The last time we checked in on the Reds, they had the best record in the National League, but were getting robbed out of playoff appearance due to the playoff settings in the strike shortened year of 1981. In 1982, they fell all the way down to being the worst team in the National League. Not only did the Big Red Machine breakdown in 1982, this was the only Reds team in history to lose over 100 games and the worst percentage wise since the 1937 Reds.
It's hard to give an MVP award to an offensive player on this team. This team really had an awful offense. Cesar Cedeno led in batting average with a .289 average. Dan Driessen led the team in home runs (17), co-led in RBIs with Cedeno (57!), OBP and SLG percentage. But they were very dismal numbers. To give you an idea how bad, the Padres were a .500 team and Driessen would've been 2nd in home runs on that team, but 6th in RBI.
The pitching side wasn't much better. Only one pitcher who had at least 46 innings of work had a winning record, and that was Mario Soto. Tom Seaver even went 5-13 on this team. Soto had a 14-13 record, but had a 2.79 ERA to go with 274 strikeouts. He definitely was the ace of the pitching staff and also was the MVP of this team.
Rookie Card of the Year
It seems like the Reds have more local players on their team then any other (Pete Rose, Barry Larkin come to mind), and even though he was from Columbus, Eddie Milner would probably have to be considered another one of these local kids. His rookie card was in the Topps Traded set.
Although he was one of those players whose career probably got derailed by cocaine use in the 1980s, he was a solid speedy outfielder throughout the '80s for the Reds and one year for the Giants.
Most Interesting Non-Topps Card
Another player born in nearby Columbus, Paul Householder was looked at as a great prospect for the Reds going into the 1980s. He was a regular for this team in 1982. He improved his numbers in 1983, but was never more than a part time player after 1983 playing for the Cardinals, Brewers, and Astros.
Householder was on the Reds prospects card in the Topps set in 1981. He had solo cards in the 1981 Fleer and Donruss sets. Even though he came up in 1980 and had solo cards in other sets, Topps still put him on the Reds prospects card in the 1982 set. Again, he had his own card in the 1982 Donruss and Fleer sets. He wouldn't get his own Topps card until the 1983 set.
Note: Another former top prospect was traded to the Reds in December of 1981, Clint Hurdle. He appeared in only 19 games for the Reds, and did not have a card in the traded set. His 1982 card showing him in a Royals uniform is listed here.
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