Tha Sports Junkies 101

The Warning Track: The Best Baseball Team Of All Time



When comparing some of the greatest baseball teams of all time a few teams might come to mind: the 1927 Yankees, the 1998 Yankees, or how about the 1970 Baltimore Orioles? This is an idea that has been debated for many years and will continue to be debated in the future.

So Ladies and Gentlemen the greatest baseball team of all time is… the 1976 Cincinnati Reds.



The 1976 Cincinnati Reds

Riverfront Stadium

Photo Credit Via Flickr

The Cincinnati Reds had quite the dynasty in the 1970’s, known as the big red machine, the franchise terrorized the national league from 1970-1976. The best of all those teams, however was the 1976 Cincinnati Reds, they finished the season with a MLB leading 102-60 (.630 Pct.) record.

To this day the 1976 Cincinnati Reds are the only team to go undefeated during the postseason. The Reds swept the Philadelphia Phillies (101-61 regular season record) in 3 games and then went on to defeat the New York Yankees 4 games to none to win the 1976 world series.

The 1976 NL all-star team consisted of 7 of Reds players, the only Cincinnati starter that did not make the all-star team was center fielder Cesar Gerónimo. It’s important to note, however, Gerónimo hit .307 with 11 triples and 22 stolen bases. Gerónimo also earned a gold glove in the 76 season.

The Starting Lineup

Position Player Games At Bats Runs Hits Batting Average Home Runs RBI Stolen Bases
C Johnny Bench 135 465 62 109 .234 16 74 13
1B Tony Pérez 139 527 77 137 .26 19 91 10
2B Joe Morgan 141 472 113 151 .32 27 111 60
3B Pete Rose 162 665 130 215 .323 10 63 9
SS Dave Concepción 152 576 74 162 .281 9 69 21
LF George Foster 144 562 86 172 .306 29 121 17
CF César Gerónimo 149 486 59 149 .307 2 49 22
RF Ken Griffey Sr. 148 562 111 189 .336 6 74 34

Position Player Games Innings Pitched Wins Losses ERA Strikeouts
SP Gary Nolan 34 239.1 15 9 3.46 113
SP Pat Zachry 38 204 14 7 2.74 143
SP Fred Norman 33 180.1 12 7 3.10 126
SP Jack Billingham 34 177 12 10 4.32 76
SP Santo Alcalá 30 132 11 4 4.70 67
SP Don Gullett 23 126 11 3 3.00 64

Position Player Games Wins Losses Saves ERA Strikeouts
RP Rawly Eastwick 71 11 5 26 2.09 70
RP Pedro Borbón 69 4 3 8 3.35 53
RP Rich Hinton 12 1 2 0 7.64 8
RP Manny Sarmiento 22 5 1 0 2.06 20

The Reds fielding absolutely flourished in the 1976 season with 4 players receiving gold gloves: Cesar Gerónimo, Johnny Bench, Dave Concepción and Joe Morgan. Pete Rose didn’t receive a gold glove in the 1976 season, but he had 2 gold gloves in 1969 and 1970. First Baseman Tony Pérez finished the season with only 5 errors, his fielding percentage was .996. Then of course the Reds had some big arms in the outfield. Ken Griffey Sr. and George Foster had tremendous athleticism and great arms.

The team was called the great eight for a reason, defense is one of the key parts of a winning baseball team and when you put the great eight on the field no other team can match their skill and chemistry.

Great 8

Statues Commemorating The Great 8: Photo Via Flickr

Playing Great Baseball

Within the great eight there was the “fearsome four” that of course was Johnny Bench, Tony Pérez, Joe Morgan and Pete Rose. According to Hardball Times Baseball Annual, the fearsome four produced more combined win shares in a 3 year period than any other team in the last 50 years. Even with all that in 76 the team was really a fearsome five, George Foster had an absolutely monster year at the dish. In 1976 the five combined for a total of 460 RBIs and 101 home runs.

The Reds clearly had the power numbers, but along with that the team had excellent baserunners. Joe Morgan, George Foster and César Gerónimo all finished in the top 6 for the best stolen base percentage in the 1976 season. Joe Morgan would go on to win NL MVP at the end of the season.

The Cincinnati Reds also had stellar starting pitchers, all of Cincinnati’s starting pitchers had at least 10 wins and three of them had more than 100 strikeouts on the season. Every one of the Reds starting pitchers finished with a winning record. Some of those stats may seem low, but keep in mind that in a 6 man rotation those numbers are very good.

Four of the six starters finished with a better ERA than the league average (3.51) and all of the starting pitchers started at least 30 games expect Don Gullett.

The Bullpen only consisted of 5 guys! One of which only played in 4 games! You don’t see that in baseball today, most bullpens consist of at least 6 or 7 players. The Reds had two players that came in for most of the relief work, Pedro Borbón and closer Rawly Eastwick. Pedro and Rawly both pitched well on a consistent basis. Rawly Eastwick lead major league baseball in total saves with 22, he finished with 7 more saves than second place finisher Skip Lockwood.

Another Key member of the bullpen is Manny Sarmiento, Manny had a great record of 5-1 and a 2.06 ERA. Although he only pitched in 22 games those are still great numbers. The Reds bullpen got the job done when it needed to as the team finished 1st overall in saves. All of these pitchers had the incredible defense of the great 8 behind them during the season.

The team was managed by the Hall Of Famer Sparky Anderson. Anderson is clearly one of the best managers of all time. Sparky made a genius decision to move Pete Rose from the outfield to third base so that George Foster and Ken Griffey Sr. would play in the outfield. This all helped the Big Red Machine operate even better.

The 1976 Reds are one of the most clutch hitting and pitching teams of all time, their performance under the pressure of the playoffs speaks for itself. Pound for Pound the 1976 Cincinnati Reds are the greatest team of all time, they are the only team to go undefeated in the MLB postseason and I believe they would beat any team in history in a series.