History of the Cincinnati Reds

The Cincinnati Reds, one of baseball's oldest teams, is probably best known for its winning "Big Red Machine" team of the 1970s. The team struggled after the mid-1990s, but it has had a resurgence in recent years under the leadership of Dusty Baker.

The origins of the modern-day Cincinnati Reds began with the third Cincinnati Red Stockings team that was established in 1882. The first Red Stockings team eventually became the Braves and the second team with that name was expelled from baseball in 1880.

The third Cincinnati Red Stockings team played in the American Association from 1882 until 1889, when it switched to the National League. With the change in leagues, the team also changed its name to the Cincinnati Reds. The move to the National League and the name change did not, however, improve the team, and the Reds spent much of their first 30 years near the bottom of the league.

In 1919, the Reds finally became a winning team, taking first the National League pennant and then going on to win their first World Series. Their good fortunes did not continue, however, and it would be 20 more years before the team would again see post-season play.

In the early 1930s, the Cincinnati Reds were bankrupt and they were saved by Powel Crosley, Jr., who bought the team. Crosley hired Larry MacPhail as general manager and under the two men, the Reds once again had the beginnings of a good team. In 1939, the Reds won the National League pennant and the following year, they won the pennant and their second World Series. This success, as with their win 21 years earlier, did not last and the Reds spent the next 20 years near the bottom of the National League.

In the mid to late 1950s, the Cincinnati Reds started to acquire key players, including Frank Robinson and pitcher Bob Purkey. With the power of players like Robinson and good pitching, the Reds won the National League pennant in 1961. They continued to play well but they did not win another pennant until 1970.

During the 1960s, the Reds started nurturing a group of rookies that, in the 1970s, would be part of one of baseball's best teams. Included in this group were Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Lee May, Dave Concepcion, and Gary Nolan. In 1967, Bob Howsam became the Reds general manager and together with the team's manager, Sparky Anderson, hired in 1970, would lead the new, young Cincinnati Reds players to almost a decade of championship seasons.

In 1970, the Cincinnati Reds' "Big Red Machine" won the first of five National League West division titles (1970, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1976) and the first of four National League pennants (1970, 1972, 1975, 1976). In 1975, the team won the World Series and they followed it with a second consecutive win in 1976. The "Big Red Machine" of the 1970s had three future Hall of Famers, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez, and Pete Rose who still holds the record for most career hits in major league baseball.

The end of the 1976 World Series saw the inevitable end of the Big Red Machine. First, Tony Perez was traded to the Montreal Expos in 1976, a year later, Gary Nolan was traded to the Angels, and in 1978, Pete Rose left as a free agent to the Philadelphia Phillies. In 1979, Sparky Anderson was fired by the new general manager, Dick Wagner. The only good acquisition made during those years was Tom Seaver, who helped the remaining Reds, that included Bench, Morgan, Concepcion, Ray Knight, and Ken Griffey (senior), win one more National League West division series in 1979. The team played well for two more years, but their downhill slide began in 1982. A year later, Bench retired from baseball and Seaver left the Reds.

Howsam was rehired in 1983 and he acquired Dave Parker for the Reds. Tony Perez was back and two years later, Pete Rose was the Reds player-manager. The team improved but still did not finish higher than second place during the 1980s. Heartbreak for Reds fans came in 1989, when the team's hero, Pete Rose, was banned from baseball.

In 1990, Lou Piniella was the new Reds manager and he led the team to their last World Series win. After 1990, the Cincinnati Reds would see post-season play again in 1995, when they won the National League Central division title. That was their last post-season year until 2010.

The Reds started building a winning team again in the mid-2000s with the acquisition of players like Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto. In 2008, Dusty Baker was hired to manage the team and under his leadership, the Reds won the National League Central division title in 2010 and 2012.

Source for Information
Wikipedia - Cincinnati Reds