The Indians this week signed free agent Yonder Alonzo to play first base, which led many to repeat the word “surprise” made famous by the late Jim Nabors in his role as Gomer Pyle. After all, Alonzo is a former member of the Reds, a team the Indians have often turned to when looking for players.
Some of the transactions have worked well for Cleveland, but recently it has been the Reds who have benefitted more from the ex-Indians. Cincinnati practically pilfered All-Star second baseman from their Ohio rival, and just a few years later the Reds landed center fielder Shin soon Chop in exchange for struggling outfielder Drew Stubbs.
This year the Indians are hoping Cincinnati product Alonzo can lead them back to the playoffs for third straight season, but history has shown that ex-Reds have rarely made much of an impact in Cleveland. Here is a roster of former Cincinnati ball players who later went North to join the Indians.
Starting Pitcher, Dave Burba
Dave Burba spent three seasons in Cincinnati, which then traded the Dayton, Ohio native to Cleveland for the next four years.
Starting Pitcher, Ross Grimsley
The lefthander was a member of the rotation of the Big Red Machine of the Seventies, moving 300 miles up the Buckeye State in 1980.
Closer, Danny Graves
Danny Graves excelled as the Cincinnati closer until he was shipped to the Indians in 1996.
Catcher, Eddie Taubensee
Eddie Taubensee became the regular backstop in the Queen City until 2000, when he began a short tenure at the park near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
First Base, Edwin Encarnacion
Double E had some success in Cincinnati before becoming a coveted slugger in Toronto, and he flexed that same kind of power with Cleveland in 2017.
Second Base, Orlando Cabrera
Orlando Cabrera was Phillips’s double play partner at Great American Ball Park in 2010, but he departed to the northern part of Ohio the following season.
Shortstop, Leo Cardenes
Leo Cardenes served as the slick middle infielder for Cincinnati before moving to Cleveland in 1973.
Third Base, Aaron Bone
Aaron Boone moved to the Indians in 2005 after playing with the Reds for most of his career.
Left Field, Frank Robinson
The Hall of Fame legend spent his first six years with the Reds before that infamous trade to Baltimore, and he spent his last three with the Indians.
Center Field, Vada Pinson
Vada Pinson started with the Reds in 1958 for eleven seasons, later spending two years with the Indians.
Right Field, Jay Bruce
The slugger was an All-Star for the Reds before helping the Indians to the American League Central championship last year