In his first major league game, he had two hits off Hall-of-Fame pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander, and went on to hit .322 in 102 games, with 19 stolen bases, as a rookie.
Through the 1920s, he was an extremely solid, speedy, good-hitting second baseman for many decent Reds teams although the team began to decline in the late 1920s, finishing seventh in the eight-team National League in 1929 and 1930. In the Reds' best year with Critz on the team, 1926, they finished second in the league two games behind the champion St. Louis Cardinals. Alongside the Reds' success that year, he also had what could easily be considered[by whom?] his best season, batting .270, with 3 homers and 79 RBIs. He tied his career high for triples with 14 and had his next-best career high in RBIs with 79. He finished second in MVP voting, behind only Bob O'Farrell.
Although his speed numbers only decreased from his rookie season, when he stole 19 bases, he still averaged 11 stolen bases per season for his career.
In 1930, his career took a sudden turn when he was traded to the Giants for pitcher Larry Benton. With them, he won a World Series in 1933, had more quality years and retired on September 27, 1935.