Willie Greene 1993 Donruss Rated Rookie
There was a time when Willie Greene was supposed to be the Cincinnati Reds starting third baseman of the future. At least that is what Jim Bowden told everyone. While the deals that brought Greene to Cincinnati where not done under Bowden’s watch essentially Greene is the one of the only impact players the Reds received for Eric Davis.
Green was acquired by the Reds in 1991 along with Dave Martinez and Scott Ruskin in exchange for John Wetteland and Bill Risley. Wetteland was acquired 15 days earlier along with Tim Belcher from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Eric Davis and Kip Gross.
Greene was called up by the Reds in 1992. Unfortunately he was stuck behind Chris Sabo at the time. After Sabo tried to test the free agent waters and wound up with the Baltimore Orioles in 1994, Greene continued to be stuck on the bench behind Tony Fernandez and then Jeff Branson.
In 1996 Greene finally took over as the everyday third baseman for the Reds. At the plate he could be counted on as a double digit home run producer, including a career high 26 shots in 1997. He even hit three homers in a game on Sept. 24, 1996.
Regrettably it was Greene’s ability to produce fielding errors that will mark his time in Cincinnati. During his three seasons (1996-98) as the primary starting third baseman he ranked as one of the club’s top error producers in each of the seasons. He led the club with 17 in 1997.
Greene was finally traded by the Reds in August 1998 to the Orioles in exchange for outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds.