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View Full Version : Big Red Machine....how good was it?



Ltlabner
06-13-2008, 09:45 AM
Likely been done before but didn't really see anything on search...

Growing up in Cincy in the 70's I had the impression that the BRM was an unstopable juggernaut (except by the force known as Dick Wagoner) staffed by nothing but super-human, mythic men who all trancended past the level of inter-galactic hall of fame. Each of them were unstopable gods who mearly walked amoung us mortals.

But taking a step back, going by position, how good were they really?

Obviously a lot of ways to answer that question.

Here's my crack...

Intergalactic HOF super-uber-studs:
Bench
Morgan
Conception

There's lots of ways to rank players but most ways you slice it these guys are going to show up in a lot of "all time greatest lists". Davey C might just barely make it in, but for the way he revolutionized the position I'd put him into the top dog list.

Very, very good players, but not quite HOF
Parez
Griffey Sr
Rose*

Good players
Geranamo
Foster

Role players
Lumm
Abruster
Plummer
Dresien
Those other guys


I've left off the pitchers because I really don't know much about them in terms of comparing them to other pitchers.

* Please, let's try not to let this disolve into an arugment over Pete. I only put him in the Good but Not HoF to reflect the current status of him and MLB. Without the hit record does he make the hall? Doubt it. Very, very good player. Smart player. Versatile player. HOF without the hits record.....doubt it.

But again, I'm more interested in the historical comparisons and the breakdown of real tallent on the team so if at all possible, please take PER arguments down the hall to the "I don't give a crap" department.

George Anderson
06-13-2008, 09:50 AM
Likely been done before but didn't really see anything on search...

Growing up in Cincy in the 70's I had the impression that the BRM was an unstopable juggernaut (except by the force known as Dick Wagoner) staffed by nothing but super-human, mythic men who all trancended past the level of inter-galactic hall of fame. Each of them were unstopable gods who mearly walked amoung us mortals.

But taking a step back, going by position, how good were they really?

Obviously a lot of ways to answer that question.

Here's my crack...

Intergalactic HOF super-uber-studs:
Bench
Morgan
Conception

There's lots of ways to rank players but most ways you slice it these guys are going to show up in a lot of "all time greatest lists". Davey C might just barely make it in, but for the way he revolutionized the position I'd put him into the top dog list.

Very, very good players, but not quite HOF
Parez
Griffey Sr
Rose*

Good players
Geranamo
Foster

Role players
Lumm
Abruster
Plummer
Dresien
Those other guys


I've left off the pitchers because I really don't know much about them in terms of comparing them to other pitchers.

* Please, let's try not to let this disolve into an arugment over Pete. I only put him in the Good but Not HoF to reflect the current status of him and MLB. Without the hit record does he make the hall? Doubt it. Very, very good player. Smart player. Versatile player. HOF without the hits record.....doubt it.

But again, I'm more interested in the historical comparisons and the breakdown of real tallent on the team so if at all possible, please take PER arguments down the hall to the "I don't give a crap" department.


IMO you have Concepcion way overrated and Foster way underrated.

Also yes Pete with or without the record gets in easy. First ballot likely and trust me I am not a Peter Edward Rose Groupie!!

cumberlandreds
06-13-2008, 09:58 AM
Once Rose got 3000 hits he was in HOF. He just topped it by getting another 1200+ hits. I suggest you buy the 1975 World Series and judge for yourself. They showed in that series all that made them great. Timely hitting,good bullpen,great defense and etc.... Recently I was able obtain a copy of the 1976 World Series and game three of the 76 playoffs. After all these years there were things I had forgotton that made them great. All that I mentioned above plus they were fundmentally sound. They didn't make mistakes on a daily basis like you see from the current Reds. They put on display on a nightly basis how a MLB team should perform.

Phhhl
06-13-2008, 10:11 AM
Interesting post Ltlabner. Let's put it this way. If the same set of players that comprised that starting lineup coexisted on the same team today, the payroll of that team would be higher than the current Yankees. And, that is not even accounting for pitching. Perez, Bench and Morgan are hall of famers, and two of those guys can arguably be called the best players ever at their positions. Pete Rose is the all time hits leader and is, conceptually, the fourth hall of famer. George Foster in his prime was the best power hitter in baseball, and won back to back mvp's. Cesar Geronimo may have been the best defensive outfielder in the game at the time, and Ken Griffey Sr. competed for a batting title in 1976, losing on the last day of the season.

I don't know if they were the greatest of all time, but it takes a REAL good argument to deny it.

westofyou
06-13-2008, 10:43 AM
Pete was a better player than Davey and Foster was better at his peak than Griffey was, but Griffey had a longer sustained career.

And it was without a doubt the best team I ever saw and the best managed BP I ever saw and the reason the game is so BP heavy theses days can be partially laid at Sparky's feet.

TheBurn
06-13-2008, 10:45 AM
The "bestest"... and "funnest" to watch... :D

princeton
06-13-2008, 10:47 AM
Sparky and the players said that it revolved around the three: Morgan, Rose and Bench. Not Concepcion.

to suggest otherwise is overthinking.

GAC
06-13-2008, 11:29 AM
Sparky and the players said that it revolved around the three: Morgan, Rose and Bench. Not Concepcion.

to suggest otherwise is overthinking.

True. But you also have to include Perez. Howsam would.

Whats funny, is that even after appearing in the 70 WS vs Baltimore, the '71 BRM was in dire need of an overhaul. The pitching staff was a "sore arm" and they lost Tolan for the entire year to injury.

IMO, that "overhaul" came in 1972 in the Houston deal that saw the Reds acquire Morgan, Billingham, and Geronimo.

Howsam had constructed a team, built for astro turf, that blended speed, power, pitching, and defense.

There were troublemakers on that team too. Guys like Tolan and Morgan. You had egos also, with guys like Bench and Rose. But IMO, that is what made Sparky one of the greatest managers. It wasn't only about on that field, but also in that clubhouse. One has to realize that there were still prejudices/insecurities between the white, black, and Latin American players. Even though Pete was the team captain, Sparky used players like Morgan and Perez to as intermediaries/mentors with those younger players of the respective cultures.

Spark was able to take those diverse players, with their egos and attitudes, and get them to channel that and come together as a team with only one objective in mind..... winning.

I'm sure members like woy and Sandy could probably recommend several excellent books on the BRM. But one I have, and I pull it out every so often and re-read it, is Bob Hertzel's "The BRM: The Inside Story of Baseball's Best Team".

It was given to me by a poster on here a couple years ago. I highly recommend it.

Degenerate39
06-13-2008, 11:44 AM
Intergalactic HOF super-uber-studs:
Bench
Morgan
Conception

There's lots of ways to rank players but most ways you slice it these guys are going to show up in a lot of "all time greatest lists". Davey C might just barely make it in, but for the way he revolutionized the position I'd put him into the top dog list.

Very, very good players, but not quite HOF
Perez Here's the reason the Reds didn't win more World Series titles in the 70's. If they didn't trade him I really think the Reds could've won the W.S. at least one more time in the span of 77, 78, 79. But I can understand why they did what they did even though it was a stupid move. I think he's a HOFer no doubt. Probably one of the best 1st basemen I've seen play.
Griffey Sr
Rose* Not quite sure how he's not a HOFer. An amazing player and argueably the best switch hitter of all time. For me it's between him and Mickey Mantle.

Good players
Geranamo During his prime I wouldn't call him good. I'd call him the best power hitter in the game. He was the only player to hit 50 or more home runs in a 20 or 30 year span I don't remember which.
Foster

Role players
Lumm
Abruster
Plummer
Dresien
Those other guys


I wasn't alive to get to see the Big Red Machine but I've been able to watch the 75 World Series against the Sox. And when I was little we had a tape of the 76 W.S. that I watched back then.

They had a hell of a team I just wish I could've saw them in real life.

IslandRed
06-13-2008, 11:48 AM
Let's put it this way. If the same set of players that comprised that starting lineup coexisted on the same team today, the payroll of that team would be higher than the current Yankees. And, that is not even accounting for pitching. Perez, Bench and Morgan are hall of famers, and two of those guys can arguably be called the best players ever at their positions. Pete Rose is the all time hits leader and is, conceptually, the fourth hall of famer. George Foster in his prime was the best power hitter in baseball, and won back to back mvp's. Cesar Geronimo may have been the best defensive outfielder in the game at the time, and Ken Griffey Sr. competed for a batting title in 1976, losing on the last day of the season.

Considering both offense and defense, I don't really expect to see a better everyday lineup in my lifetime.

Unfortunately, the Big Red Machine had to pitch, too. The starting pitching in the 1970s was generally blah (the brilliant up-the-middle defense made it look better than it really was) and it was the limiting factor keeping the team from putting up more championships and even more ridiculous W-L records.

RedlegJake
06-13-2008, 11:59 AM
Geronimo, a great defensive center fielder. A decent hitter but a lightweight in that lineup. Great speed, too, but Anderson didn't hit him leadoff. Evidently old school Sparky didn't learn his baseball in the same place Dusty did.

Griffey Senior. Very good defensive right fielder. A line drive gap hitter with lots of speed. He had power, too but his swing didn't produce loft like his son's so his power was took the form of richochets off the outfield walls.

Foster. Left field. Average defender, enormous power and he hit for average too. Thin waisted guy who was a wrist hitter like Aaron. Decent speed but he didn't like to run, fans got down on him at times for lackadaisacal play. 50 homer power in an era where guys didn't hit 50 homers anymore but his star burned hot and brief.

Perez. Doggie at first was the steady guy who provided quiet leadership and balanced the egos by not having one. Very good defensively though not great, he was the antihtesis of streaky. When Doggie was cold it really was random and not mechanical problems with his swing. He just always seemed to produce solid but not gaudy numbers, year in and year out.

Morgan. Great at everything. Power, speed, defense, contact, discipline, he could turn the pivot with the best of them at second and hit to all fields with no real weaknesses at the plate. People comparing BP to Morgan make me laugh. It's not even close.

Concepcion. Great range, great glove but an arm that was weakish - but Davey used the turf he played on to advantage patenting the skip throw to Perez that let him unleash extremely quick off balance throws with accuracy. Weak hiter when he came up he learned and improved steadily until he was a decent hitter.

Rose. Third. He brought the fire and the bat and played third aggressively. His glove was probably overrated but he was good at every position nonetheless. Speed was a tick above average when he came up but by the BRM days it was average but he was a smart, hard nosed base runner and more power than he's given credit for. Pete was a rare old school type who didn't swing from the heels but choked his grip, went with the pitch and could flick foul after foul when he was protecting the plate. Lots love them some Rickey Henderson as the prototypical leadoff hitter but I'll take Pete, thank you.

Finally, Johnny Bench the guy who changed catching. He changed the way catchers caught, he threw guys out with a flick from his knees, and he hit with pure power. He was agood overall hitter but his raw power and his defense and that arm made him a legend. He also ran very well for a catcher and a stolen base was no fluke with JB - except if you tried to steal off of him. Relative to his position he was probably the greatest of the BRM players - only Morgan is even close when comparing the all time greats at their position.

Today likely every guy in that lineup would be a 10 million dollar a year player or more. Bench, Morgan and Rose would command close to an ARod type contract. These guys meshed, too. The parts fit together so well, the terrific leadoff hitter, the perfect 3-4-5 hitters, and not a really weak hitter clear through the lineup plus the defense didn't compromise for offense in any spot.

Gullett, Billingham, Norman, Nolan, Zachry, Eastwick, Borbon, McEnaney, Carroll. Pitching was decent but not great. The starters for their era were average but they kept that lineup in games, were steadily average meaning they didn't give up a lot of blowouts and the pen was deep and pretty talented.

How good were they? Well, I think it was the best team ever assembled in my lifetime when they won in 75 & 76. I'd take them over the O's teams of the late 60s or A's teams of the early 70s, or the Yankees of the late 50s and early 60s. Certainly over any team in the FA era.

Ltlabner
06-13-2008, 12:06 PM
They had a hell of a team I just wish I could've saw them in real life.

I wish I could remember seeing them in real life.

I started going to games in 1976 but was only 4 or so. Really don't remember games until the early 1980's.

But I do have the 1975 WS DVD's and love watching them.

George Anderson
06-13-2008, 12:16 PM
Concepcion. Great range, great glove but an arm that was weakish - but Davey used the turf he played on to advantage patenting the skip throw to Perez that let him unleash extremely quick off balance throws with accuracy. Weak hiter when he came up he learned and improved steadily until he was a decent hitter.



I am not sure if I would classify Davey's arm as "weakish'. I don't think he had the arm of say Shawon Dunston but I wouldn't classify it as weak. I think Davey used the turf method just as a easier and quicker way to get the ball to first base. I don't think he did so to make up for his lack of a strong arm.

Also as a hitter I think Davey late in his career and for his time was an above average hitter. I think the next generation of shortstops (Ripken, Trammel, Larkin) all were superior to Davey offensively and now may make Davey look weak offensively but for his time Davey was one of the top hitting shortstops.

Always Red
06-13-2008, 12:26 PM
Simply the best team I ever saw, and I had no idea how spoiled I was watching them while I was growing up.

Yes, the superstars; you can't say enough about them and yes, they really were that good.

But, this team had some other great things going for it, too, and that is a direct tribute to Bob Howsam's skill in building a team. The BRM was a team with very few weaknesses. They had great defense, good on base skills, excellent baserunning and fundamentals. Yes, they could bash the ball- but they also could beat you in a variety of other ways. They could also pitch their way to victory.

And then, once this team had a taste of championship baseball, their confidence grew more and more, and especially after Morgan et al were added, they simply expected to win.

Another great strength of that team is that it's role players were simply that- bench players only. Even the lesser starters on the team were at least league average, and for the most part, the lesser players were great defensively (Geronimo, Concepcion).

But I think the secret reason why the BRM was so good was PITCHING. The Reds of the late '60's were bashers only, much like the Reds of late have been. Sparky Anderson was named manager in 1970 (actually after the season was over in 1969, IIRC), and the Reds rank in pitching in the NL went like this from 1970-1979: 2, 7 (1971), 3,4,3,3,5,10,9,4.

The down years of 1977 and 1978, when the BRM was mostly still intact but did not win, were years when the pitching let them down, and they finished 10th and 9th in the league in pitching (out of 12), even though the offense still finished 2nd in the NL in runs/game both years. When the pitching improved by 1979 (under John McNamara) the Reds won their last division title of the BRM era.

Good pitching wins championships, the Big Red Machine is also proof of that. I agree with woy- Sparky Anderson (or Captain Hook, as he was also called by scribes back then) deserves credit for modernizing use of the bullpen.

westofyou
06-13-2008, 12:32 PM
One thing that consistently slips between the cracks with this team is the middle relief and Borbon and Carroll's contributions




GAMES STARTED <= 5
ERA vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria
GAMES displayed only--not a sorting criteria
SAVES displayed only--not a sorting criteria

INNINGS PITCHED YEAR IP GS ERA G SV
1 Pedro Borbon 1974 139 0 0.39 73 14
2 Pedro Borbon 1975 125 0 0.68 67 5
3 Pedro Borbon 1972 122 2 0.28 62 11
T4 Pedro Borbon 1976 121 1 0.16 69 8
T4 Pedro Borbon 1973 121 0 1.51 80 14
6 Rawly Eastwick 1976 107.2 0 1.42 71 26
7 Clay Carroll 1970 104 0 1.46 65 16
8 Clay Carroll 1974 101 3 1.49 57 6
9 Wayne Granger 1971 100 0 0.14 70 11
T10 Clay Carroll 1972 96 0 1.21 65 37
T10 Clay Carroll 1975 96 2 1.01 56 7
12 Clay Carroll 1971 94 0 0.98 61 15
13 Clay Carroll 1973 93 5 -.01 53 14
14 Will McEnaney 1975 91 0 1.16 70 15
15 Rawly Eastwick 1975 90 0 1.03 58 22

redsfan4445
06-13-2008, 01:01 PM
That was the best time to live in Cincinnati. If they had them on TV everyday I think therewould have been a super station dedicated to the Reds..I know one thing nobody left the game early because no matter the score, the Reds more than likely would come back..I got spoiled with winning but why not? I still wish they never traded Perez and went for 3 World Series Championships in a row.. I never liked Dan Driessen..he was Wagners fav and thats why Tony was traded.. I will never get that !!! Also I wish they could have got Nolan Ryan.. I wonder what his record would ahve been if he had been here.. and dont forget!! Kuhn shot down the trade of Vida Blue because he didnt want to see a Reds Dynasty.. isnt that funny? Baseball people worried about Cincinnati and years later George Steinbrenner in NY could buy anybody he wanted..lol those were the best of times.. sadly free agency and big money, there never will be a team like that again..

SunDeck
06-13-2008, 01:06 PM
Ditka: 50
BRM: 398

That's how good they were.

westofyou
06-13-2008, 01:06 PM
I never liked Dan Driessen..he was Wagners fav and thats why Tony was traded. Howsam traded Tony

George Anderson
06-13-2008, 01:06 PM
The down years of 1977 and 1978, when the BRM was mostly still intact but did not win, were years when the pitching let them down, and they finished 10th and 9th in the league in pitching (out of 12), even though the offense still finished 2nd in the NL in runs/game both years. When the pitching improved by 1979 (under John McNamara) the Reds won their last division title of the BRM era.



Bingo!! Tony Perez being traded is often used as the reason the BRM was no more but the pitching during the 77' and 78' years was just sub par. Losing Don Gullett and Will McEnaney along with Jack Billingham and Pat Zachary having lousy years was more of a factor IMO than losing Perez.

SunDeck
06-13-2008, 01:07 PM
That was the best time to live in Cincinnati.

Compared to this?

http://www.cincinnatimemory.org/gsdl/collect/greaterc/archives/HASH0135/7dcf77ef.dir/ocp001012slide.jpg

westofyou
06-13-2008, 01:09 PM
Compared to this?

http://www.cincinnatimemory.org/gsdl/collect/greaterc/archives/HASH0135/7dcf77ef.dir/ocp001012slide.jpg

I'd take the 1890's... Vine Street littered with over 100 bars, plates of food at each of them, beer and canals... the only problem is all that wool and no AC.

cumberlandreds
06-13-2008, 01:18 PM
Bingo!! Tony Perez being traded is often used as the reason the BRM was no more but the pitching during the 77' and 78' years was just sub par. Losing Don Gullett and Will McEnaney along with Jack Billingham and Pat Zachary having lousy years was more of a factor IMO than losing Perez.


Losing Perez was the biggest factor,IMO. The pitching was simply awful in 1977 so losing Perez may not have mattered for that reason. 78 was much better and the Reds just came up short. Losing out by three games to the Dodgers. If one of two things had gone their way they would have won. In 1977 they traded Mike Caldwell for basically nothing. He was a 20 game wiinner,IIRC, for the Brewers in 78. Also mentioned already was Kuhn's refusal of the Vida Blue trade. I always despised him after that. IMO,he was just sticking it to Charles Finley. They were constantly at war with each other over something. IMO, the Reds got caught in the middle of that. I'm glad I was growing up in that era. It was a great time and it spoiled me. I always thought the Reds would be at least competitive but ownership of the 90's and later years ruined that. No one with exception of big money teams will ever have the collection of talent like the BRM did. Like someone else pointed out,Bench,Morgan and Rose would all now have Arod type contracts and even the Yankees couldn't or wouldn't pay for that much. Howsam said that the BRM was an end of an era and that has proven beyond a shadow of doubt very true.

westofyou
06-13-2008, 01:26 PM
I'll never buy the Perez excuse.


CINCINNATI REDS
SEASON
1970-1979

Strikeouts vs league

RUNS YEAR DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE SO
1 Reds 1976 178 857 679 161
2 Reds 1975 147 840 693 178
3 Reds 1974 75 776 701 180
4 Reds 1972 73 707 634 111
5 Reds 1977 67 802 735 114
6 Reds 1978 34 710 676 140
7 Reds 1973 30 741 711 138
8 Reds 1979 22 731 709 147
9 Reds 1970 16 775 759 124
10 Reds 1971 -77 586 663 108


ERA YEAR DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE
1 Reds 1970 0.35 3.70 4.05
2 Reds 1975 0.27 3.37 3.63
3 Reds 1972 0.24 3.21 3.46
4 Reds 1973 0.24 3.43 3.67
5 Reds 1974 0.21 3.42 3.63
6 Reds 1979 0.14 3.60 3.74
7 Reds 1971 0.12 3.35 3.47
8 Reds 1976 0.00 3.51 3.50
9 Reds 1978 -.24 3.82 3.58
10 Reds 1977 -.30 4.22 3.91




LOS ANGELES DODGERS
SEASON
1977-1978


ERA YEAR DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE
1 Dodgers 1977 0.69 3.22 3.91
2 Dodgers 1978 0.46 3.13 3.58

Always Red
06-13-2008, 01:32 PM
I'll never by the Perez excuse.



Nor I.

I loved Tony Perez, and I still do to this day; the team lost a lot of it's soul when Tony was traded away.

Had Tony stayed, he wouldn't have helped the pitching, and it's pretty clear that the Reds did not win in 1977 and 1978 because of pitching. It's right there in the numbers.

George Anderson
06-13-2008, 01:57 PM
Had Tony stayed, he wouldn't have helped the pitching, and it's pretty clear that the Reds did not win in 1977 and 1978 because of pitching. It's right there in the numbers.

The 77' Reds ended up 10 games behind the Dodgers. Perez was good but not ten games good. Besides Driessen did hit .300 in 77' and had a pretty good year.

redsmetz
06-13-2008, 02:50 PM
Compared to this?

http://www.cincinnatimemory.org/gsdl/collect/greaterc/archives/HASH0135/7dcf77ef.dir/ocp001012slide.jpg

This was the streets of Cincinnati that Carrie Nation said she'd drop from exhaustion in one block if she started her anti-alchohol campaign in Cincinnati.

*BaseClogger*
06-13-2008, 03:18 PM
The 77' Reds ended up 10 games behind the Dodgers. Perez was good but not ten games good. Besides Driessen did hit .300 in 77' and had a pretty good year.

Yeah, Driessen was a better hitter in '77 than Perez was in '76.

I always hear about how great the BRM's offense was, but I think a very important part of their success had to have been that defense...

GAC
06-13-2008, 03:23 PM
Howsam traded Tony

Yep. And even earlier Howsam tried to get Tony to waive his no trade clause because he saw Driessan as his replacement. Tony scoffed at the idea and then Driessan got injured.

George Anderson
06-13-2008, 03:35 PM
Yep. And even earlier Howsam tried to get Tony to waive his no trade clause because he saw Driessan as his replacement. Tony scoffed at the idea and then Driessan got injured.

So did Tony eventually waive his no trade clause? I am assuming he did and does anyone have insight why he did?

cumberlandreds
06-13-2008, 03:39 PM
So did Tony eventually waive his no trade clause? I am assuming he did and does anyone have insight why he did?

I never knew he had a no trade clause except for the 5/10 rule.

Perez probably wouldn't have a made a difference in 77 but he sure could have in 78,80 and 81. The Reds only finished three behind in 78 and 80 and in the silly split season in 81 they finished 1/2 game behind the Dodgers in the first half. But 81 is a whole different story.

westofyou
06-13-2008, 03:51 PM
The Reds were transitioning Driessen in and Tony could see it, he told Howsam he wanted to play everyday, the Reds weren't going to trade Driessen and he was younger and a better fielder.. and on carpet that mattered (plus he could steal) So they traded him, they could have kept him.. and he would have taken advantage of the new FA rules.. they knew that and they wanted to make sure they got something for their asset. They underestimated his worth and they got a bad return, a poorly researched deal based on new emerging factions like agents and free agency. The Reds reaction to those two aspects of the game doomed them for the next 8 years.

George Anderson
06-13-2008, 04:10 PM
The Reds were transitioning Driessen in and Tony could see it, he told Howsam he wanted to play everyday, the Reds weren't going to trade Driessen and he was younger and a better fielder.. and on carpet that mattered (plus he could steal) So they traded him, they could have kept him.. and he would have taken advantage of the new FA rules.. they knew that and they wanted to make sure they got something for their asset. They underestimated his worth and they got a bad return, a poorly researched deal based on new emerging factions like agents and free agency. The Reds reaction to those two aspects of the game doomed them for the next 8 years.

Didn't you also say a while back that Howsam despised Perez's agent and this ultimately was a big factor in Howsam wanting to get rid of Perez?

Also had Howsam already announced his retirement when he made the Perez trade? Maybe Howsam was thinking about condos in Florida and not so concerned with getting the best return on Perez. It just seems Howsam was to sharp to flub the Perez trade like he did.

Will M
06-13-2008, 04:10 PM
Geronimo, a great defensive center fielder. A decent hitter but a lightweight in that lineup. Great speed, too, but Anderson didn't hit him leadoff. Evidently old school Sparky didn't learn his baseball in the same place Dusty did.

Griffey Senior. Very good defensive right fielder. A line drive gap hitter with lots of speed. He had power, too but his swing didn't produce loft like his son's so his power was took the form of richochets off the outfield walls.

Foster. Left field. Average defender, enormous power and he hit for average too. Thin waisted guy who was a wrist hitter like Aaron. Decent speed but he didn't like to run, fans got down on him at times for lackadaisacal play. 50 homer power in an era where guys didn't hit 50 homers anymore but his star burned hot and brief.

Perez. Doggie at first was the steady guy who provided quiet leadership and balanced the egos by not having one. Very good defensively though not great, he was the antihtesis of streaky. When Doggie was cold it really was random and not mechanical problems with his swing. He just always seemed to produce solid but not gaudy numbers, year in and year out.

Morgan. Great at everything. Power, speed, defense, contact, discipline, he could turn the pivot with the best of them at second and hit to all fields with no real weaknesses at the plate. People comparing BP to Morgan make me laugh. It's not even close.

Concepcion. Great range, great glove but an arm that was weakish - but Davey used the turf he played on to advantage patenting the skip throw to Perez that let him unleash extremely quick off balance throws with accuracy. Weak hiter when he came up he learned and improved steadily until he was a decent hitter.

Rose. Third. He brought the fire and the bat and played third aggressively. His glove was probably overrated but he was good at every position nonetheless. Speed was a tick above average when he came up but by the BRM days it was average but he was a smart, hard nosed base runner and more power than he's given credit for. Pete was a rare old school type who didn't swing from the heels but choked his grip, went with the pitch and could flick foul after foul when he was protecting the plate. Lots love them some Rickey Henderson as the prototypical leadoff hitter but I'll take Pete, thank you.

Finally, Johnny Bench the guy who changed catching. He changed the way catchers caught, he threw guys out with a flick from his knees, and he hit with pure power. He was agood overall hitter but his raw power and his defense and that arm made him a legend. He also ran very well for a catcher and a stolen base was no fluke with JB - except if you tried to steal off of him. Relative to his position he was probably the greatest of the BRM players - only Morgan is even close when comparing the all time greats at their position.

Today likely every guy in that lineup would be a 10 million dollar a year player or more. Bench, Morgan and Rose would command close to an ARod type contract. These guys meshed, too. The parts fit together so well, the terrific leadoff hitter, the perfect 3-4-5 hitters, and not a really weak hitter clear through the lineup plus the defense didn't compromise for offense in any spot.

Gullett, Billingham, Norman, Nolan, Zachry, Eastwick, Borbon, McEnaney, Carroll. Pitching was decent but not great. The starters for their era were average but they kept that lineup in games, were steadily average meaning they didn't give up a lot of blowouts and the pen was deep and pretty talented.

How good were they? Well, I think it was the best team ever assembled in my lifetime when they won in 75 & 76. I'd take them over the O's teams of the late 60s or A's teams of the early 70s, or the Yankees of the late 50s and early 60s. Certainly over any team in the FA era.

1. well said

2. the bullpen was deep and great

3. the 'weak spot' was SP. Gullet was very good but the rest were just good or ok. i believe gary nolan suffered an earlt career injury and went from being great to just good. one can only imagine the extra world series wins if wayne simpson hadn't gone down to injuries

westofyou
06-13-2008, 04:16 PM
Didn't you also say a while back that Howsam despised Perez's agent and this ultimately was a big factor in Howsam wanting to get rid of Perez?

Also had Howsam already announced his retirement when he made the Perez trade? Maybe Howsam was thinking about condos in Florida and not so concerned with getting the best return on Perez. It just seems Howsam was to sharp to flub the Perez trade like he did.

Yes, his agent was also Eastwicks agent. But Howsam hated agents so much he let Wagner handle that side of the business, the man could build a team but his approach to free agency really hit the franchise in the belly hard. When every team had a pick in the original FA draft he passed each time, saying it was unfair to the current members of the Reds roster for him to choose men who would challenge them after they were loyal to the franchise.

Two years later Pete left and Wagner had all the chores on the to do list.

Spring~Fields
06-13-2008, 05:52 PM
Big Red Machine....how good was it?

“How good was it?”

It was so good, that it is the opposite of the what can go wrong next, type of team that the Reds have now. It was so good it was a Country Time Lemonade commercial, but it was real, pleasant, sweet and went down smooth, sending us away with a life is good feeling.

red-in-la
06-13-2008, 09:11 PM
The experts of the day compared the 1976 Reds with the 1927 Yankees for BEST LINEUP EVER. Even if you chose the Yankees, that makes the 1976 Reds the second best ever by an eyelash. Of course, us Reds fans chose the Reds.

You are off on your eval of each player. Bench, Rose, Morgan are first ballot, unanymous HOF'ers. No discussion. Rose messed himself up and to an extent the legacy of the BRM.

Perez and Griffey should be in the HOF early without the prejudice devoped that you can't have everybody in the HOF.....I think this stinks now, always has.

Foster's career was too short....just like Gullet, to get them consideration for the Hall.

Consider that in 1976, the Reds had 4 (or 5, I can't remember) of the top 8 positions in the Batting Title.

Mario-Rijo
06-13-2008, 10:16 PM
Yes, his agent was also Eastwicks agent. But Howsam hated agents so much he let Wagner handle that side of the business, the man could build a team but his approach to free agency really hit the franchise in the belly hard. When every team had a pick in the original FA draft he passed each time, saying it was unfair to the current members of the Reds roster for him to choose men who would challenge them after they were loyal to the franchise.

Two years later Pete left and Wagner had all the chores on the to do list.

FA Draft? :confused: Do tell please. What was the premise exactly and how did it shake out? I had never heard of this.

oregonred
06-14-2008, 12:17 AM
Compared to this?

http://www.cincinnatimemory.org/gsdl/collect/greaterc/archives/HASH0135/7dcf77ef.dir/ocp001012slide.jpg

That's about the coolest picture ever posted. From the 1890's on Vine Street? Wow, what a partytown!

wolfboy
06-14-2008, 01:20 AM
Thanks to everyone for this thread. Wow. What a wealth of information.

WVRedsFan
06-14-2008, 02:21 AM
Lost in all of this was one simple fact. They won. There was a chemistry there that promoted winning and they did. Never can I remember boneheaded plays or pitching that was so bad that it defied description. they were competent at every postion and they won. That's all. So unlike today's Reds who find ways to lose rather than finding ways to win.

George Anderson
06-14-2008, 02:31 AM
FA Draft? :confused: Do tell please. What was the premise exactly and how did it shake out? I had never heard of this.

The only info I can pass on is I THINK that each team could draft a player for the right to negotiate with that player who was a free agent. I believe there were like two rounds and a player could be drafted by more than one team but could only negotiate with the teams that drafted him.

I'm going off memory and don't have anything but memory to back it up.

But I do remember that the Reds did draft the both Larry Biittner and Mike Vail around 1981 and ended up signing both!! Yippeeee

RedlegJake
06-14-2008, 02:32 AM
FA Draft? :confused: Do tell please. What was the premise exactly and how did it shake out? I had never heard of this.

24 players refused to sign their 1976 contracts and thereby were declared free agents after Peter Seitz established in arbitration that players could be forced to play one year at the club's automatic March 1st renewal but after that season was done they were free. This had always been the basis of the reserve clause but it took Marvin Miller to see the loophole in the clause - for a century teams had asumed the clause held the player in perpetuity -the clause being if they did not sign by March 1st, the team could "sign" them unilaterally using the prior season's contract. Until Miller saw that the language of the clause could be interpreted to mean just one season then freedom, a player's only leverage was to hold out by not playing until the club changed their offer. Miller contended if a player didn't sign and played al year then he was no longer bound by the clause. Seitz upheld this for Dave McNally and Andy Messersmith in the winter of '75. Just a couple years earlier Miller had won binding arbitration for labor issues -had the courts been used instead the owners would likely have won. The owners tried to overturn the arbitration but the courts upheld the union and 24 players didn't sign their 76 contracts, among them Reggie Jackson. The Reds refused to participate at all not even to replace players they'd lose the first couple seasons of free agency. When Gullett left Anderson told him he never wanted to speak to him again, when Pete left there were very acrimonious negotiations. The Reds basically told him to hike - not only were they not going to join the free agent "wars" they didn't intend to pay the price to keep star players. And in the midst of al this Bowie Kuhn nullified the trade for Vida Blue for cash saying it imbalanced the game even though the money wasn't out of line with contracts given to free agents. It was alright to go after free agents but not to sell a player still under contract. Kuhn's basis was the old Philadelphia A's and the old Red Sox teams that had sold off stars to raise cash but that was a fifty year old precedent and I've always thought it was baseball's slap at the Reds for fighting against the new system. That in itself was insanity since a year earlier virtually every owner (except Ted Turner) was in court trying to overturn the arbitration decision. So the Reds' refusal to participate in the new free agent market for players, their refusal to tender contracts that could compete with the market, the Blue decision, and some poor trades (that look much worse in retrospect like Fryman/Perez, and acquiring Caldwell for Darcy then trading him after just 24 innings to the Brewers where he won 91 games in 6 years) essentially destroyed the BRM when accepting the new status of the game could have kept them on top for five or six more years and perhaps longer.

GAC
06-14-2008, 08:10 AM
Lost in all of this was one simple fact. They won. There was a chemistry there that promoted winning and they did. Never can I remember boneheaded plays or pitching that was so bad that it defied description. they were competent at every postion and they won. That's all. So unlike today's Reds who find ways to lose rather than finding ways to win.

There is some truth there; but it's not like the BRM just suddenly appeared out of no where. It took several years, key moves and personnel changes, to arrive at what is now known as the BRM.

When Howsam arrived in '67, some of those pieces were already in place due to his predecessor DeWitt. Guys like Rose, Perez, Bench, May, Helms. While youngsters like Nolan, Gullett, and Simpson were in the system. Howsam though continued to build on that by improving the farm system, promoting those young pitchers, and churning out players like Griffey and Concepcion.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying in any way to discredit Howsam. Only stating that it took him a few years, and several moves/changes in order to complete what we now know as the BRM. In the decade of the 60's, the Reds only had two sub-.500 years (60/66). Howsam built on (added to) that foundation.

We made it to the WS in 70 (where Brooks Robinson put on a one man show, and we lost in 5 games).

But we had a losing season in '71 (79-83 .488 4th place).

Most believe the era of the BRM began in 1970. I personally think it began in '71 (going into the '72 season) after two masterful trades. The one with Houston was simply an epoch-making deal, in which we dealt May and Helms for a "troublemaker" named Joe Morgan, Geronimo, and Billingham.

I was really upset at that time because May was one of my favorite players and who the hell was this Joe Morgan? :lol:

The other was with the Giants in acquiring George Foster.

We made it back to the WS vs the A's in 72... where Gene Tenace put a hurtin' on us. We got tripped up by the upstart Mets in the '73 NL pennant (Rose- Harrelson), and the Dodgers won the division in '74. So it was 3 years before we made it back to the WS.

What is interesting is that the 8 players shown in that mural at GABP, and who represent the BRM... Griffey, Perez, Bench, Morgan, Rose, Concepcion, Foster, and Geronimo.... and who are arguably the greatest eight to step onto a baseball field as a collective unit (baseball's all-time hit king, 3 Hall of Famers, 6 NL MVPs, 4 NL HR Champs, 3 NL Batting Champs, 25 Gold Glove winners, and 63 collective All-Star appearances), only appeared in 88 games together during those WS years of 75 and 76.


I know there are a lot of "youngsters" on here that never got to experience the BRM. And I've always consider myself "blessed" in that sense because my Dad starting taking us down to Crosley Field back in the early-mid 60's, and when players like Robinson, Pinson, Cardenas, Maloney, O'Toole.... and youngsters like Rose and Perez were accessible.

And while it's fun to reminiscence. It's not fair to compare the BRM with what is currently going on with this organization. IMHO, you'll never see another BRM (a similar dynasty) in Cincinnati. The economics of the game has changed way too much. Many of those small-to-mid sized teams, like the Reds, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and others, who enjoyed such success in the 70s/80s are too much at a disadvantage.

bucksfan2
06-14-2008, 10:33 AM
How good was the BRM?
It was so good that even 30+ years later every Reds team is compared to the BRM.
It was so good that ever Reds player is compared to the corresponding BRM player.
It was so good that whenever a player comes up who hustles he is automatically labeled the next Pete Rose and is a fan favorite.

I am 26 years old so I was not alive during that era. I have heard stories about how great the team is. But as the years have passed that team has been used to cast doubts on current players and teams because they weren't the BRM.

westofyou
06-14-2008, 11:50 AM
FA Draft? :confused: Do tell please. What was the premise exactly and how did it shake out? I had never heard of this.

Every player was allowed to be drafted (In the Free Agent Re-entry draft) to be signed by up to 13 teams. Each player represented a round, so since there was 24 players there was 24 rounds.

The Reds refused to pick anyone, each round Howsam made his comment of it being unfair to the players on his World Championship club. The only player they picked was their own (which was allowed) Don Gullett.

Not every player was picked by 13 teams and not every player was even picked (Willie McCovey and Nate Colbert were passed over by all, though MCcovey was signed by the Giants later on) Dick Allen was added as a FA AFTER the draft was not signed for awhile either (ending up on the A's who were destroyed by the draft)

Bill Campbell the Twins reliever who won the fireman of the year award for Minnesota in 1976 was the first player to sign, he signed with the Red Sox.

Tony Cloninger
06-14-2008, 03:08 PM
The 1977 had a realy bad bench that year.....not bad players but they all really had bad/average years.

Lum was awful.....Champ Summers was bad....Plummer had a bad year...Knight.

Only Bailey and Armbrister hit over .200!
So even though the pitching was bad....they had games were the bench gave them nothing...not compared to 1973...75 & 76.

Griffey was not a HOF player....he looked like he would be but after 1977.....he never came close to 76-77 type years. Maybe if he had not been hurt in 1979 and no strike in 1981...he would have had better years (He was on his way to doing so those years) He just never got better...he just stayed solid...not bad of course...but not better than expected.

The Blue trade killed me...they even had a photo of Vida in a Reds uniform.

Lasorda and Lopes were quoted as not being able to believe how they pulled it off.

The Reds should of just traded them Paul Moskau....Mario Brito...I think Arturo DeFreitas might have been a propsect.

In 1978.....only Foster and Rose had good years...Griffey was okay...but bench was hurt and we were stuck with Don Werner and Vic Correll.
Bench was better..... Collins and Lum and even Rick Auerbach hit.....BUT Sparky blew out the bullpen.

Sarmiento....was pitching great but he got way overused.....and he was a stick. Borbon had a 5.00 ERA...Tomlin was even worse yet they went 8-2 and 9-1 respectively.

The defense was bad....Morgan pulled a stomach muscle and could not hit.
The whole team quit hitting after the AS break. No injuries to Bench and Morgan and they win that thing........truth is...they were lucky to be that close based on their defense and runs scored/allowed.