David Ismael Concepción Benitez (born June 17, 1948), better known
as Dave Concepción, is a former shortstop in Major League Baseball.
He was born in Ocumare de la Costa, Aragua State, Venezuela. On August 25,
2007, the Cincinnati Reds retired jersey number 13 in honor of Concepción's
contributions to their team.
Concepcion gets a hit in the 1970sConcepción was signed by the Cincinnati
Reds as an amateur free agent in 1967. Following the steps of his childhood
heroes Chico Carrasquel and Luis Aparicio, Jr., Concepción, originally
drafted as a pitcher, came out of Venezuela to become one of baseball's
greatest shortstops. A scrawny kid wearing the number 13 on his uniform,
he debuted on April 6, 1970. In his first three seasons, Reds manager Sparky
Anderson played him part-time, sharing duties with Woody Woodward and Darrel
In 1973 Concepción blossomed, both with the bat and in the field,
being named the starting shortstop. On May 9, in a Reds 9-7 victory over
the Philadelphia Phillies, Johnny Bench hit three home runs and drove in
seven runs against pitcher Steve Carlton. It was the second time that Bench
smashed three homers against Carlton in a game. However, a Concepción
two-run tie-breaker homer in the ninth, off Barry Lersch, was the game-winner.
Concepción had been named to the NL All-Star team, but two days
before the game he broke his ankle and missed the second half of the year.
At this time he was batting .287, with 8 HRs, 46 RBI, 39 runs, 18 doubles,
three triples and 22 stolen bases.
Concepción returned in 1974 and played 160 games, proving wrong
those critics who felt he was fragile. He enjoyed his best overall season,
batting .281, 14 HR, 82 RBI. Later he would top all of those totals, but
his Total Average in '74 (.755), compared to the league, was his best.
That season Concepción would win his first Gold Glove Award. It
was impressive that he won five Gold Gloves in the 1970s when the outstanding
Larry Bowa was in the same league, but Concepción garnered the respect
from those who saw them both in their prime, not only in the NL, but throughout
By 1975 Concepción joined Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan,
Tony Perez, Ken Griffey, Sr., George Foster and César Gerónimo
in the famous "Great Eight" starting lineup of The Big Red Machine
that would help the Reds win the next two World Series titles. Even after
Concepción had established himself in the major leagues as a star
shortstop, he continued to play winter ball in Venezuela, helping to improve
his batting. After his .274, 5, 49 totals in the 1975 season, Concepción
posted marks of : .281, 9, 69 (1976) - .271, 8, 64 (1977) - .301, 6, 67
(1978) - .281, 16, 84 (1979) - .260, 5, 77 (1980) - .306, 5, 67 (1981)
- .287, 5, 53 (1982).
On July 13, 1982, the first All-Star Game outside of the United States
was held at Montreal's Olympic Stadium. Concepción hit a two-run
homer to help the National League to a 4-1 win (the NL's 11th straight
victory and 19th in the last 20 contests). Concepción was named
the game's Most Valuable Player.
Grooming Barry Larkin as his successor, he became a dependable handyman
at all four infield positions; but it was unrewarding to be the last remnant,
and an unheralded member, from the Big Red Machine. Replaced by Larkin
in 1986, Concepción was only 44 games away from Larry Bowa's NL
record for shortstops.
Dave Concepción retired in 1988.