1991 Cincinnati Reds season

7 11 2011

In 1991, the Reds were coming off a historic season where they’d claimed a wire to wire division title and a 4-game sweep of the juggernaut Oakland A’s in the World Series.  They had the majority of the team back, but just couldn’t muster up the same magic from the 1990 season – the team finished 74-88, 5th place in the NL West.

The promise of young star Eric Davis was over after the 1990 season – Davis, who had always been injury prone, played in only 89 games, hitting .235.  Joe Oliver, Billy Hatcher and Todd Benzinger also had declines in the 1991 season compared to the World Series year.  The Nasty Boys weren’t quite so nasty – Rob Dibble took over the closer role after Randy Myers was ineffective, and the Reds tried to move Myers to a starting role toward the end of the year.  This was due to the fact the starting pitching wasn’t nearly as good as the year before.  Jack Armstrong pitched more like the 2nd half version of himself from 1990, and Tom Browning had an ERA over 4.

The Reds still had a very good offense – they scored the 4th most runs in the league, behind only the Cubs and division winners Atlanta and Pittsburgh.  Hal Morris hit .318 in his first full season, Paul O’Neill hit 28 home runs, and Chris Sabo added 26 with a .301 batting average.  Barry Larkin continued his ascent to the best SS in the National League – he hit .302 with 20 homers.  Jose Rijo also had a great season – he followed up his WS MVP award by going 15-6 with a 2.51 ERA, leading the league in WHIP and earning 4th place in the Cy Young voting.  Injuries kept him from being higher – he only started 30 games.

The Reds again had 3 All-Stars – Larkin, Browning (who did start the year 10-4) and Dibble.  As the skipper for the defending WS champs, Lou Piniella also managed the NL team.  Dibble struck out an incredible 124 batters in 82 innings.  At the time, he broke his own K-per-9IP record for pitchers with over 80 innings (since passed by Eric Gagne and Brad Lidge).

Team MVP: Chris Sabo (.301/26/88)

Best Pitcher: Jose Rijo (15-6/2.51/172)

Award Winners:

Barry Larkin, Silver Slugger

All-Stars:

Lou Piniella (manager)

Sabo (starter)

Larkin

Tom Browning

Rob Dibble

Paul O’Neill

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