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Big Red Machine

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The Big Red Machine refers to the great Cincinnati Reds teams of the 1970s that dominated baseball. In the period of 1970-1979, managed mostly by Sparky Anderson, the Reds won the division six times, and won the World Series in 1975 and 1976. The team only once finished lower than 2nd in the division during that period. Bob Howsam, who was the team's General Manager during the period, was nicknamed "the Architect of the Big Red Machine".

The team's peak was in 1975 when it won 108 games, with hitters such as Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, MVP Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, George Foster, Dave Concepcion, Cesar Geronimo, Dan Driessen, and Ken Griffey, Sr.. The team's starting pitchers were nothing special (although they usually posted excellent winning percentages because of the dominance of the hitters), but its bullpen was superb during the period, built around such stalwarts as Clay Carroll, Pedro Borbon, Rawly Eastwick, Will McEnaney and Wayne Granger. With all those resources at his disposal, Anderson was known for pulling his starting pitchers after six or seven innings, a tactic that is common today but was unusual enough in those days to earn him the nickname Captain Hook.

[edit] Further Reading

  • Daryl Smith: Making the Big Red Machine: Bob Howsam and the Cincinnati Reds of the 1970s, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2009.
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