In 1973 Concepción blossomed, both at 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 on July 22, two days before the game he broke his ankle (sliding into 3rd base after moving from first base with Dennis Menke base hit against the Expos in the bottom of the 7th inning at Riverfront, fracturing the fibula of left leg) 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.
Willie McCovey attempts to tag Cincinnati Reds' shortstop Dave Concepción out at first base in McCovey's final game at Candlestick Park, Copyright 1980 Sheldon Dunn
Concepción returned in 1974 and played 160 games. He enjoyed his best overall season, batting .281, with 14 HR, 82 RBI, as well as winning his first Gold Glove Award.
By 1975 Concepción joined Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Pérez, 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.
Later in his career, Concepción worked with Tony Pérez and perfected the one-bounce throw to first base. Concepción was the first shortstop to use this method to take advantage of the speedy artificial turf at Riverfront Stadium and other parks in the National League.
Hampered by age, an elbow injury and shoulder surgery in 1982, Concepción had consecutive sub-par seasons from 1983–84. Grooming Barry Larkin as his successor, he became a dependable handyman at all four infield positions. He was replaced by Larkin in 1986, only 44 games away from Larry Bowa's NL record for shortstops.
Concepción retired from baseball in 1988. During his last season, manager Pete Rose sent Concepción in to pitch 1⅓ innings in Dodger Stadium late in a blow-out game. He gave up two hits, no runs, and struck out one batter.
On August 25, 2007, Concepción's number 13 was retired by the Reds before their game against the Florida Marlins. It was the first occasion in MLB history that the number 13 had been retired by a team.