Ranking the Best Players From the Big Red Machine
The Cincinnati Reds had some of the best baseball teams of all-time during the 1970s. Also known as the Big Red Machine, the Reds won six division titles in the 70s. They also went to four World Series during that time, winning two of them. These squads were loaded with all-time great players and their dominance over the National League may never be replicated again, especially in Cincinnati. Here are the top players from the Big Red Machine.
4. Tony Perez, first/third baseman
Tony Perez is one of three National Baseball Hall of Famers on this list as he had a great career. Perez had a career .279 batting average and was one of the team’s sluggers as he had 379 career home runs. Opponents never wanted to see him if there were men on base and the game was on the line either. This was especially the case during the 1975 World Series where the Reds defeated the Boston Red Sox. Perez had three home runs in that series, including a two-run homer during their 4-3 win in Game 7.
Perez had 1,652 total RBIs in his career and totaled 954 in the 70s, second to only teammate Johnny Bench. He was ultimately a seven-time All-Star in his career and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.
3. Joe Morgan, second baseman
If anyone was valuable to the Reds during their two World Series-winning seasons it was second baseman Joe Morgan. During each of those two seasons in 1975 and 1976, Morgan won back-to-back National League MVP awards. He also led all of baseball in on-base plus slugging percentage during those years.
Morgan ranks fifth all-time in the MLB in walks with 1,865 and 11th in stolen bases with 689. He was also an efficient hitter as he had a .271 career batting average to go with 1,133 RBIs. Throughout his career, Morgan was a 10-time All-Star. After being traded to the Reds in November 1971, he was an All-Star in each of his eight seasons in Cincinnati. Additionally, from 1973 through 1977, Morgan won five consecutive Gold Glove awards. Morgan also won one Silver Slugger award. He was ultimately inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990.
2. Johnny Bench, catcher
Johnny Bench is still considered one of the greatest catchers of all-time, and certainly one of the greatest Reds. Bench spent his entire 17-year career with the Reds. He was great defensively, winning 10 Gold Gloves, and runners were always afraid to try and steal on him. He was great at the plate too with a career .267 batting average to go with 389 home runs and 1,376 RBIs. 1,013 of those RBIs came in the 70s too, which led the entire MLB during that time span.
Bench ended up winning the NL MVP award twice in his career and was a 14-time All-Star. He also won the 1968 NL Rookie of the Year award, in addition to winning those 10 Gold Gloves. Of course, he was huge in the Reds’ World Series wins too as he won the 1976 World Series MVP. Bench was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989.
1. Pete Rose, outfielder/first baseman/third baseman
The only guy on this list not in the Hall of Fame is Pete Rose. This is due to his lifetime ban for betting on baseball. However, Rose is without a doubt one of the greatest players of all-time. He is the MLB’s all-time hit leader with 4,256 total hits and he had a .303 career batting average. Rose also had 1,314 career RBIs.
In those two World Series wins, Rose was also huge as he won the 1975 World Series MVP. Rose ultimately won the 1973 NL MVP award and was a 17-time All-Star. He also won the 1963 NL Rookie of the Year award, two Gold Gloves, one Silver Slugger, and he won the batting title three times. Rose is still banned from baseball.
The Big Red Machine is still one of the greatest baseball teams of all-time and the Reds had several great players on those rosters. These were just the top four as they are four of the greatest baseball players to ever play. All four of them could almost be interchangeable on this list.