As Sherwood Anderson Machado once wrote: “The Big Red Machine men are so intent on making have carried them very far from the old sweet things.”
The 1927 Yankees over the 1976 Reds? Nah. The same goes for all of those other pinstriped teams, ranging from DiMaggio and Mantle to Jackson and Jeter. You also must shove the prolific Athletics and Cubs of the early 20th century to the rear of the Big Red Machine, along with the Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1950s, the Orioles of Brooks, Frank and Boog and the other powerhouses of yore.
Nobody surpasses those legendary Reds, and they’ll hold that distinction as long as baseballs are round.
...Which takes us back to the greatest team ever, and the 1976 Reds acquired that tag after they swept the Phillies out of the NL Championship Series and the Yankees out of the World Series. It gets better. During the regular season, those Reds virtually led the Major Leagues in everything on offense: Runs scored, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBIs, walks, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, total bases and runs per game. They could field, too. They had four Gold Glovers up the middle in shortstop Dave Concepcion, center fielder Cesar Geronimo, Bench and Morgan. As a team, they had fewer errors than anybody, which is why they also led the Major Leagues in fielding percentage.
In contrast, the 1927 Yankees were great, but they weren’t Big Red Machine great. They topped the Major Leagues in all of those offensive categories I just mentioned—except for hits, doubles and fielding percentage.
Advantage, Machine. And, yes, those 1927 Yankees had baseball’s top ERA while the 1976 Reds, well, not so much. Starting pitching wasn’t the Reds’ thing during the 1970s, but they had one of the best bullpens ever. And get this: Even though the Big Red Machine was a massive steamroller at the plate, it was a Lamborghini on the basepaths. Only the Athletics stole more bases in 1976 than the Reds. As for the 1927 Yankees, they haven’t stolen a base yet. They did steal back then, but you get the point. They were an afterthought in that category, which means they weren’t as explosive overall as the 1976 Reds.
...What team can top that?
None back then.
None before, none now and none forever more.
Posted: September 12, 2013 at 05:02 AM | 98 comment(s)
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