Concepcion came out of Venezuela to become one of baseball’s greatest shortstops. Wearing number 13, the lithe infielder won the position in 1972 after sharing it with Woody Woodward for two seasons. In 1973, Concepcion was named captain of the Reds. The winner of five Gold Gloves, he also started five All-Star Games from 1973 to 1982, more than any other NL shortstop during that period. He responded to his eighth straight selection (ninth overall) in 1982 by winning the Game’s MVP award, hitting a two-run homer as the NL won its 11th straight game.
In 1978 Concepcion became the first Cincinnati shortstop to bat .300 since Joe Tinker in 1913. Hampered by an elbow injury in 1980, Concepcion took advantage of the Astroturf at Riverfront Stadium and developed the one-hop throw to first base to reduce arm strain. The winner of the Roberto Clemente award as the top Latin American ballplayer in the majors in 1977, he led the NL with 14 game-winning RBI in 1981, when he was the Reds’ MVP. In four World Series, Concepcion hit better than .300 three times and topped .400 in the 1975 and ’79 LCS. He played over 100 games at shortstop 12 straight years (1974-85) and in 14 of 15 seasons, with injury cutting into his 1973 season. Replaced by Barry Larkin in 1986, Concepcion became a dependable handyman working at all four infield positions. Only Pete Rose is ahead of him in doubles (389), games, hits (2,326), and at-bats in Reds history, and only Joe Morgan has more Reds stolen bases than Concepcion’s 321. Concepcion also ranks in the Reds’ top five in runs, RBI, and total bases. On his retirement, he was only 44 games away from Larry Bowa‘s NL record for shortstops.