- 2B, SS, 3B, CF, OF, 1B, P
- June 17, 1948
- 6' 2"
- 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 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.
#13 - countless shortstops in Venezuela, including Ozzie Guillen, wore that number in honor of Concepcion.
"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
Concepcion turned 25 in June and enjoyed his best overall season. He won his first Gold Glove and played 160 games at shortstop. At the plate he batted .281 with 14 homers and 82 RBI. Later he would top all of those totals, but his total average in '74 (.755) compared to the league, was his best. Concepcion was very fast in his prime, in '74 he stole 41 bases in 47 attempts. Though he wouldn't earn an All-Star berth until '75, Concepcion was the best shortstop in the NL in 1974.
In 1975, Davey Concepcion scored the 1,000,001st run in baseball history – just seconds after Bob Watson had plated the millionth run for Houston in another contest.
Arm strength. Later, after he hurt that strong arm, he worked with Tony Perez to perfect the one-bounce throw to first base. Concepcion was the first to use that method on a consistent basis.
Concepcion perfected the one-bounce throw to first base on the astroturf. He was famous for a great throwing arm (he was originally drafted as a pitcher), and his range was excellent. He consistently stole at least twenty bases and was known for the long leads he would take off the bag.
Shortstops of the National League, 1970s
In the 1970s the National League boasted three shortstops of notoriety. Each played for winning teams. Each usually batted low in the lineup - and each became All-Stars. The three were Bill Russell, Larry Bowa and Davey Concepcion. From 1972 to 1983 all three were starting shortstops in the NL. Bowa went to the post-season with the Phillies five times in those 12 years, Concepcion five times with the Reds, and Russell five times with LA. Bowa and Russell won one World Series title, Davey two. Each of them were right-handed hitters with little power. Concepcion and Bowa played on turf, Russell on grass in a pitchers park. The voters awarded Concepcion the Gold Glove five times (1974-1977, and 1979), Bowa twice (1972 and 1978), while Russell was never considered their equal with the leather. He was a convert to the position, having originally been an outfielder. From 1972 to 1983, their offense broke down like this: Concepcion had a .273 batting average, .373 slugging, and .328 on-base percentage; Bowa came in with .265/.328/.304; Russell was .266/.340/.311. Concepcion hit 84 homers and drove in 734 runs; Bowa's same categories were 15 and 434; Russell's was 39 and 519. Bowa stoled 251 bases; Concepcion swiped 244; Russell was the slowest of the thre by far, and stoled 133. Bowa occassionally hit higher in the lineup and scored some more runs; the three ranked this way in runs created for the 12 year span: Concepcion, Bowa, Russell. They played essentially the same number of games. If you had to choose one of them to start your infield, you'd take Concepcion. He was not only a better offensive player, but contemporary observers overwhelmingly supported him for the Gold Glove Award in most years.
Even after he had established himself as a starting major league shortstop and had been named to All-Star teams, Concepcion played winter ball, concentrating on his batting and perfecting his fielding skills... In a clubhouse prank in 1976, Concepcion climbed into a dryer. Teammate Pat Zachry pushed the start button and sent the shortstop spinning. Once a dizzy Concepcion emerged from the dryer, the hair on his legs was burned.
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