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Thread: Big Red Machine....how good was it?

  1. #1
    2009: Fail Ltlabner's Avatar
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    Big Red Machine....how good was it?

    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.
    a super volcano of ridonkulous suckitude.

    I simply don't have access to a "cares about RBI" place in my psyche. There is a "mildly curious about OBI%" alcove just before the acid filled lake guarded by robot snipers with lasers which leads to the "cares about RBI" antechamber though. - Nate

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  3. #2
    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Big Red Machine....how good was it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    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!!
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

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    Member cumberlandreds's Avatar
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    Re: Big Red Machine....how good was it?

    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.
    Reds Fan Since 1971

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    Member Phhhl's Avatar
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    Re: Big Red Machine....how good was it?

    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.

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Big Red Machine....how good was it?

    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.

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    Do it! TheBurn's Avatar
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    Re: Big Red Machine....how good was it?

    The "bestest"... and "funnest" to watch...

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    Re: Big Red Machine....how good was it?

    Sparky and the players said that it revolved around the three: Morgan, Rose and Bench. Not Concepcion.

    to suggest otherwise is overthinking.

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    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Big Red Machine....how good was it?

    Quote Originally Posted by princeton View Post
    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.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

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    Re: Big Red Machine....how good was it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    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.
    Most Vottomatic Player

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    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
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    Re: Big Red Machine....how good was it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Santo Alcala View Post
    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.
    Not all who wander are lost

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    Moderator RedlegJake's Avatar
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    Re: Big Red Machine....how good was it?

    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.

  13. #12
    2009: Fail Ltlabner's Avatar
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    Re: Big Red Machine....how good was it?

    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.
    a super volcano of ridonkulous suckitude.

    I simply don't have access to a "cares about RBI" place in my psyche. There is a "mildly curious about OBI%" alcove just before the acid filled lake guarded by robot snipers with lasers which leads to the "cares about RBI" antechamber though. - Nate

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    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Big Red Machine....how good was it?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedlegJake View Post

    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.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

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    nothing more than a fan Always Red's Avatar
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    Re: Big Red Machine....how good was it?

    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.
    Last edited by Always Red; 06-13-2008 at 11:35 AM.

  16. #15
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Big Red Machine....how good was it?

    One thing that consistently slips between the cracks with this team is the middle relief and Borbon and Carroll's contributions


    Code:
    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


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