Keeping Tony Perez after the 1976 world championship season would not have led the Big Red Machine to a third straight World Series title, according to a 1977 season simulation by Strat-O-Matic.

Redleg Nation readers recently requested a 1977 season simulation without the pre-season trade of Tony Perez to Montreal for lefthanded starter Woody Fryman and righthanded reliever Dale Murray. In the actual 1977 season, Cincinnati finished 88-74, and 10 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West. Strat-O-Matic’s Reds season simulation (adding Perez and subtracting Fryman and Murray) resulted in Cincinnati finishing 93-69, but still behind the Dodgers. There was not a Wild Card in the playoffs at that time, so a second-place finish would not have qualified the Reds for the postseason.

Perez’s simulation season statistics:

In actual 1977 stats, Perez batted .283 with 19 home runs and 91 runs batted in for the Expos.

What other “what-if” scenarios would you like to see simulated by Strat-O-Matic? Let us know in the comments below, and the idea with the most yes votes will be submitted to Strat-O-Matic in the coming days.

Strat-O-Matic, which produces baseball simulation board and digital games, is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

50 Responses

  1. Jim t

    Hated that trade but it comes in second to what I consider to be the worst trade in my lifetime. Frank Robinson to the Orioles for Milt Papas, Jack Baldschum and Dick Simpson.

    • Melvin

      Your feelings are understandable considering Robinson won the Triple Crown with the Orioles.

    • Shelton Stowers

      I wonder if that would truly be accurate? Perez season with the Expis could have been much better in Cincinnati. The Expos didn’t exactly have great hitters to surround Perez, so he may not have seen as good of pitches sometimes or been put in game winning situations, just a thought.

      • MK

        And they would probably not had have traded Gary Nolan but still might have acquired Tom Seaver. Your correct Shelton to assume the numbers would have been the same is not accurate.

        Paul O’Neill for Roberto Kelly was pretty bad as well.

      • Red Thunder

        Could easily seen Perez with 100 rbis on that reds team. Sure his walk rate was higher on the expos then it would have been. Couldn’t pitch around him on the reds like you could on the expos. Always nice hitting with runners on and good hitters below you in the order. I remember him being a good Clutch hitter with the game on the line. Always fun thinking about the Big Red Machine and wondering how much better they could been if it stayed together 4 or 5 more years, history and championship wise. Not complaining because I enjoyed every minute of it. Once told Joe Morgan that they spoiled us fans and that we want that again. He agreed and gave that big smile of his. Thanks Tom!

    • Eric L Wormus

      Don’t know if that would effect the 1966 season much, but inserting 1970 Frank Robinson into right field and moving Pete Rose to 2nd would be interesting.

    • Bill sannes

      That was the worst trade in baseball history been trying to think of something that would be close in today’s terms can’t think of any comparison

  2. Melvin

    Well. Five more wins is a lot. Strato doesn’t take into account the intangibles. Still though, like Michael Jordan, they should have been given a chance to threepeat. Even Sparky and Dick said as much. Anyway, there were some very good teams in the 70s. As I recall in 74 we won 98 games and still came in second to the Dodgers. Pirates, Phillies, Yankees and others had really good teams too. It took the Big Red Machine to be the team of the 70s. We’ll never know for sure but it was cool to do this. Thanks Tom. Just curious. How many games behind did they finish according to Strato?

    • Melvin

      I know we picked up Tom Seaver mid season. If Gullett hadn’t left for the Yankees we definitely would have won it all.

      • Melvin

        Good ol Jim Bowden gave him the boot too… as manager…after only 44 games in his first/only managerial job. They were only a few games under .500 lol. I don’t think I’ve ever met or heard of anyone that liked Jim Bowden. lol Everyone loved Tony Perez….and still do. 🙂

      • RojoB

        I know folks that like Bowden…they make leather pants

      • Robert

        Think of what could have been if Bowie Kuhn hadn’t put the kibosh on the Vida Blue deal.

    • indyDoug

      arguably oakland was the team of the 70’s with 3 straight WS titles, but as you say, alot of great teams back then.

    • RedsMonk65


      As already mentioned, there were many good teams that decade. The A’s won three titles, and Reds, Pirates, and Yankees each won two. Orioles won the other.

      If you went by World Series APPEARANCES during the decade, the ranking would look like this:

      1. Reds (4)
      2. Orioles, A’s, Yankees, and Dodgers (3 each)
      3. Pirates (2)
      4. Red Sox and Mets (1 each)

      So, all things considered, I think one could make a case for the A’s, Reds, Yankees and MAYBE the Orioles as “Best Teams of the ’70s.” As for the Pirates — I don’t like them anyway. Didn’t then. Don’t know. So there! 😉

      • RedsFanInFL

        72-78 only time in MLB history (I believe) that 3 teams won consecutive successive WS – As 72-74, Reds 75-76, Yankees 77-78

  3. LDS

    Strat-o-matic was my favorite game back in the dim recesses of my memory. It was very popular when I was in college in the early 70s. I suspect there are stronger simulators out there these days but Strat-o-matic was fun and more playable than their contemporaries back in the 70s. I suspect they and the early Bill James Abstracts helped launch the crowd that created the analytics movement.

  4. RojoB

    I love the stat sheet with the vintage typeface. Would that still be called Times New Roman?

    • Richard Fitch

      Courier. A monospaced font that gave equal space to each character similar to a typewriter.

  5. indyDoug

    On 2nd thought, Oakland faltered badly in the last half of the 70’s and the Pirates won 2 WS titles in the 70’s also. So Reds it is.

  6. TJ

    How about keeping Greg Vaughn? Everything I’ve read was that he was so talented, but more that he was the team leader. Stats on him staying?

  7. Redsfan4life

    If you haven’t did this yet and can. Add Vida Blue to the 78 team and see if they beat the Dodgers for the Western Division crown. You would have to remove Doug Bair though.

  8. doofus

    Can Strat-O-Matic simulate the Red’s seasons if Bob Castellini were not owner and Walt Jocketty was not involved in personnel actions? I know it is doubtful.

  9. ray

    Don’t believe it! Perez as a hitter in 1977, would have been much better with the Reds than he was with the Expos. This trade was idiotic on multiple levels. They would have won 2 more WS, at least.

    • TR

      After sweeping the Yankees in the 1976 WS, I remember GM Bob Howsam in an interview say maybe it was time to trade Tony Perez at age 35, having hit 91 RBI’s that season. I couldn’t believe it. Perez went on to hit 105 RBI’s at age 38 with the Red Sox. Without Tony, the BRM was not the same.

  10. RedsFanInFL

    How about playing a full 162 game 1981 season and see if Reds win NL West and they would do in the playoffs

    • RedsFanInFL

      Not sure when most people consider end of BRM – 76 (last WS win, last season with Perez), ‘79 (last playoff appearance, end of the decade) or ‘81 (end of a historic 12 year run by the Reds).

      Even though, the team had significant turnover in SP from 75-76 teams and only half of the great 8; the ‘81 team was on pace to win 99 games in a full season. Seaver was having a great season and probably would have won 20 games. He may have even overtaken Valenzuela for the CY award.

    • Old Big Ed

      Some friends and I are playing the 1981 season on Strat, and I have the Reds in 1st place after about 40% of the season. That team had no bench at all, other than Johnny Bench as the third-string catcher and backup first baseman. I assume that Bench was hurt that year, but he killed lefties. The outfield defense was pretty bad, with Foster, Collins and Griffey (who was a “3” in right). They did have a lot of guys who could get on base at a decent clip, and thus no dead spots in the order, plus George Foster was still very good.

      Tom Seaver and Mario Soto had pretty good seasons, and Bruce Berenyi (who I had forgotten) and Frank Pastore made it a serviceable rotation. Tom Hume and Joel Price were the main relievers.

      It was definitely a year for the changing of the guard, though, with Griffey, Concepcion, Bench, Foster and Seaver all in their 30s with not a lot coming up behind them. They may have been exposed having to play a full 162-game schedule, and Baseball-Reference has them at a 57-51 Pythagorean record, versus their actual record of 66-42.

    • RojoB

      this choice was in Tom’s last Strat post, and it was the one i wanted to see


  11. vintage70sdude

    What if they had Billingham in ’78? He went 15-8 with the Tigers. Reds were only 2.5 back.

    • Votto4life

      And the Vida Blue trade had gone through. You have to think the Reds win the division and maybe Sparky keeps his job. Maybe Rose doesn’t leave in 1979.

      • Steelerfan

        I agree the Vida Blue trade would be an interesting one to simulate

  12. RedsMonk65

    Stupid Dodgers.

    Tony Perez was my favorite player growing up. Out in the backyard with the other kids in the neighborhood, I would always play first base. And I would always wear my Tony Perez “jersey” (actually just a white T-shirt decorated with a red marker) along with an authentic Reds cap and wrist sweat bands (they were a thing back then).

    • TR

      Tony Perez, Mr. RBI. No one better in getting the runner in scoring position across the plate.

  13. Jon

    What if the Reds had upgraded CF at the 2012 trade deadline and moved on from Stubbs then? If they had acquired Choo or another notable upgrade, would it have allowed the Reds to advance in the NLDS past the Giants?

    On a related note, what would have happened if Votto stayed healthy in 2012 (besides him winning a 2nd MVP of course)? Obviously Frazier stepped up in his absence, but what if…?

    • Votto4life

      What is Johnny Cueto doesn’t get hurt in game one of the 2012 divisional series? The needing only one win at home to get past the Giants.

      • TR

        That one still hurts. Win two in S.F. and then go 0-3 in a five game series.

    • RojoB

      What if DatDude doesn’t get thrown out at third in the third game of the 2012 playoff series against SF?

  14. vegastypo

    You really have to believe in “team chemistry” to make a case for what the Reds lost in Perez. The players at the time certainly did … Dan Driessen had a comparable season to Perez, stats-wise, maybe a bit better.

    Fun read. As good as the Big Reds Machine was, can you imagine Eric Davis in center field for that team? Put him in, coach !

    • Old Big Ed

      1976 would have been Davis’s age 14 season, so I don’t know if he would have helped much!

      Eric Davis at his 1987 peak would have made that the best offensive team of all time. Davis had 7.9 WAR that year (second to Tony Gwynn’s 8.6), but finished 9th in the MVP voting to Andre Dawson and his 4.0 WAR. Among the luminaries finishing ahead of Dawson were Tim Wallach (4.3 WAR) and Will Clark (4.2).

  15. Votto4life

    What if Bowie Kuhn didn’t nix the Red’s deal for Vida Blue in 1978?

  16. RedsFanInFL

    Could also play out the ‘94 season and see if the Reds hold into 1st place in NL central.

    Not sure which was worse – 81 or 94. Either way, 2 seasons the Reds and their fans denied potential playoff appearances

  17. Rednat

    Dan Driesen was a major unheralded piece of the Brm. He had his best year of his career in 1977 but it severely weakened our bench that year moving him to the starting lineup. All we really had off the bench was a young ray knight. I think we would have made the series again with Toney. The yankees would have been tough out though

  18. Roger Garrett

    Remember it well.Reds felt they had to make room for Driesen and it was the right thing to do but hard for all fans to accept.You win back to back and trade off a core piece but as stated both players had comparable years.Doggie was in my opinion was the glue that held the rest of that team together.Team player first for sure.

  19. Red in Cards Land

    Try looking into the scenario if Commissioner Bowie Kuhn did not block the deal the A’s and the Reds made in December of 1977 for Vida Blue.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      It looks like this is the popular choice. I’m very interested to see how this will go. I’ll submit to Strat-O-Matic and let Redleg Nation know what their simulation shows.