Cincinnati Reds Baseball History | The Big Red Machine

The Cincinnati Reds rank among the oldest sports franchises in the United States, having played continuously in the city of Cincinnati in three different centuries, starting in 1882. Along the way, they have provided many memorable Redlegs moments, including winning five World Series and nine National League pennants.

Fans who remember the Big Red Machine of the 1970s saw just one of many successful incarnations of a franchise that won its first World Series in 1919. The team also boasts some of the most recognizable players to play the game, including Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Joe Morgan, and Tony Perez.

Sometimes still called the Redlegs by fans – they went by that name officially from 1954 to 1958 – the team has provided millions of fans many memorable Redlegs moments.

Selling Beer and Playing on Sundays

The Cincinnati Redlegs were one of the original teams of the National League, formed in 1876. However, they drew the ire of league president William Hulbert by selling beer at games and renting out the stadium for games on Sundays, moves that helped draw the area’s many German fans to games. When the other team owners banned both practices in 1877, the Redlegs- which refused to sign the pledge – went bankrupt. A new team emerged from this situation, joining the American Association in 1881 and starting play in 1882, then later joining the National League in 1890. The team has played every year since that 1882 season, making it one of the oldest sports franchises in the United States.

Ken Griffey Jr. 600th Home Run

On June 9, 2008, Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 600th home run off pitcher Mark Hendrickson of the Florida Marlins, knocking the ball over the right-field wall at Dolphin Stadium. With the hit, Griffey Jr. became just the sixth player in Major League history to join the 600-home run club. He now ranks seventh all-time.

The Big Red Machine

There’s no way to consider just one moment with the Big Red Machine, the nickname of the Reds in the 1970s. Managed by Sparky Anderson, the Reds won four National League pennants between 1970 and 1976, winning back-to-back World Series in 1975 and 1976. Between 1970 and 1979, the team averaged 95 wins per season, including three seasons in which they won more than 100 (1970, 1975 and 1976). More than 40 years after they ended, the Big Red Machine is considered one of the all-time great baseball teams. The “Great Eight” is a term used to describe a core group of players on the Reds during the mid-1970s era. They are Rose, Morgan, Bench, Perez, Dave Concepcion, George Foster, Ken Griffey, and Cesar Geronimo.

Best Baseball Moments in the 1970s

Barry Larkin Joins 30-30 Club

On Sept. 22, 1996, future Hall of Famer Barry Larkin became the first shortstop in Major League history to join the 30-30 club (30 homers and 30 stolen bases in the same season). He accomplished this with his 30th home run in the first game of a doubleheader against the St. Louis Cardinals. Larkin ended the season with 33 home runs and 36 stolen bases.

The 1990 World Series

All baseball fans should take the time to learn about the Big Red Machine – they are legendary. But the 1990 Reds club ranks among the franchise’s most exciting and surprising. After winning 91 games in the regular season, the Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates to win the NL pennant. They then not only beat the heavily favored Oakland Athletics in the World Series, but swept them in four games. The team was known for the “Nasty Boys” – relievers Norm Charlton, Rob Dibble and Randy Myers, who gave up no runs in the series. On offense, the team was led in the series by Larkin, Chris Sabo, Eric Davis, Mariano Duncan, and Billy Hatcher. Starter Joe Rijo won MVP, winning both games he started and striking out 14 batters in 15 ⅓ innings.

Tom Browning’s Perfect Game

Tom Browning threw the Reds first perfect game more than 100 years after the franchise started, retiring all 27 batters from the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sept. 16, 1988.

Pete Rose Hits No. 4,192

As controversial as he would become, there’s no denying the greatness of Pete Rose on the field. On Sept. 11, 1985, Rose became baseball’s all-time hits leader with a single off San Diego Padres pitcher Eric Show for career hit No. 4,192. He ended his career with 4,256 hits. He still ranks first all-time.

These represent just some of the many memorable Redlegs moments for the baseball club in Cincinnati. The Reds have played a central role in making baseball the great game it remains to this day.

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