Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

June 22, 2014

AARON SNYDER: Readers, let 'Reds Madness' begin

ASHLAND — There’s little argument that Northeastern Kentucky is Reds Country.

If some of The Independent’s older readers weren’t in love with the longest-standing Major League Baseball club before the 1970s, most fell head over heels for the Big Red Machine nearly 40 years ago.

For some of the young pups out there, we fondly remember 1990’s wire-to-wire season and the roller-coaster ride that followed.

Given the sweltering heat of summer is firmly in place, it’s time to spark those cheap-seat and back-porch debates about who the greatest Reds of all-time are.

By the All-Star break, our readers will have spoken.

In the NCAA Tournament spirit, our three-man full-time sports staff — Rocky Stanley, Zack Klemme and I — decided back in April that we would assemble a March Madness-style project involving some of Cincinnati’s best baseball players.

After extensive discussion and research, we’ve carefully placed 32 position players, 32 pitchers and eight managers in brackets, seeding them according to how they performed while in a Reds uniform.

“Reds Madness” celebrates players and managers of the last 80 seasons. The “modern era of baseball” is technically anything since 1900, but we decided to draw the line at 1935.

To qualify for a spot in the bracket, players/managers had to spend at least two full seasons in a Reds uniform.

Inevitably, some will question our seeding. Some may even ask: “Who is Paul Derringer?” By the way, he had 223 career wins. Needless to say, he’s legitimate.

Why is Tom Seaver a 2-seed? He did most of his damage of hitters with the Mets. Why is Johnny Vander Meer a 4-seed? While he threw back-to-back no-hitters, he did have a losing record overall.

Now to the most important question: How do you vote?

We will include a cut-out ballot in every sports section from today through July 6. Voting ends on July 7, so we will collect them through July 9, allowing time for those who choose to mail in votes.

The bracket will be published again on June 28 and July 6 and a few other times within the voting window. It will also be available on our website and on Facebook — more on that below.

On the ballot, you will personally rank the Reds’ top 12 position players, top 12 pitchers and top four managers.

It’s important to rank them, because those in the Nos. 1-3 spots will earn four, three and two points, respectively, for their votes. Nos. 4-12 will each receive one point.

You will not vote based on the matchup seen in the bracket. For example, both Eric Davis and Adam Dunn can be in your top 12 position players, even though they are first-round “opponents.”

Players will advance through the bracket based on the total points they tally throughout the voting period. For example, if Joe Morgan has more total points than Dave Collins, he advances into the Sweet Sixteen, and so forth.

Winners will begin being revealed, round by round, after all the votes are counted. By the All-Star break, we’ll have a Final Four. At the end, we will reveal the total points for each player involved in the bracket based on votes.

Please do not vote for anyone not in the bracket. If you think we left someone out, just send me a nasty email containing your complaint.

A great point of reference for statistics is baseball-reference.com.

Send votes via mail (The Independent, re: Reds Madness, P.O. Box 311, Ashland, KY 41105-0311), email (asnyder@dailyindependent.com), fax (606-326-2678) or post your rankings on “The Independent’s Reds Madness” Facebook page.

Now it’s up to you! Knock it out of the park!

AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.

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