Arroyo elected to Reds Hall of Fame
CINCINNATI -- Bronson Arroyo gave the Reds a rotation workhorse, clubhouse leadership and the legitimacy they needed to become a contender. On Wednesday, Arroyo’s career in Cincinnati was rewarded with election to the Reds Hall of Fame.
Part of the club’s modern player ballot for the 2023 class, Arroyo was a key part of three Reds playoff teams as he went 108-100 with a 4.18 ERA and 14 complete games in 279 starts from 2006-13 and 2017.
A 2006 All-Star, Arroyo threw 200 innings in seven of his first eight seasons for the Reds. The lone exception was when he worked 199 innings in 2011.
“You have no idea if you’re going to play long enough to leave your mark in any way, shape or form,” Arroyo said. “One of the things you don’t think about as a player a lot of times is sticking with the same team long enough to build up these types of numbers to be in their Hall of Fame.
“Especially in this day and age, guys bounce around every two to three years with different teams. You could put up fantastic numbers but never really stay in one place long enough to really have a home.”
Reds Hall of Fame induction festivities are scheduled for July 15-16, 2023.
On March 20, 2006, new general manager Wayne Krivsky’s first trade for Cincinnati was to acquire Arroyo from the Red Sox for Wily Mo Peña. In '05, the Reds' pitching staff had the highest ERA in the National League while the team went 73-89. The rotation had little depth following ace Aaron Harang.
For Arroyo, who won a World Series with Boston in 2004, the trade was a stinging disappointment at the time.
“I don’t know if there’s a moment in my life that’s probably been lower than that phone call [Red Sox GM] Theo Epstein gave me,” Arroyo recalled. “For him to pull the plug on me was completely unexpected. It was a huge downer.”
It proved to be a lopsided deal in the Reds’ favor and a boon for Arroyo’s career. He led the Majors in his All-Star 2006 season with 240 2/3 innings and 35 starts while going 14-11 with a 3.29 ERA and 184 strikeouts.
In 2010, as the Reds won the NL Central for their first playoff berth in 15 years, Arroyo was 17-10 with a 3.88 ERA in 33 starts and also won his lone NL Gold Glove Award.
As the club won another NL Central crown in 2012, Arroyo was 12-10 with a 3.74 ERA in 32 starts. He won 14 games while throwing 202 innings in ’13, when the Reds were an NL Wild Card entry to the postseason.
“I came to find out it’s now a place I call home. I’m here more than any other place in the country most of the year,” Arroyo said of Cincinnati. “Once I realized it was a smaller town, it really fit the bill for me a bit better than a bigger town like Boston, a place I could go out at night and people weren’t writing about you in the paper and stuff. It’s been a joy ever since.”
In an era that began to favor power pitchers with high velocity, Arroyo was a bit of a throwback. Using a high leg kick and different arm angles, the right-hander often relied on guile as he changed speeds with a low-90s fastball, a changeup and a curveball.
“As the game was changing, my stuff was slowing down just slightly. It made the difference between me and some of the hard throwers even more [exaggerated],” Arroyo said.
Arroyo is sixth in franchise history with 1,157 strikeouts, seventh in starts and 16th with 1,761 1/3 innings. In voting by the Cincinnati chapter of the BBWAA, he won three Johnny Vander Meer Awards as the club’s outstanding pitcher and was a four-time winner of the Joe Nuxhall Good Guy Award for working well with the media, community and clubhouse.
Arroyo, 45, recalled trying to fill the leadership void for the team after the departures of Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr. and Scott Hatteberg.
“[They left] me holding the reins as somebody who was going to have to show what professionalism was like,” Arroyo said. “To show up every day to guys like Mike Leake, Mat Latos and Johnny Cueto and Jay Bruce and Joey Votto, I kind of set the template for those guys early on. That was probably as satisfying as anything I did on the field. It was to be in that locker room and throw team parties and show those guys what it was like to work hard, play hard and still keep yourself healthy and give your team an opportunity to win every fifth night.”
Also on the modern player ballot were Harang, Scott Rolen, Francisco Cordero and Aaron Boone. Ballots were submitted from select members of the local media and Reds alumni, with fans also voting online.
The franchise’s veterans committee is still reviewing candidates whose careers ended more than 15 years ago for possible induction.
Founded in 1958, the Reds Hall of Fame will have 91 members with Arroyo’s addition. He will be the 29th pitcher to be inducted.
Also known for his guitar playing and singing, music will be part of the induction program if Arroyo gets his way.
“Without playing a little bit of music, I feel like it wouldn't do it justice,” he said. “As long as we can make it work out logistically, we're going to do it.”