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In 1975, the Big Red Machine broke a four-decade drought by besting the Boston Red Sox in the greatest World Series ever played.

Fifteen years later, in 1990, the Nasty Boys took the Reds to the most surprising World Series sweep in the history of the Great Game, blasting the Bash Brother-led Oakland A's in four straight.

It's 2005 -- another fifteen years later. Baseball is starting its 136th professional year on the shores of the Ohio River. And it's about to happen again.

To be fair, the 1990 Reds were one of the inexplicable aberrations of the modern era, grabbing a wire-to-wire World Series title, coming off a 75-87 season in '89 and just before slipping back into the oblivion of a 73-89 season in 1991.

They got there in part by finally cutting ties with the last links to their Big Red Machine glory days of 15 years earlier, removing the just-under-suspicion native Cincinnatian Pete Rose as manager the previous year, and finally releasing an aging .205-hitting Ken Griffey Sr. in August of the championship season, so he could move on to briefly share the outfield with his son in Seattle.

These were the Reds of the oft-injured Eric Davis, of the erratic and mercurial Paul O' Neill, the Reds of solid citizens like Joe Oliver, Todd Benzinger, the young Barry Larkin and Chris Sabo. They didn't scare anyone, but damn if they didn't win 91 games (one less than their Pythagorean total projected) in order to hold off the Dodgers in a weak division, then blow past the Pirates and A's in winning eight of 10 post-season games to claim those 1990 rings.

What does this have to do with the 2005 Cincinnati Reds? Well, they're poised to do it again in 2005, and you're hearing about here first on Batter's Box.

Every 15 Years, Something Special Happens in the Queen City
The 2005 Reds finally cut the last ties with their '90 predecessors this offseason, just as that team did back then with the '75 Champs after 15 years, as team captain (and like Rose, native Cincinnatian) Larkin finally decided to retire and took a front office job with the new Washington Nationals.

The 2005 Reds are the Reds of the oft-injured Ken Griffey Jr., of the erratic but potentially great Adam Dunn and of solid citizens like Joe Randa, Sean "The Mayor" Casey and Austin Kearns -- the latter two of which, by the way, have more offensive talent than anyone on that '90 team except Davis. This offense actually will scare some people -- say, the pitching staffs in Chicago, St. Louis and other NL Central cities -- but can the Reds hold off the competition in a much stronger division than the one they faced during Papa Bush's presidency?

The answer, of course, lies with the pitching staff. And truth be told, that's where the 2005 Reds veer most wildly in comparison to their 1990 forebears. But the last two Reds championship runs have not been built on starting pitching -- Rijo, Browning, Armstrong and Jackson were nice, as were Gullett, Billingham, Nolan and Norman, but those rotations weren't exactly packed with Hall of Famers.

No, those earlier editions of Reds Octobers succeeded based on offensive success and bullpens that were so good they became stuff of legend and earned nicknames -- Captain Hook's squad of Eastwick, McEnaney, Carroll and Borbon, and the later Nasty Boys of Dibble, Charlton and Myers (and Birtsas and Layana, but nobody ever remembers the Tims).

So does the success of the current Medium Red Machine depend on the arms of Danny Graves, Ben Weber and Ryan Wagner? As good as those three are -- and they're better than you think -- Reds fans certainly hope that's not the case. Fortunately, the 2005 Reds offense will be better than the 1990 Reds offense -- though of course not as good as the Reds of 30 seasons ago, packed with Hall of Fame talent.

So let's break down the Reds of 2005 and see what needs to happen for them to face off with the Yankees -- yes, the Yankees, preview coming March 25 -- in the 2005 World Series:

Starting With the Starting Rotation
Oh, gosh, the 2004 Reds starting pitching was awful. Let's sum this up by pointing out that the team gave the ball 29 times to Jose Acevado, he of the 5-12 record and ERA+ of, gulp, 68. Acevado's still on the team, but headed back to the bullpen, where he was lights out in sporadic work in 2003.

And Acevado was the #3 guy for the Reds last year! Right behind the immortal Aaron Harang (10-9, ERA+ of 82). Like Acevado, Harang will return to Cincinnati in 2005, but his role will be that of long reliever and possible fifth starter. That kind of fall from grace by your #2 guy is usually bad news for a team, but it's quite the opposite for the Reds, who move Harang down the list because actual living, capable hurlers have joined the team.

Here's the Reds rotation heading into 2005, with some admittedly best-case scenario notes to accompany the list:

  1. Paul Wilson: Though 11-6 last year, Wilson posted a seasonal ERA+ of exactly 92 for the fourth consecutive season. He gets slotted as "#1" primarily out of respect for his role as the top returning winner on the team. In reality, he's a fine, fine #3 guy for this team.
  2. Eric Milton: Based on his track record since 2000, excepting 2003 (which was lost almost entirely due to injury), this lefty can be expected to post 200 IP and a record of about 14-7, better than anything the Reds ran out to the mound last year.
  3. Ramon Ortiz: "Little Pedro," an unfortunate nickname that's plagued Ortiz for years, struggled last season as he shuttled between the Anaheim rotation and bullpen. Prior to that, the 31-year-old (Milton is 29) had established himself as a consistent 15-game winner, something the Reds have only had one of since 1999 (Jimmy Haynes, of all people, was 15-10 in 2002).
  4. Luke Hudson: This is the key guy for the Reds' rotation in 2005; Sports Weekly says "Hudson's stuff is hot," and he did post a 2.42 ERA (4-2, 188 ERA+) in nine starts last season. He's a little wild, but in part that's what makes him the Reds wild card for the coming season.
  5. Harang/Claussen/Mercker: Really, Aaron Harang isn't a bad guy to have around as your fifth starter, but the Reds certainly hope Brandon Claussen, acquired from the Yankees for another Aaron (Boone, in that trade), will step up and win the role. ESPN says of the left-handed Claussen, "He is not ace material, but the ability and the heart is there for him to be a useful starting pitcher."

    Actually, at one time, the Yanks believed Claussen was slated to be The Next Great Pinstriped Lefty, after the Chairman of the Board and Louisiana Lightning; Claussen may never be Ford or Guidry, but the Reds would be plenty satisfied if he turned into Fred Norman, and positively ecstatic if he ended up a Tom Browning type.

    If that proves premature (read: wildly optimistic) and the Reds still want to go to a lefty in the rotation, Kent Mercker is back for his second tour of duty with the team, and though he has 150 career starts to his name, not to mention a no-hitter, he hasn't made a start since 2000, or 263 games and three teams ago.

So It All Comes Back to the Bullpen?
Dave Miley is no Captain Hook, but his use of the bullpen in 2005 just might put Sparky Anderson to shame; the Reds are counting on big contributions from a sextet of pitchers who will thrill Cincy fans if they earn the nickname "The Reliable (if Not So Terribly Nasty) Boys."

For all the great relievers who have worn Cincinnati red -- and in addition to all those already named, John Franco, Jeff Brantley and Jeff Shaw have all taken a turn closing in the Queen City, while even Big Lee Smith passed through briefly -- the all-time franchise leader in saves is none other than current closer Danny Graves. Returning to that role in 2005 after a disastrous 4-15 trip into the 2003 rotation, Graves racked up a career-best 41 saves.

He'll need -- and be expected -- to match or surpass that in 2005 for the Reds to march on the Bronx in October. But who will get the ball from Ortiz and Milton to Graves? The look of the 2005 pen will be very different than last year's edition.

Mercker will be a lefty in the 'pen, though for the Reds' sake, he'd better be more than a LOOGY. Acevado returns, but Todd Jones doesn't, and the loss of John Riedling to the Marlins might be the most acutely-felt departure of the '05 season for the Reds. The key guy is Ryan Wagner, a former first-round pick, who according to Sports Weekly, "Struggled mightily last year [but hopes to] take baby steps toward the closer role that eventually could await him."

In addition to bringing back the lefty Mercker, the Reds acquired a couple of righties in Ben Weber, part of the Ortiz deal, who really stunk it up in Anaheim last season; and Dave Weathers, who came on board as a free agent. Weber and Weathers, some Box readers might recall, were both originally Blue Jay draft picks.

Weber had three excellent years with the 2001-03 Angels, while Weathers bounced around the NL last year in New York, Houston and Florida, but like Weber, was excellent in relief from 2001-03. If the Reds can slide Weber -- who at the very least will be the most entertaining reliever in Cincinnati since Brad "The Animal" Lesley was stomping around Riverfront in the mid-1980s -- into a short role ahead of Wagner and get some quality middle innings from Weathers, the two will bring more W's to the team than just their shared last initial.

So it's Mercker and Acevado in the middle (and Harang going long), with Weber, Weathers and Wagner (somebody is going to do something creative and nicknamey with all those W's if this works out) getting the ball to Graves. Ortiz and Milton have to like what they see down in the bullpen of their new team.

The Lineup: The Weak Links
The potential downfall of the 2005 Reds lies up the middle of the field -- and we're not talking about the pitching mound here.

The starting catcher is Jason LaRue, who hit .251 with 14 homers in 114 games last season; he's a fine defensive player, but Reds fans still compare every backstop in Red to a guy named Bench. LaRue can't win in that scenario, but he's actually a solid cog in a potential pennant run. Javier Valentin is, on his best day, a serviceable backup.

Now, around the keystone, there's plenty of leather to be flashed by shorstop Felipe Lopez and 2B D'Angelo Jiminez, but these guys also tend to put the "E" in "erratic." Offensively, Jiminez finally started to show a little of the promise the Yankees saw in him a few years back when he was deemed "untouchable," hitting .270 with a dozen dingers. F-Lop continued to struggle, hitting just .242 in 79 games. However, if Ray Olmedo or Anderson Machado see a lot of time on the field, the Reds will probably be in trouble.

Offensively, the Reds' best infield probably has Jiminez sliding over to short and Ryan Freel, a .277 hitter who stole 37 bases last season, at 2B, but Freel will continue to fill the Tony Phillips super-utility role and may just repeat his 500 at-bats of 2004.

The other guy up the middle in the Cincinnati defense, well, you all know about him, and we'll return to The Player of the 1990s shortly.

The Lineup: Corner-Stones
Let's face it, Joe Randa isn't the exciting offseason acquisition that an Adrian Beltre or Carlos Delgado would have been, but this "regular Joe" is a fine addition to a lineup -- nothing spectacular, as the OPS+ of 99 and 100 the past two years will attest, but as one preseason publication put it, he "at least gives them a legitimate third baseman." Randa and his .286 career average and 1-2 career homers are keeping the hot corner, uh, warm, until top prospect Edwin Encarnacion arrives on the scene to take over.

Across the diamond is The Mayor, Sean Casey. Here's a guy, a fine glove man, who hit .324 last season and neared or matched career high with 25 homers, 99 RBI and an OPS+ of 142. Casey turns 30 in 2005, so he probably won't get any better, but what's wrong with having a left-handed hitting All-Star playing first base for your team until 2011?

The Lineup: Roaming the GAP
The "GAP" of course, is the "Great American (Ballpark) Pasture," and the Reds have a chance to have the kind of outfield, offensively, that statisticians will talk about for years. A chance ... that's not to say they will. But they have a chance.

Let's start with the old University of Texas quarterback, Adam Dunn. Second in the NL in homers in 2004 with 46, Dunn also erased Bonds from the record books last year -- Bobby Bonds, that is. Barry's pop is now no longer the all-time single-season strikeout leader, as Dunn whiffed a stunning 195 times.

Dunn runs well and is a decent defender -- as you'd expect from an ex-QB, he has a fine arm -- and his career OPS of .894 with 118 homers at the tender age of 24 earns him comparables in the "similar players" list like Reggie Jackson, Troy Glaus and Darryl Strawberry ... but also Pete Incaviglia, Otto Velez and Bubba Trammell. Which way Dunn goes will impact the next decade of Reds success. He needs to hit .260+, as he did last season, rather than .215, as he did in 2003, and continue the power surge for Cincinnati to win big.

With Dunn in LF, the Reds are also counting on big things from another 24-year-old in RF, Austin Kearns. Like Dunn, a big, strong right-handed hitter, Kearns hit .315 and displayed excellent power with 13 homers and 24 doubles in just 372 at-bats during his rookie year of 2002; unfortunately for the Reds, he's battled injury since then and managed just 146 games combined over the past two seasons.

A powerful, talented, but injury-plagued righty; is it any wonder that one of Kearns' most comparable players is Ron-DL White? The Reds will need Kearns to match that 146 games of 2003-2004 in this coming season alone to succeed at the level made possible by their immense talent.

Speaking of immense talent and injury-proneness, Kearns and Dunn will flank a future Hall of Famer in Cincinnati this season, hometown hero Ken Griffey Jr. The player of the decade for the 1990s, Junior has managed to make it into just 317 of a possible 648 games over the past four seasons -- and hit just .266 with one homer every 16 at-bats over that timeframe. Still, Junior says he's healthy. The Reds say he's healthy. Even Peter Gammons says he's healthy, and when is Gammons ever wrong?

Given the various health concerns, the Reds are thrilled to have a youngster they think could be better than all three of the above around to fill in. Wily Mo Pena, who just turned 23 in January, has names like Willie Mays, Reggie Jackson and Barry Bonds on his "similar batters" list, though projections based on those names is probably getting a bit ahead of the game. Still, he hit 26 bombs -- and struck out 108 times -- in just 336 at-bats in 2004.

The Reds love Pena so much, they considered moving Kearns to 3B so Wily Mo could play CF, moving Griffey to LF and Dunn to RF. Though they are still considering this as an option for 2006, rather than having four different people change positions for the coming year, the team signed Randa and planned to get Pena 400+ at-bats in a utility role, or more when -- er, if -- someone gets hurt. Freel is also a fine defensive OF and can fill in for any of the three starters in a pinch.

The X-Factor
Perhaps no team outside of Colorado has to worry about the vagaries of "park factor" as much as the Reds. The Great American Ballpark (taking over, with the naming rights to The Ballpark in Arlington being sold to Ameriquest, as the most generically named stadium in the game) is without a doubt a home run hitter's paradise, the kind that earned past ballparks nicknames like "The Launching Pad." This is great news for Dunn, Kearns, Griffey & Co.

This, however, is also very BAD news for the Reds pitchers, especially Eric Milton, who surrendured a Blyleven-esque 43 dingers for the Phillies last year, and has given up almost exactly one home run per start throughout his career. Ramon Ortiz threw 40 gopher balls back in 2002 and has also averaged about one per career start.

While Hudson has shown no such generous long-ball proclivities, Claussen gave up nine homers in 14 2004 starts, while Wilson tends to give up 25-30 each season.

The verdict? A lot of 8-6 and 7-5 games in southern Ohio, and a lot of work for -- highlighting the importance of -- the aforementioned bullpen.

So What's Gonna Happen?
It's pretty simple, really; in many ways, this comes down to the same gut feeling I had in March of 1990. I mean, who knew that Chris Sabo would pull it all together and be an All-Star that year? That Billy Hatcher would play well enough to relegate Rolando Roomes from 315 AB in 1989 to just 61 in 1990? That Barry Larkin would become a full-time .300 hiiter?

Who knew that former All-Star Billy Doran, another Cincinnati native, wouldn't work out at 2B, but Mariano Dncan, of all people, would? That Jack Armstrong would start the All-Star Game, or that Jose Rijo would stay healthy? That the trade of John Franco for Randy Myers would work so well and lead to the formation of The Nasty Boys?

A lot of things had to go right for the Reds in 1990 -- and not all of them did. No pitcher won more than 15 games, no regular position player drove in more than 86. Only Larkin was healthy enough to play in more than 145 gmes. But 1990 was their year and enough went right to make it a Reds October 15 years ago.

Now, 15 years later, it's poised to happen again. The Reds need, say, seven of the following nine things to happen for a shot at the post-season:

  1. Ortiz, Milton and Wilson combine to win 40 games.
  2. One of Claussen and Hudson steps up to nail down the fourth starter's role with 12 wins.
  3. Weber, Weathers and Wagner get the ball to Graves consistently.
  4. Graves repeats his 40-save season of 2004.
  5. At least one of Kearns and Griffey stay healthy.
  6. The four outfielders, Griffey, Dunn, Kearns and Pena, combine to hit 115 homers.
  7. Casey wins, or at least makes a run at the batting title.
  8. Randa bounces back to his 2003 levels offensively.
  9. Some combination of Freel, Jiminez and Lopez solidifies the Reds middle infield, if not to Concepcion/Morgan levels, at least to Duncan/Larkin levels.
It won't all happen, of course. But enough of it will. And the 94-68 Reds will snag the NL Wild Card and ride an October wave into the World Series.

And you read it here first.

The Hunt For a Reds October '05 | 16 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Cristian - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 06:43 PM EST (#104822) #
but what's wrong with having a left-handed hitting All-Star playing first base for your team until 2011?

The Reds got Helton?

Great preview. Another tie to the 1990 squad is that Ben Weber wears the magical Chris Sabo goggles. I really find this team interesting and with Montreal now gone, I'm annointing the Reds my favorite NL squad. However, moreso than needing to be lucky, the Reds need their competition to be just as unlucky.

They need:

the Cubs to not hit (probable)

the Astros to have Pettite, Biggio, and Bagwell sucking (plausible)

the Cards to be hit with a Jays-like injury bug (possible)

and the Brewers and Pirates to do whatever they've been doing for the past 10 years.

All in all, I don't think the Reds winning the Central isn't completely farfetched.

Magpie - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 07:28 PM EST (#104829) #
OK, I made a wisecrack about this prediction in the Game Thread. So here to explain myself...

The Reds had a nice off-season, and I especially think the bullpen moves should help. But that rotation? In the same division as Prior/Wood/Zambrano, Mulder/Carpenter/Marquis, Dewalt/Clemens/Pettitte?

They need an awful lot to go right. They really, really need the teams in front of them to fall flat on their faces. All of them, which might be a bit much to hope for.

You can see how it could happen. Everything works perfectly, and they improve to the level of an 86-88 win team. (Which would be a major step, but you remember how utterly awful their pitching was last year.) And then they do a 2004 Yankees, and win a whole bunch more games than the Pyhagorean would suggest...

I'm trying to see it!

Gitz - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 07:45 PM EST (#104831) #
I may have read it here first, but that don't make it so, Dr. Doherty.

Good preview, despite the 125%-baked prediction.

Chuck - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 07:50 PM EST (#104832) #

I'm wondering if the Reds shouldn't have been trying to shop Casey in the off-season. He had a terrific 2004 but averaged just a 760 OPS over the three prior seasons.

Casey's departure would have freed up 1B for Dunn, allowed Griffey to move to LF and made Pena the starting CF.

Yes, Kearns and/or Griffey figure to get hurt (as well as Casey, who has reached 150 games just once) so Pena should get his AB as a plan B on 3 fronts.

But moving Casey would have (a) shed his salary and (b) made a declaration of the team's priorities for 2005. I don't believe the Reds will contend in 2005 so if they've moved Casey and then get bitten by the all too familiar injury bug, so what?

Of course, that said, they probably do figure they will contend and probably do hold out hope that the Sean Casey who was at his career worst during his theoretical peak years (from ages 26 to 28) is back to his 900 OPS self.

jeff - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 08:22 PM EST (#104834) #
A good article, certainly as a think piece. Goes to show how unpredictable a baseball season can be.

I thought along the same lines about last year's Reds team. I just don't see any difference between last year's to do list and this year's. Again, you are hoping for:

1. three of Griffey, Kearns, Dunn, Casey and now Pena to stay healthy and have allstar type seasons;
2. production out of third;
3. a middle infield that holds its own;
4. the veteran starters prove reliable (the fact that Philly chose Lidle over Milton is ominous);
5. Graves continues his success;
6. one of Harang, Claussen or Hudson emerges; and
7. Wagner becomes a dominant bullpen arm.

Arguably, the first five of that seven occurred last year (with Freel providing the production from third and Larkin having a fine first half as shortstop) and the Reds still weren't competitive in a bad division.
CaramonLS - Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 08:44 PM EST (#104835) #
Red have a lot of power... but that Bullpen/Starting rotation, especially with the solid pitchers in their division.... ug.

They need all of their pitchers to step it up in a big way, or I don't see this club going anywhere.
Mick Doherty - Saturday, March 12 2005 @ 12:07 AM EST (#105874) #
Just a production note ... for those of you wandering into this thread as it goes live Saturday morning early (actually, just after midnight), there are already a fair number of comments because it was inadvertantly posted earlier in the week for a brief period of time due to user error. (That's on me.)

I also want to go on the record pointing oiut that Moffatt was originally going to preview the Reds but I asked him for the privilege, precisely because they are my out-of-LF pick to play deep into October. As you now know.
Gerry - Saturday, March 12 2005 @ 08:30 AM EST (#105876) #
Can I get some of that stuff? That review is groovy man.
Gerry - Saturday, March 12 2005 @ 08:54 AM EST (#105879) #
On amore serious note, anything can happen in baseball, agreed. I think little Ramon Ortiz is suffering from too many innings and I doubt whether he will be a stud again.

Your list of things that need to happen includes the top three starters winning 40 games and the #4 starter winning 12. If we assume the #5 starter can win 10, your starters will give you 62 wins. Your bullpen needs to give you 34 wins. That means they will not allow many runs, a very long shot looking at that crew. That brings me back to the artificial joy.....
Magpie - Saturday, March 12 2005 @ 04:01 PM EST (#105943) #
the greatest World Series ever played.

Ahem. I will have something to say about that. Later!

Mick Doherty - Saturday, March 12 2005 @ 07:18 PM EST (#105949) #
Mags, I'll edit the lede to this story at the appropriate time to include the phrase ", at least since 1912," and make a link to the fist several hundred thousand words of what you write.

It's all personal opinion anyway, and as a nine-year-old kid with New York roots growing up in Ohio watching the BRM win a series that beats the Red Sox before all that Bucky-and-Buckner curse nonsense kicked in ... well.

You'll have a hard time convincing *me* there's ever been one better.
Craig B - Saturday, March 12 2005 @ 07:19 PM EST (#105950) #
I love this prediction - bold and daring. The "every 15 years" thing is interesting, so I decided to look back every 15 years before the Big Red Machine to see how the Reds had done.

(Warning : the following may not be suitable for impressionable viewers...)

The 1960 Reds went 67-87 and finished sixth. Cliff Cook was expected to take over at third but stank. Jay Hook served up home runs like apple pie, and went 11-18. Don Newcombe, expected to be a rotation mainstay, pitched horribly (he later admitted his drinking had gotten out of control), went 6-9 and retired. Billy Martin took over from Johnny Temple at second base and was completely terrible. Vada Pinson had an off year, and Gus Bell went south for good. (Now mind you, in '61 those Reds won the pennant in a remarkable turnaround...)

The 1945 Reds went 61-93 and finished seventh, five years after winning the World Series and a year after going 89-65 (ouch). This was a truly lousy team, with an absolutely terrible offense not helped at all by the wartime balata ball. They had the worst offense and worst bullpen in the National League. Guys like the 46-year-old Hod Lisenbee had to come out of retirement and not for an inning or two, either. Lisenbee pitched 80 innings. Rookie Mike Modak had a 5.74 ERA and never pitched in the majors thereafter. But it was the offense that was the worst. 2B Woody Williams hit .237 with no home runs. The starting outfielders hit ten homers between them. The Reds' team OBP was .301.

The 1930 Reds went 59-95 and finished seventh, again with the NL's worst offense. In the biggest hitting season on record, the Reds had one player (the aging Harry Heilmann with 19) break 10 home runs. They had one of the lightest-hitting double-play combos of all time, in Hod Ford (OPS+ of 43) and Leo Durocher (OPS+ of 51). Heilmann led the team in runs scored with 79. The only thing they did well on offense was strike out. 3B Tony Cuccinello hit well but fielded .920, and the Reds' ace, Red Lucas, went 14-16.

The 1915 Reds went 71-83 and finished seventh, again with the NL's worst offense. First baseman Fritz Mollwitz played nearly every inning of every game, hit .253 and scored the princely total of 36 runs. OF Tommy Griffith hit well, with a .307 average fattened by 51 extra-base hits. Unfortunately, he went 6-for-30 as a basestealer, the worst I've ever seen. And he wasn't the only one. LF Red Killefer went 12-for-30, and 3B Heinie Groh (of bottle bat fame) hit .290 but was 12-for-29 on the basepaths. The other OF was Tommy Leach, who was better stealing bases (20-for-34) but unfortunately hit .224 with no power. Joe Wagner, who played three infield positions and started at least 50 games, hit .178. The Reds had some terrific starting pitching - Fred Toney had a 1.58 ERA - but their offense was so bad that Pete Schneider had a 2.48 ERA and went 14-19.

The 1900 Reds went 62-77 and finished seventh. Guess how good the offense was? Actually, they were the NL's second-worst offense. This is a pretty garden-variety bad team, notable for their 20-year-old rookie by the name of Sam Crawford.

The 1885 Reds went 63-49 and finished second in the American Association, and were a good team as far as the AA went.

I wonder if it isn't time for the Reds to revert to their form of 1960, 1945, 1930, 1915, and 1900 rather than continue a 1975-1990-2005 run. I guess we'll see. :)

Magpie - Saturday, March 12 2005 @ 08:01 PM EST (#105951) #
You'll have a hard time convincing *me* there's ever been one better.

I think what we had in 1975 was a very very good series elevated to mythic proportion by Game 6. Which truly was an epic, one of the most gripping baseball games ever played. Ever. So that's fair enough.

I think the other contenders, from my lifetime anyway, would be Gibson vs Yaz in 1967 and, especially, Twins-Braves in 1991 which certainly had the best deciding game. I think the 1975 teams were much more interesting than the 1991 teams, which is also a point in favour of Reds vs Red Sox.

Mick Doherty - Sunday, March 13 2005 @ 07:40 PM EST (#106017) #
Okay, Craig, fair enough I did that math, too, and almost included some stuff about '61, but liked the artificial symmetry I built up too much to be off by a year. I guess I should have qualified my lede:

"Every 15 years in my lifetime, something special has happened in Cincinnati ..."

Mike Green - Sunday, March 13 2005 @ 09:58 PM EST (#106023) #

The G.A.B. played as an extreme pitcher's park in 2004. Milton and Ortiz should be all right.

The Reds won 76 games last season, but outplayed their Pythagorean projection by a healthy 9 games.

It's really a completely different situation than the Reds of '90. The Reds had been a good team in the late 80s, developing large numbers of fine prospects, Eric Davis, Kal Daniels, Barry Larkin, Paul O'Neill, Chris Sabo et. al. In 1989, the team had an off-season due to injuries, and due to trying out a number of very young pitchers in the rotation. It was easy to foresee that Jose Rijo, Tom Browning, and Danny Jackson (who actually did not have one of his best years in 1990) would make a fine front three, and that Norm Charlton would be very good as a swingman.

This Reds club has been bad for years, and the rotation has nowhere near the promise that the 90 rotation had.

Mick Doherty - Thursday, September 22 2005 @ 12:20 PM EDT (#128582) #
The Reds were mathematically eliminated from making the post-season yesterday.

That is all.

I will have a complete apology and examination into What Went Wrong after the season is complete.
The Hunt For a Reds October '05 | 16 comments | Create New Account
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