Does Size Really Matter? Comparing the Cincinnati Reds of 1961 and 2010
Does size make a difference? An age-old question, but where did it start?
Was it in a cave, and one little cave boy told the other "Mine is bigger than yours?"
It makes little difference where the question came from, as it is asked of many different things.
It is no secret that athletes today are bigger than ever. They are heavier, more muscular, stronger, faster, and even taller.
I was curious as to how much bigger they have become. Since I am a devout Cincinnati Reds fan, I decided to do some research. I compared the position players of the 1961 pennant winning Reds to the ones who play today.
The results are staggering. If you think today's players are 10-15 pounds heaver, have I got a shock for you.
I have compiled the players by position with their physical comparison side-by-side. See if you are as shocked as I was.
Catcher - Jerry Zimmernan vs. Ramon Hernandez
What a start! Hernandez is 40 pounds heavier than was Jerry Zimmerman in 1961. Zimmerman is actually two inches taller, but you will soon find out that that is a rarity.
The Reds used several catchers in '61: John Edwards, Ed Bailey, Bob Schmidt, and Darrell Johnson. I chose Zim because he had the most AB.
Zimmerman finished the year with 0 HR, 10 RBI, and batted .206 in 204 AB.
At the time of this article, Hernandez is batting .244 with 0 HR and 4 RBI in 45 AB.
First Base - Gordon Coleman vs. Joey Votto
Gordon Coleman was the heaviest player in the starting lineup for the '61 Reds.
Joey Votto outweighs him by 22 pounds, and Coleman was the biggest they had to offer.
Coleman batted .287 with 28 HR and 87 RBI in 520 AB.
Today Votto is batting .287 with 4 HR and 13 RBI in 87 AB.
Second Base - Don Blasingame vs. Brandon Phillips
Again, the current Red, Brandon Phillips, is 40 pounds heavier than his predecessor in 1961, and two inches taller.
Don (Blazer) Blasingame batted .222 with 1 HR and 21 RBI in 450 AB.
Brandon Phillips is batting .240 with 2 HR and 9 RBI in 96 AB.
Third Base - Gene Freese vs. Scott Rolen
Here is a real David and Goliath.
Scott Rolen outweighs Gene Freese by 75 pounds and stands five inches taller.
In 1961 Freese batted .277 with 26 HR and 87 RBI in 575 AB.
So far Rolen has 5 HR, 11 RBI, and is batting .263 in 76 AB.
Shortstop - Eddie Kasko vs. Orlando Cabrera
Orlando Cabrera, although two inches shorter, outweighs Eddie Kaso by 15 pounds.
Cabrera is the lightest player in the 2010 lineup but would have been second only to Gordon Coleman in 1961.
Kasko batted .271 with 2 HR and 27 RBI in 469 AB.
Cabrera is currently batting .236 with 2 HR and a team-leading 14 RBI in 89 AB.
Left Field - Wally Post vs. Jonny Gomes
Wally Post and Jonny Gomes are the same height, but Post yields 35 pounds to Gomes.
Post batted .294 with 20 HR and 57 RBI in 282 AB.
Gomes is currently batting .213 with 2 HR and 12 RBI in 61 AB.
Center Field - Vada Pinson vs. Drew Stubbs
Drew Stubbs is tall, especially for a center fielder. He is five inches taller than Vada Pinson was (may he rest in peace) and 35 pounds heavier.
Pinson batted .343 with 16 HR and 87 RBI in 607 AB.
Stubbs is batting .179 with 1 HR and 7 RBI in 78 AB.
Right Field - Frank Robinson vs. Jay Bruce
Frank Robinson is the Reds' greatest player in history in some opinions (mine included). He certainly played much bigger than he was physically.
Jay Bruce is two inches taller and outweighs him by 42 pounds.
Robinson was named the NL MVP when he batted .323 with 37 HR and 124 RBI in 545 AB. Bruce is batting .253 with 4 HR and 11 RBI in 87 AB.
Look at the differences in size!
The 2010 Reds position players are 1.5 inches taller and 38 pounds heavier per person.
The Reds won the pennant in 1961 and won 93 games (they still played 154 back then) with that feisty lot of little guys.
Can the 2010 Reds do as well? If they don't can we blame it on size? What are your opinions?