From the website,, a 3 part series on the BRM.

There are only two options: the 1927 New York Yankees or the 1976 Cincinnati Reds. The Final Jeopardy question is, of course, “What is the greatest baseball team ever, Alex?” (That’s Trebek, not Rodriguez.) Without getting into statistical comparisons, it’s as hard to argue against a team that has Ruth, Gehrig, Hoyt, and Combs as it is to argue against a team that has Bench, Morgan, Rose, and Perez. The point is no other team even comes close to the dominance these two teams had over professional baseball in their respective years.


Where do you start when you talk about the Big Red Machine?  They were the rare example of a group of superstars who played together as a team, putting aside egos and jealousies that so often ruin the chemistry and cohesiveness that is usually found on a championship team.  (The 1972-1974 Oakland A’s, who were notorious for their hatred of each other, may disagree with that statement.)  Individually they were great; collectively they were unstoppable, as their 210-114 won-lost record for the 1975-1976 seasons indicates.  The amazing thing about the 1976 Reds was that the eight starting position players – the Great Eight as they came to be known – only started in the same game together 49 times that season, and seven of those were in the playoffs and World Series!  That’s right, the Reds won 102 games with their starting eight only starting together in 42 regular season games out of 162.  So almost 75% of the time they were NOT starting the game as a unit.  How’s THAT for dominance?

Just a little taste from Part I.

UPDATE: I just read Part III…he claims that Davey Concepcion was the Captain of the BRM. I sure don’t remember this. My memory says that the captain was Peter Edward Rose. Concepcion may have been captain (before Barry Larkin, maybe?), but not during the BRM era. Or am I being delusional?

24 Responses

  1. Flash

    The answer is neither. The 29 A’s were better than both.

    The Reds had Rose. The A’s had Cobb.
    The Reds had Bench. The A’s had Mickey Cochran also a HOF catcher.
    The Reds had Morgan. The A’s had Eddie Collins.
    The Reds had Perez, The A’s had HOF’er Al Simmons.
    The Reds had Foster. The A’s had a guy named Foxx.
    The Reds had Griffey. The A’s had Jimmie Dykes.

    Neither the Reds or the Yanks had a guy like Lefty Grove.

    Interesting that the 29 A’s took the 27 Yankees apart two years later. The 72 A’s took the Reds also three years before 75. Both of those teams won three WC’s.

  2. Chad

    Concepcion was the captain, but not until the 80s, unless I’m mistaken. I clearly remember the “C” on his jersey in the mid-eighties.

  3. Shawn

    This is true. I don’t believe the BRM had a captain. It certainly wasn’t Concepcion. That wasn’t until after Bench retired.

    And, the 1939 Yankees are the best team ever.

  4. Phill

    A lot of websites are listing 1973. Although it may be the result of a misprint and supposed to have originally said 1983…which would make a lot more sense than named him captaion 3 years into his career.

    I honestly don’t have a clue though.

  5. Flash

    Interesting that Shawn brings up the 39 Yankess. The article spent a lot of time on the Bench/ Munson debate. The question really had its origin in 1939 when the Reds MVP catcher was being compared to HOF’er Yankee catcher Bill Dickey. The series was a disaster for Lombardi while a boon for Dickey. Dickey hit a gane winning single in game one. He homered in games 3 and 4. Still the Reds would had won game four if an error had not been made on a potential double play grounder hit to Myers by you know who, Dickey. That was before the final Lombardi disaster. In the tenth inning of game four Dimagio hit what should hve been only a single driving in a go ahead run. The ball was misplayed and a second run came in. On a collision at the plate Lombardi was knocked out cold losing the ball and allowing Dimagio to circle the bases. This became known as the Lombardi snooze (an offbeat comment to his nose. ) He never made the Hall until later selection by the veterans committee. The Yankee writers were trying to recreate the scenario to disgrace Bench also. Johnny wouldn’t comply though winning the series MVP and redemption for Lombardi.

  6. Bill

    Bench also won the MVP for the Series from which the controversy came…

  7. mike

    speaking of MVPs and the BRM
    I noticed this a few days ago.

    From 1970-1978 Reds finished in the top 10 in the MVP voting 19(!!!!!) times. That is insane!

    1970: Bench(1), Perez(3), Rose(7)
    1972: Bench(1), Morgan(4)
    1973: Rose(1), Morgan(4), Perez(7), Bench(10)
    1974: Bench(4), Morgan(8)
    1975: Morgan(1), Bench(4), Rose(5)
    1976: Morgan(1), Foster(2), Griffey(7)
    1977: Foster(1)
    1978: Foster(6)

    almost trivia but if you were to guess off the top of your head which Red generated the most runs (Runs Created) from 1970-78 who would be your first guess? Mine was Bench.

    1 Joe Morgan 414
    2 Pete Rose 309
    3 Johnny Bench 203
    4 Tony Perez 199
    5 George Foster 148
    6 Ken Griffey Sr. 122

    and if we adjust for position played?
    1 Joe Morgan 463
    2 Johnny Bench 270
    3 Pete Rose 240
    4 Tony Perez 153
    5 George Foster 107
    6 Dave Concepcion 98

  8. Chad

    Re: Concepcion, that really surprises me, if it’s true about him being named captain in 1973.

    I guess I just don’t remember the “C” on his jersey until the 80s, and assumed that’s when he was named. Does anyone remember when he first started wearing the “C”.

    He was a good captain, regardless. I’m a big Concepcion fan, always have been.

  9. Bill

    could that have been a misprint…that maybe it was ’83? Any other old guys like me that actually remember the BRM (not like these young whippersnappers that only know them from what they read about them)?

  10. Y-City Jim

    There is no way Concepcion was the captain in 1973, three years removed from his rookie year. That was the season when he began to blossom offensively. I always felt that had he not suffered the broken ankle that year, they would have had the extra RH bat to beat the Mets LHers in the playoffs so as to face the A’s again.

    Both the 1970 and 1972 Reds suffered from bullpen lapses in the World Series. I think the Reds had the lead in every game in the ’70 series. The Brooks Robinson vacuum didn’t help matters either. Clay Carroll’s blown save in Game 4 in the ’72 series doomed the Reds comeback trail.

    One always wonders how much better the BRM could have been without the career-influencing injuries to Gary Nolan, Jim Maloney, and Wayne Simpson (though his ’70 season my have been a fluke when you look at the walks to K’s ratio). A healthy Nolan and Maloney alone could have elevated the club to another level.

  11. preach

    ….and then I look at our roster from 2008……sigh. Church of Baseball has a graphic that reflects how long to the second it’s been since the Reds last WS championship-wow. We need a competetive team soon. This is pitiful.

    If you look at the roster the A’s were working with in the early 70’s it was amazing as well. Vida Blue as your ace and Rollie Fingers to close out games? And what a volatiol group. Had to be like walking on eggshells in that clubhouse.

    I may just be reflecting with Rose colored glasses (pun intended), but the 70’s sure was a great baseball decade.

  12. Y-City Jim

    It’s amazing the A’s put together such a roster with an idiot like Charlie Finley as the owner.

  13. Mr. Redlegs

    Guys, Concepcion was NOT the captain in 1973. I don’t care what some website says. He was granted captaincy in 1983 after the debacle of 1982 that helped somewhat with public outrage over the demise of the franchise. Rose was captain of the BRM.

    This is another case of some dumb website writer repeating the mistake of another dumb website writer.

  14. Bill

    I received the following response from Greg Eckes, curator of the Reds HOF/Museum:

    Pete Rose was named team captain in 1970 and retained this title until his departure after the 1978 season.

    Dave Concepcion was named team captain in 1983 and served in this role until his 1988 retirement.

    Barry Larkin was named team captain in spring training 1997. He was the captain until his retirement after the 2004 season.

    So, my memory isn’t shot after all..

  15. Chris

    “Corey Patterson was named team captain in 2008, and served in this role until his 2020 retirement.”

  16. Mr. Redlegs

    Now here’s something to see if you old-timers remember:

    During the strike of ’81, WLE and the Reds Radio Network were frantic to find something to put on the air in the time slot of the games. Brennaman and Nuxhall traveled to some Reds minors games, did call-in Q&As with fans–really, anything.

    Then, they came up with a simulated game between the ’27 Yanks and ’76 Reds. I think they used APBA or Strat-O-Matic game cards for the play-by-play and like old radio games they either recreated the game or played a World Series between the two with Bench and Nuxhall doing the play-by-play. I seem to recall Bench hitting one out in the ninth to win it for the Reds.

    Anyoneelse recall this re-creation?

  17. Chad

    I don’t remember the recreation, but I remember Nuxie talking about it in an interview.

  18. preach

    Yep, Mr. R, sure do. As I recall they did many simulated games during that strike. I’ve always wanted to get a copy of those. I don’t remember any specifics of the games, but I remember they sure were fun. I was in junior high.

  19. Mr. Redlegs

    Well, I’m old and the hands are the first to go. Or maybe it’s the mind. I meant to say Brennaman and Nuxhall did the play-by-play and, yeah, I know . . . it’s WLW.

    I believe there were other re-creations but I also recall people getting tired of them after a while. Perhaps the most unusual summer I can recall. It felt completely naked, even if all we care for is having the game as a backdrop.

  20. NickP

    The ’29 A’s didn’t have Cobb. He retired in ’28.

    Also, that lineup had 3 giant holes in it (2b, 3b, SS). The Reds had above average hitters 1 through 8.

  21. Steve Price

    The 29 A’s post is a rather comment. The 29-31 Philadelphia A’s were no doubt one the all-time greats, and better than the 70’s A’s.

    However….for the 29 A’s…Ty Cobb had already retired, and Eddie Collins only batted 7 times that year. Jimmy Dykes had a great year…but, he was their fourth outfielder..he didn’t start for them.

    To say they had a giant hole at 2b would be a mischaracterization…Max Bishop was an On base machine, built on walks. His 1929 year was the only exception to a ten year streak of over .400 OBPs (in 29 it was .398).

    That A’s team was carried by Jimmie Fox, Mickey Cochrane, Al Simmons, and Mule Haas. What they could really do was pitch…

    Lefty Grove may be the greatest pitcher of all time, and he was supported by four other starters, all with ERA+ of 107 or better, and their two major relievers, and their two major relievers had ERA+’s or 118 or better.

    Their lineup was more reminiscent of the 1970 Reds (poor hitters in Helms and at shortstop), however their pitching staff was better (if the Reds had protected arms like we do today, they’re staff would have been legendary–Nolan, Maloney, Simpson, Gullett, Merritt, and McGlothlin with Grimsley, Wilcox, and Andujar in the minors).

    The 29-31 A’s team would give the 27 Yanks and 76 Reds a run, but similulations and study don’t give them the edge…

  22. NickP

    Steve: Hole was probably a strong word, but he was below average with the stick, to the tune of -5 runs.

    Hale (-23 runs) and Boley (-15 runs) were legitimate holes in the lineup.

    I realize this neglects their defense, but I’ve little doubt they were as good as Morgan-Concepcion with the glove, so the edge still goes to the Reds as far as lineup.