Introducing… Wally Post

One of baseball’s top power hitters in the mid to late 1950s, Wally Post was a slugging fixture in the Reds lineup during that time span.  A former minor league pitcher converted to the outfield, Post found a home in the batter’s box.  Wally had five 20 homerun seasons and had two seasons with 35 or more dingers.  But Mr. Post’s game didn’t just revolve around taking shots at the moon–he was also a fine defender.  He covered a lot of ground in right field and has the 17th best career “Range Factor” among his position peers.

The Reds gave Wally his first look in the Majors at the age of 19 in 1949.  The youngster from Ohio wouldn’t stick at the highest level until 1954.  Post had a solid showing in his first full Major League season that year when he drove in 83 runs on 18 homers.  But those stats were simply pixy dust when you measure them to his breakout 1955 campaign.  Wally played in every game for Birdie Tebbetts’ Reds that season.  He finished third in runs scored (116), fourth in hits (186), doubles (33) and total bases (345) and sixth in homeruns (40) and RBI (109).  Cincinnati had the best power combo in all of baseball that year as Wally and first baseman Ted Kluszewski hit a combined 87 homeruns–more than Mathews & Aaron (68) or Snider and Campanella (74).

Wally showed that his power stroke wasn’t a one-year fling as he swatted 36 long balls in ’56.  He paced Major League right fielders in that department, blasting ten more homers than young Hank Aaron.  Not just a brawny blaster, Wally also posted a career high 16 outfield assists.  Although Post is best known for his slugging, he rests 32nd all-time in career assists among right fielders. 

When Wally’s homerun output fell to 20 in 1957, the Reds traded him to the Phillies for left-handed All-Star Harvey Haddix.  The Phillies were a last place team in 1958 but Post was able to hike his batting average back up above .280 after two seasons of lesser hitting.  But he had an uncharacteristic twelve homers for the Phillies.  Hoping for more power production out of their right fielder in 1959, Wally delivered with 22 homers and a team leading 94 RBI.  Despite his solid run production, the Phillies remained in the cellar.  After a solid start in 1960, Philadelphia traded him back to the Reds for Tony Gonzalez and Lee Walls.  Shifted to left field to accommodate Gus Bell, Wally swatted 17 homers the rest of the season back in Cincy.

When Bell mysteriously lost his power in ’61, the Reds inserted a youngster named Frank Robinson into right field and the result was an NL pennant.  Post teamed with Robinson and Vada Pinson to give Cincinnati an enviable outfield.  Wally reached 20 homeruns again in ’61 but he was one of the few Reds to bring his bat with him to the World Series.  Wally posted a terrific .924 on-base-plus-slugging for the Fall Classic but none of his mates in the pasture hit above .200 and the Yankees made short order of the boys from Cincy.

Post’s last good year was in 1962 when he clubbed 17 homeruns for the third place Reds.  The Twins purchased his contract early in the 1963 season but Wally never could get going in the American League.  He played briefly with Cleveland the following year–his last Major League action.

THE NUMBERS

G 1,204/R 594/H 1,064/2B 194/3B 28/HR 210/RBI 699/SB 19/BB 331/SO 813/BA .266/OBP .323/SA .485

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