Dan Driessen was born on Sunday, July 29, 1951, in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Driessen was 21 years old when he broke into the big leagues on June 9, 1973, with the Cincinnati Reds. His biographical data, year-by-year hitting stats, fielding stats, pitching stats (where applicable), career totals, uniform numbers, salary data and miscellaneous items-of-interest are presented by Baseball Almanac on this comprehensive Dan Driessen baseball stats page.
"We had heard for three years that Dan Driessen could hit. Just about everybody in our organization said, 'Driessen could hit.' Let me just say this, Dan Driessen can hit." - Johnny Bench in Sports Illustrated (August 27, 1973, William Leggett, Reds rookie is a tough cookie , Source )
Dan 'The Cobra' Driessen Autograph on a 1983 Fleer Baseball Card (#589 | Checklist )
Dan Driessen Pitching Stats
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Dan Driessen Hitting Stats
Dan Driessen Fielding Stats
Dan Driessen Miscellaneous Stats
|Baserunning Statistics||Other Positions||Common Hitting Ratios||Common Pitching Ratios|
Dan Driessen Miscellaneous Items of Interest
|Team [Click for Roster]||Uniform Numbers||Salary||All-Star||World Series|
|1973 Cincinnati Reds||22||$15,000.00||-||-|
|1974 Cincinnati Reds||22||$16,000.00||-||-|
|1975 Cincinnati Reds||22||$17,100.00||-||Stats|
|1976 Cincinnati Reds||22||$47,500.00||-||Stats|
|1977 Cincinnati Reds||22||$60,000.00||-||-|
|1978 Cincinnati Reds||22||$65,000.00||-||-|
|1979 Cincinnati Reds||22||$125,000.00||-||-|
|1980 Cincinnati Reds||22||Undetermined||-||-|
|1981 Cincinnati Reds||22||Undetermined||-||-|
|1982 Cincinnati Reds||22||Undetermined||-||-|
|1983 Cincinnati Reds||22||Undetermined||-||-|
|1984 Cincinnati Reds||22||Undetermined||-||-|
|1984 Montreal Expos||24||Undetermined||-||-|
|1985 Montreal Expos||22||$767,500.00||-||-|
|1985 San Francisco Giants||25||" "||-||-|
|1986 San Francisco Giants||25||$700,000.00||-||-|
|1986 Houston Astros||23||" "||-||-|
|1987 St. Louis Cardinals||23||$100,000.00||-||Stats|
|Dan Driessen Stats by Baseball Almanac|
The designated hitter (DH) was adopted by the American League in 1973.
games were played under National League rules through 1975, no DH, pitchers taking their at-bats. During the
1976 World Series
, every game, regardless of the venue, used the DH. Due to the rule change, during
first baseman Dan Driessen became the first National League player to act as a DH in
capacity - regular season or postseason.
Dan Driessen | First N.L. Designated Hitter | Playground Daily News | 10-17-1976 | Page 17
Dan Driessen did not play one inning of baseball in high school. Dan Driessen did not play one inning of baseball in college. Nonetheless, The Cobra made his Major League debut on June 9, 1973 , the bases were loaded, Fergie Jenkins was on the mound, and, " Jenkins struck me out. I don't think I even saw the pitch. I was so nervous, I didn't sleep at all the night before," recalled Driessen. Thirty nine years later, Dan was a Class of 2012 inductee into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame! An excerpt from their exceptional bio:
He was one of the finest defensive first basemen of his era. He broke into the starting lineup of one the most dominant teams in baseball history. He appeared in four playoff series and two World Series. He finished third in voting for the National League Rookie of the Year Award. He crafted the best season of his career after taking the place of a Cincinnati legend. And he never played an inning of high school or college baseball. It may be hard to believe but such were the circumstances of Dan Driessen's unorthodox path to the Cincinnati Reds , a path that ultimately led him to the Reds Hall of Fame.
Through it all, the Reds never stopped believing in Driessen's talent. His performance as the Reds ' designated hitter in the 1976 World Series (Driessen was the first DH in NL history) provided additional confirmation of this belief. Reds General Manager Bob Howsam was an advocate of the Branch Rickey principle that it was always better to trade a player a year too early rather than a year too late. The understanding that Driessen was being groomed to replace Tony Perez had been in place ever since Driessen's impressive rookie season. The 1975 decision by arbitrator Peter Seitz that effectively put an end to baseball's reserve clause and resulted in the creation of free agency also factored into the Reds ' analysis of their options at first base. Perez was 34, an age at which most players experience a decline in production and would soon be eligible for free agency. Driessen was only 25, an age at which most players are on the verge of their peak production and was a much more inexpensive player.
The loss of starting pitcher Don Gullett to the Yankees as a free agent which created a hole in the rotation that needed finally forced the Reds ' hand. On December 16, 1976, the Reds traded Perez to the Montreal Expos for pitchers Woodie Fryman and Dale Murray . Dan Driessen would be the Reds ' starting first baseman for the 1977 season.
The task that lay ahead of Driessen was a daunting one. Perez had not only been a leading player in the most dominant lineup in Reds history but he had also been one of the most popular players to ever wear a Reds uniform. In the wake of the trade, Driessen was quick to let fans and teammates know that he fully appreciated what Perez had meant to the club. " Tony Perez was my idol. Everybody asks me how I replace Perez . I don't. I don't even think about that. I just go out and do what I do and hope that will be enough." His teammates, though saddened by Perez's departure supported Driessen. "Sure he took Tony's place," said Joe Morgan . "But I want him to do good. He's a teammate. I'm rooting for him. He sat on the bench for two years knowing he could hit in the big leagues. Anyone else would can hit like him would have been raising hell. He didn't."
Indeed, Driessen had remained largely silent during his two-year exodus from the starting lineup. Unfortunately for him, as the 1977 season got underway his bat was largely silent as well. Perhaps it was fitting (one observer described it as overdue justice) that Driessen's coming out party in 1977 coincided with Perez's first game in Cincinnati since the trade. It was June 10 and while Perez received ovation after ovation from the home crowd, Driessen stole the show, going 3-5 with a home run and 3 RBI in the Reds ' 13-1 victory. He had entered the series against the Expos with a .261 average. He would end the season at an even .300 with 17 home runs, 91 RBI and 31 stolen bases, a club record for a first baseman. He also provided stellar defense at first base, establishing himself as one of the best defensive players in the game. In the face of incredible pressure, Driessen had delivered.
Over the next five seasons, Driessen was a steady, reliable presence in the Reds ' lineup, helping the Reds to another division title in 1979 and to baseball's best overall record in 1981. And while his tenure as the Reds ' starting first baseman will always be overshadowed by the glory of the championship seasons of 1975 and 1976, his contributions to the club cannot be denied. He was a constant during a period of difficult change for the Reds as the often painful transition from the Big Red Machine era unfolded.
A true team player, Driessen was always willing to try a new position or a new spot in the batting order. He accepted these assignments without complaint and harbored no ill will for having to wait for the chance to play the position at which he was so gifted. It's difficult to take the place of a legend. In 1977, Dan Driessen was asked to do just that and did it about as well as it could have been done. It was the finest season of a distinguished career, a career that is often lost amidst the towering achievements of the Big Red Machine, but one that certainly should not be forgotten.
Source: Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame. Dan Driessen. Class of 2012. Introduction / Closing appear above, read full bio here ( Link ).
Cincinnati Reds Team Photo | AP Wire | The Big Red Machine
How has baseball changed? Today, it isn't uncommon for a young player to receive millions of dollars when signing. Author Lew Freedman interviewed Driessen for a chapter in Game of My Life, Cincinnati Reds: Memorable Stories of Reds Baseball and Dan shared this wonderful story with him, "Got a big bonus when I signed," he said. "They gave me a yearbook and a plane ticket." Not long after he made it to the Reds , Driessen was in a discussion with a sportswriter and teammate Ken Griffey (Sr). Griffey claimed he must have been given less to sign with the Reds than any other player. The team wooed Griffey with a Reds team jacket, a pair of Reds sanitary socks, and a $500-a-month Minor League contract. Driessen's response was, "See? He did get more. I didn't get a jacket."
Last-Modified: July 29, 2019 3:39 AM EST