (2014, 2016)

The Dominican native struck out 18 and did not walk a batter in his first two starts with the Reds, but he gained a reputation as a hothead. During a 2010 brawl, Cueto kicked St. Louis catcher Jason LaRue in the head, ending his career. He barely missed a 20-win season in 2012 when he lost his final start, but he finished that year with 242 strikeouts to tie Washington’s Stephen Strasburg for the National League lead.

  1. Johnny Vander Meer

Years with Reds: 1937 to 1949
Career Stats with Reds:
116-116 record, 3.41 ERA
Honors and Awards: National League All-Star (1938, 1939, 1942, 1943)

Johnny Vander Meer is the only player in baseball history to pitch back-to-back no-hitters, which he did on June 11 and June 15, 1938, with the latter coming in the first night game ever played at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. The feat earned him the starting nod in the 1938 All-Star Game. In 1941, he had six shutouts and led the league with 202 strikeouts. He played five seasons of minor-league ball after his career in the majors was over and tossed a no-hitter for the Tulsa Oilers in 1952.

  1. Dolf Luque

Years with Reds: 1918 to 1929
Career Stats with Reds: 154-152 record, 3.09 ERA
Honors and Awards: Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame.

If you ever read Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea,” there is a reference to Dolf Luque possibly being the greatest baseball manager in Cuban history. In 1923, he led the National League with 27 wins and an ERA of 1.93. Luque also led the NL with a 2.63 ERA in 1925. He was known as an adept mentor in the later years of his pitching career, and it is notable that he played in the majors during segregation because he was a light-skinned Cuban.

  1. Don Gullett

Years with Reds: 1970 to 1976
Career Stats with Reds: 91-44, 3.03 ERA

A first-round pick in 1969, Don Gullett had an outstanding rookie season, appearing in 44 games (42 in relief) with a 5-2 record and 2.43 earned-run average. He was a starter on the Big Red Machine championship teams in 1975 and 1976 before signing with the Yankees as a free agent, where his career was cut short by a shoulder injury. He went 26-7 in his two championship seasons with the Reds, and in an interesting note for numerologists, he surrendered career home run No. 660 to both Willie Mays and Hank Aaron.

  1. Noodles Hahn

Years with Reds: 1899 to 1905
Career Stats with Reds:
130-94 record, 2.55 ERA

Noodles Hahn was the last pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the 19th century and the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the 20th century. Hahn completed veterinary school while playing for Cincinnati and entered that profession after he retired from baseball. He worked out with the Reds on game days until he was almost 70 years old. In 1901 the Reds won only 52 games, and Hahn had 22 of the victories. He led the NL in strikeouts for three consecutive seasons. He was forced to retire young because of an arm injury but remained a clubhouse fixture for the Reds.

  1. Paul Derringer

Years with Reds: 1933 to 1942
Career Stats with Reds:
161-150 record, 3.36 ERA
Honors and Awards: National League All-Star (1935, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942)

Paul Derringer won 20 games for Cincinnati four times between 1935 and 1940, peaking with a 25-7 season in 1939 as the Reds won the National League pennant for the first time in 20 years. His 161 victories with Cincinnati are the club record for a righthander, and he was a member of two World Series championship teams. In 1940, Derringer pitched a complete game 2-1 victory in Game 7 of the World Series against the Detroit Tigers. He and Bucky Walters formed one of baseball’s more formidable 1-2 pitching platoons. On May 24, 1935, Derringer pitched the first night game in Major League history, with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt turning the lights on remotely from the White House.

  1. Jim Maloney

Years with Reds: 1960 to 1970
Career Stats with Reds:
134-81 record, 3.16 ERA
Honors and Awards: National League All-Star (1965)

Jim Maloney pitched no-hitters in 1965 and 1969, the latter of which was rather bizarre. Pitching the second game of a doubleheader against the Cubs in 1965, Maloney gave up 10 walks and hit a batter -- the most baserunners allowed in a no-hitter since 1901. He threw 187 pitches while striking out 12. In a 1969 game not officially recognized as a no-hitter, he struck out 18 in 10 hitless innings in a game that the Reds lost in 11 innings. If you want an asterisk game, there you have it. Maloney no-hit the Astros on April 30, 1969, and the Reds were no-hit the next day by Don Wilson of the Astros.

  1. Bucky Walters

Years with Reds: 1938 to 1948
Career Stats with Reds: 160-107 record, 2.93 ERA
Honors and Awards: National League All-Star (1937, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1944), NL MVP (1939)

In 1939, Bucky Walters completed 31 of 39 starts and went 27-11 with a 2.29 ERA while also batting .325 to help the Reds win their first National League pennant in 20 years. He went 22-10 with a 2.48 ERA the following year as the Reds repeated as NL champions. Walters then pitched two complete games against the Detroit Tigers in the epic seven-game 1940 World Series won by Cincinnati. In 1944, Walters went 23-8 with a 2.40 ERA. He is considered one of the best hitting pitchers (apologies to Shohei Ohtani) in baseball history, perhaps because he began his career as a third baseman before being converted to a pitcher. He remains eligible for Hall of Fame induction by the Veterans Committee.

Parameters of Ranking

When you are looking at a franchise with this much history (they were once known as the Red Stockings), there is a ton of data to pour through, and what we went looking for were pitchers who did extra special things, both on and off the field, and helped contribute to the franchise’s five World Series titles. Cincinnati is a major baseball hotbed to this day, and this year’s fantastic June winning streak has brought a level of excitement back to The Great American Ballpark of the kind not seen since the Big Red Machine Days of the mid-1970s, when this team was a powerhouse. However, Reds history also includes quite a bit of pre-World War II success, and we did not want to discount that, nor the 1919 championship team.


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