The Indians signed free agent Yonder Alonzo to first base this week, prompting 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 deals have worked well for Cleveland, but recently it has been the Reds who have benefited the most from the ex-Indians. Cincinnati practically stole All-Star second baseman from rival Ohio, and just a few years later the Reds got center fielder Shin soon Chop in exchange for struggling outfielder Drew Stubbs.
This year, the Indians hope Cincinnati product Alonzo can lead them back to the playoffs for the third season in a row, but history has shown that the former Reds have rarely made much of an impact on Cleveland. Here’s a list of former Cincinnati ballplayers 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 southpaw was a member of the Great Red Machine rotation of the 1970s, moving 300 miles through Buckeye Estate in 1980.
Closer, Danny Graves
Danny Graves stood out as a closer for Cincinnati until he was sent to the Indians in 1996.
Catcher, Eddie Taubensee
Eddie Taubensee became the regular endorsement in Queen City until 2000, when he began a brief stint in the park near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
First baseman, Edwin Encarnacion
Double E had some success in Cincinnati before becoming a coveted slugger in Toronto, and he wielded that same kind of power with Cleveland in 2017.
Second Base, Orlando Cabrera
Orlando Cabrera was Phillips’ double-game partner at Great American Ball Park in 2010, but left for northern Ohio the following season.
Shortstop, Leo Cardenes
Leo Cardenes served as Cincinnati’s skilled central infielder before moving to Cleveland in 1973.
Third baseman, 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 the last three with the Indians.
Center field, Vada Pinson
Vada Pinson started with the Reds in 1958 for eleven seasons, then spent two years with the Indians.
Right field, Jay Bruce
The slugger was an All-Star for the Reds before helping the Indians to the AL Central championship last year.