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10 former stars you forgot were once Reds

@m_sheldon
March 13, 2019

CINCINNATI -- The 2019 season marks the Reds' 150th anniversary, and as the oldest professional baseball franchise, many great players have worn the uniform for Cincinnati. Many players like Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin and Joey Votto have spent, or are spending, their playing careers in a Reds uniform. But there's

CINCINNATI -- The 2019 season marks the Reds' 150th anniversary, and as the oldest professional baseball franchise, many great players have worn the uniform for Cincinnati.

Many players like Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin and Joey Votto have spent, or are spending, their playing careers in a Reds uniform.

But there's more than a few former stars who have passed through that may spark the thought, "I didn't know that guy played for the Reds ..."

Here is a closer look at the 10 former Reds who had outstanding careers elsewhere before wearing the wishbone or Old English "C" on their caps.

Christy Mathewson, 1916
Considered the first great pitcher in the modern era with 373 career wins, Mathewson starred for the New York Giants and was part of the inaugural class inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936. Although drafted by the Reds in 1900, he was promptly traded to the Giants and played 17 seasons. During the 1916 season, the right-hander was traded to the Reds to be their player-manager. He pitched in one game on Sept. 4 vs. the Cubs, and despite giving up eight runs and 15 hits, it was a complete-game victory. Mathewson managed the Reds until 1918, when he left to enlist in the Army and fight in World War I.

Jim Thorpe, 1917
Considered to be one of the greatest athletes of the early 20th century, Thorpe won the decathlon in the 1912 Olympics but did not get his gold medals because he played semi-pro baseball. From 1913-19 he had a Major League Baseball career as an outfielder, mostly with the New York Giants. But his pit stop in Cincinnati began on April 23, 1917, when his contract was purchased by the Reds. On Aug. 18, he was returned to the Giants after 77 games for Cincinnati.

Leo Durocher, 1930-33
A player for 17 seasons from 1925-45, Durocher was considered one of the better managers of his time for the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants. He won three National League pennants and the '54 World Series. Purchased by the Reds from the Yankees before the '30 season, Durocher was a shortstop and played 399 games for Cincinnati and batted .227 in four seasons. He was traded to the Cardinals during the '33 season.

Curt Flood, 1956-57
Considered a Cardinals all-time great center fielder, the end of Flood's career is well-known for his challenge of a 1969 trade to the Phillies and the game's reserve clause against Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. The case wound up in the Supreme Court and MLB won, but Flood's efforts pioneered later attempts by players to successfully get free agency. The start of his career came in Cincinnati, where he appeared in just eight games over two seasons before being traded to St. Louis.

Don Newcombe, 1958-60
One of the first African-American players in baseball when he debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949, Newcombe was the game's first Cy Young Award winner in '56, also winning the NL MVP that season. He was part of the Dodgers' World Series win in '55. Following the team's move to Los Angeles for the '58 season, Newcombe was 0-6 with a 7.86 ERA when he was traded to the Reds for four players. In 66 games over three seasons with Cincinnati, he was 24-21 with a 3.64 ERA. His contract was purchased by Cleveland during the '60 season.

Billy Martin, 1960
A popular player for the Yankees in the 1950s, and an even more popular manager in the Bronx during a turbulent and often winning era in the '70s and '80s, Martin bounced to a few clubs near the end of his playing career. In December 1959, the Indians traded him to the Reds, with whom the second baseman batted .246 over 103 games. Cincinnati sold his contract to the Milwaukee Braves following the '60 season.

Kent Tekulve, 1989
Tekulve was born and raised around Cincinnati, but most of his career was spent with the Pirates. An All-Star closer, the submarine-throwing right-hander was a star of the 1979 championship club with three saves in the World Series. After 12 years with the Pirates and four with the Phillies, a 42-year-old Tekulve wrapped up his career with his hometown team. Alas, it was not a successful partnership as he went 0-3 with a 5.02 ERA in 37 appearances.

Frank Viola, 1995
An American League Cy Young Award winner, All-Star and World Series champ in the 1980s for the Twins, Viola's second phase of his career was with his hometown Mets and then the Red Sox. Near the end of his playing days, in '95 after he was released by Toronto, Viola briefly pitched for the Reds. In three starts, he was 0-1 with a 6.28 ERA. As a free agent that offseason, he returned to the Blue Jays for his final season.

Vince Coleman, 1996
An All-Star left fielder and speed demon for the Cardinals in the 1980s, Coleman swiped more than 100 bases in each of his first three seasons. That includes a Major League rookie record 110 steals in '85. But after signing with the Mets as a free agent before the '91 season, his career fizzled, and Coleman became a journeyman. After signing with the Reds in '96, he batted .155 with 12 stolen bases and was released that June.

Jim Edmonds, 2010
A flashy center fielder mostly for the Angels and Cardinals, Edmonds slashed .284/.376/.527 over his 17 seasons, with 393 home runs, four All-Star selections, a Silver Slugger Award and a World Series title with the Cardinals in 2006. Beat up by injuries at the end of his career, the Brewers traded a 40-year-old Edmonds to the Reds in '10. It reunited him with his former general manager, Walt Jocketty, with the deal expected to shore up Cincinnati's bench for the stretch run toward a division title. It didn't happen, as Edmonds batted .207 in 13 games. His career ended when he injured his Achilles tendon during a home run trot. It left him unavailable for the postseason, and the Reds were swept in three games by the Phillies in the NL Division Series.

Honorable mention
Leon Durham, 1988
Jeff Reardon, 1993
Tony Fernandez, 1994
Ron Gant, 1994-95
Greg Vaughn, 1999
Mike Cameron, 1999
Dante Bichette, 2000
Shawn Estes, 2002

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.