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Dave Concepcion

Dave Concepcion

Dave Concepcion

Position(s):
2B, SS, 3B, CF, OF, 1B, P
Born:
June 17, 1948
Bats:
Right
Throws:
Right
Height:
6' 2"
Weight:
155 lbs
Major League Debut:
4-06-1970 with CIN
Allstar Selections:
1974 GG, 1975 GG, 1976 GG, 1977 GG, 1979 GG, 1981 SS, 1982 AsMVP, 1982 SS

"The way he helped us, the way he played the game, on offense and defense. He played shortstop for us and he could run very well. He helped us in lots of ways. I [saw] a lot of shortstops in my career, and Davey was one of the best. He ranks right up there with the best." — teammate Tony Perez 

"You can't separate Davey Concepcion from Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, or George Foster. Davey was right there with us." — teammate Tony Perez

The best shortstop in baseball during the 1970s, lanky Davey Concepcion was a graceful fielder who made himself into a fine hitter and used his speed well on the base paths. He and Joe Morgan formed one of the finest all-around double play combinations in history. In nineteen seasons – all with the Reds – Concepcion played more than 2,100 games at the shortstop position. He was one of the last of the "Big Red Machine" everyday players to retire.

 

Career

Concepción was signed by theCincinnati Redsas an amateurfree agentin 1967. Following the steps of his childhood heroesChico CarrasquelandLuis Aparicio, Jr., Concepción, originally drafted as a pitcher, came out of Venezuela to become one of Cincinnati baseball's more popular shortstops, making his debut on April 6, 1970. In his first three seasons, Reds manager  Sparky Anderson played him part-time, sharing duties with Woody Woodward and Darrel Chaney.

In 1973 Concepción blossomed, both at bat and in the field, being named the starting shortstop. On May 9, in a Reds 9-7 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies,Johnny Bench hit threehome runsand drove in seven runs against pitcherSteve Carlton. It was the second time that Bench smashed three homers against Carlton in a game. However, a Concepción two-run tie-breaker homer in the ninth, offBarry Lersch, was the game-winner. Concepción had been named to the NL All-Star team, but on July 22, two days before the game he broke his ankle (sliding into 3rd base after moving from first base with Dennis Menke base hit against the Expos in the bottom of the 7th inning at Riverfront, fracturing the fibula of left leg) and missed the second half of the year. At this time he was batting .287, with 8 HRs, 46RBI, 39runs, 18doubles, threetriplesand 22stolen bases.

Concepción returned in 1974 and played 160 games. He enjoyed his best overall season, batting .281, with 14 HR, 82 RBI, as well as winning his first Gold Glove Award.

By 1975 Concepción joined Pete Rose,Johnny Bench,Joe Morgan,Tony Perez,Ken Griffey, Sr.,George FosterandCésar Gerónimoin the famous "Great Eight" starting lineup ofThe Big Red Machinethat would help the Reds win the next twoWorld Seriestitles. Even after Concepción had established himself in the major leagues as a star shortstop, he continued to play winter ball in Venezuela, helping to improve his batting. After his .274, 5, 49 totals in the 1975 season, Concepción posted marks of : .281, 9, 69 (1976) - .271, 8, 64 (1977) - .301, 6, 67 (1978) - .281, 16, 84 (1979) - .260, 5, 77 (1980) - .306, 5, 67 (1981) - .287, 5, 53 (1982).

On July 13, 1982, the first All-Star Game outside of th eUnited States was held at Montreal'sOlympic Stadium. Concepción hit a two-run homer to help the National League to a 4-1 win (the NL's 11th straight victory and 19th in the last 20 contests). Concepción was named the game'sMost Valuable Player.

Later in his career, Concepcion worked with Tony Perez and perfected the one-bounce throw to first base. Concepcion was the first shortstop to use this method to take advantage of the speedy artificial turf at Riverfront Stadium and other parks in the National League.

Hampered by age, an elbow injury and shoulder surgery in 1982, Concepción had consecutive sub-par seasons (1983–84). Grooming Barry Larkinas his successor, he became a dependable handyman at all four infield positions. Replaced by Larkin in 1986, Concepción was only 44 games away from Larry Bowa's NL record for shortstops.

Dave Concepción retired from baseball in 1988. Showing his overall versatility, during his last season late in a game under direction of manager Pete Rose, he pitched 1 1/3 innings in Dodger Stadium in a blow out game, giving up two hits, no runs, and striking out one batter.

On August 25, 2007, Concepción's number 13 was retired by the Reds before their game against theFlorida Marlins.

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Tagged:
1975 World Series, 1976 World Series, All Star, All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, Cincinnati Reds, Dave Concepcion, Shortstop

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