Regarded as a gifted first baseman, Driessen went to spring training this year convinced that his ultimate spot would be Triple A Indianapolis and first base. On the final day of camp he was told he would be playing third. "I knew that Cincinnati was not going to break up a pennant-winning team just to get me on it this year," Driessen says. When Denis Menke failed to hit early this season, General Manager Bob Howsam, a noted beekeeper, and Anderson kept examining Indianapolis box scores. What held their attention was Driessen's .409 batting average. On June 8 they promoted him to the Reds, a move like many they have made in recent seasons that quickly paid off. "Driessen is always smiling," says Bench. "The whole business doesn't seem to faze him. That's a huge part of making it in the majors. Maybe the biggest part."
That and being able to "swing the bat" seem likely to insure Driessen a regular role in that long-running hit, Damn Red Machine.