Overshadowed on the star-studded “Big Red Machine,” Driessen gave the Reds valuable versatility for his first four seasons. He hit a career-high .301 in his rookie season and then was Cincinnati’s starting third baseman in 1974. Pete Rose moved to third base in 1975, but Driessen replaced Tony Perez at first base from 1977 to 1981, one of the longest tenures at first base in Reds history. The uncle of Gerald Perry, Driessen led NL first basemen in fielding three times. A smart, steady hitter, he led the NL with 93 walks in 1980 and generally walked more than he struck out.
In 1976, Driessen was the NL’s first DH in the World Series. He hit .357, the only good average he had in post-season play. Traded in mid-1981, he wandered the league until his retirement, finishing his career filling in at first base for the 1987 NL champion Cardinals after first Jack Clark and then Cesar Cedeno were injured.