New Reds HOF members

Sean Casey, Dan Driessen and John Reilly are now the newest members of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame. All were first basemen.

Casey was selected by the fans through the modern player ballot, while Driessen and Reilly were elected by the Veterans Committee, which is comprised of Reds Hall of Famers, media members, historians and Hall of Fame executives.

Casey played for the Reds from 1998-2005. Driessen was a member of the Big Red Machine and spent 12 seasons in Cincinnati from 1973-1984. Reilly was a 19th century player from 1883-1891.

Formal induction into the Reds Hall of Fame for the trio will be June 22-24, which includes a weekend of activities including an on-field ceremony at Great American Ball Park and a Hall of Fame induction gala.


They are all great players.

Somebody sell me on Driessen. Please.

Driessen was a very good hitter, somewhat productive (but just as much as Casey ever proved to be), and more-than-adequate defensively. While he is sometimes indirectly blamed for the beginning of the break-up of the Big Red Machine (his offensive potential made Tony Perez appear expendable, at least in the eyes of the infamous General Manager of that time, Dick Wagner), the truth is a bit more complicated. With Driessen at first, the team won a division title in 1979, competed deep into the 1980 season, and had the best record in the game in 1981, though that went unrewarded due to the crazy split-season arrangement of that strike-marred year, as those old enough to remember will recall with great consternation.

I don’t deny that Driessen was good, but I don’t know about HOF-level. Looking at the stats, it just doesn’t scream “team legend” to me. In the years that you mentioned, he averaged 108 hits, 13 HR, 61 RBI, and had a .254 BA. Sure, ’81 was a short year, so take those numbers out to a 162-game average, you have 136 H, 17 HR, 77 RBI. Still not eye-popping numbers. Perhaps it was his ability to hit doubles (25 average in those 3 years; 32 over a 162-game season). Over his Cincinnati career, his 162-game average was 142 hits, 27 doubles, 15 HR, 75 RBI, .270. Am I being too stringent? Expecting too much?

I will say that I am not old enough to know what Driessen’s fame level was like during his Reds years. Did he achieve Sabo-like popularity or receive Casey-like love?

I think the problem here might be rectified by a quick glance at the Hall recipients of any team hall, Red or otherwise. Generally, the threshhold gets set much lower than that of Cooperstown.

To answer your second part: no, Driessen never received Casey-like love, in part because he was always playing in the shadow of the Perez trade to Montreal. But I happen to think that the love for Casey was largely unwarranted, so I’m not sure where that leaves us. Same for the silly adoration given Sabo, who was really less than good overall. Also, remember that by the time Driessen was firmly ensconsed at first, Rose, Morgan, and, of course, Perez were all gone and Bench was only a shell of himself offensively. So there wasn’t in place a great line-up to feed off of and pad stats.

I understand the team-level HOF is a lower standard. Cesar Geronimo, Senior Griffey, and the aforementioned Sabo would never garner much support for Cooperstown, but I believe they belong in Cincinnati’s Hall. I just don’t see Driessen in the same light.

I have nothing against Driessen. I do not believe his inclusion in the Reds HOF will detract from the awesomeness of the museum at all. I just believe there are others that are probably more worthy at this point.

I think we’ll have to agree to pretty much disagree on this. I can see what you’re saying, but I feel the Hall should include representatives from every era of team history. Who better to represent the years right after the run made by the Big Red Machine? Soto, perhaps, but I’m almost certain he is already inducted. And while Concepcion and Foster played in some or all of those same years, they will always be most closely identified with the years right before and, again, they are already inducted. So I think it’s Driessen almost by default.

Yes, Soto is already in. I’m not sure who could be the position rep from the era if not Driessen, but I’m not sold on the idea that every era *has* to be represented.

As I said, his inclusion will not diminish the greatness of the HOF. I look forward to learning more about him in the next year.

Driessen began the run of 1st basemen who hit for average but weren’t big boppers. The Reds haven’t had a Tony Perez-like first baseman since. That’s not a knock on Danny or any of his successors; it’s just that the infield corners are power positions and GABP rewards hitters with long-iron range. I kinda wish we had some 1B/3B-men who could take advantage, like 40+ HR a year. Or has the 1B trend been to the Driessen types and Fielder is just a throwback?

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