Record: 953-657 (.592) The Reds had the best record in baseball during the decade, edging the Orioles (.590) for the honor.
Best Team: Which was better, the 1975 or 1976 Reds? The 1975 team won more games and had the lower tam ERA, but the 1976 team dominated the statistical categories and swept the post-season. We’ll take the ’76 club by a whisker.
Worst Team: The ’71 Reds were the only team of the ’70s not to finish in first or second, and the only one under .500.
Player of the Decade: Four great players vie for the honor: Bench, Perz, Morgan, and Rose. The nod goes to Morgan; he reached an offensive peak in the 1970s that was rivaled by only a handful of truly great players. In addition, he was a gold glove 2nd baseman.
Pitcher of the Decade: Don Gullett led the Reds of the 1970s in wins and is the all time leader in winning percentage (.674).
Best Player not in the Reds HOF: Several players from the 1970s have not yet been inducted. (Note: Could be different by now.) Foster, Seaver, Griffey, Gullett, and Borbon all deserve to be in the Reds HOF.
The Game You Wish You Had Seen: In a decade filled with historic moments at Riverfront, the final game of the ’72 NLCS against Pittsburgh rises above the rest. It was the only deciding game of a post season series the Reds won at home in the decade. And it could have not been more dramatic with Johnny Bench’s 9th inning home run tying the score and a wild pitching scoring the pennant clinching run with two out.
The Home Field: Cozy, historic Crosley Field closed its doors on June 24, 1970 and vast, new Riverfront Stadium opened on June 30th. The dimensions of Riverfront remained the same from 1970 through 2000: 330 feet down the foul lines, 375 to the power alleys, and 404 to CF.
The Way the Game was Played: The 1970s were dominated by speed and defense, and an overall decline in total offense. In part this was an extension of trends surfacing years before. But it also was a reaction to the new stadiums. Four new artificial surface parks opened in the NL in the ’70s (Riverfront, Three Rivers, Veterans, and Olympic) giving the league six Astroturf parks. NL teams jumped from an average of 87 SBs in 1970 to 124 in ’79. The HR declined over the decade from an average of 140 in ’70 to 119 in ’79.
The Front Office: There was one significant change in the Reds front office in ’78 when Dick Wagner replaced Bob Howsam as the president of the Reds. But the bigger changes were taking place in the offices of the increasingly powerful Players’ Association. Baseball experienced its first work stoppage in ’72, and players won the rights to salary arbitration and free agency during the decade.
Take Me Out to the Ballgame: Ticket prices at Riverfront in 1970 were $4 for box seats and $3 for reserved, an increase of 50 cents over Crosley Field. By the late 1970s, the Reds had the second highest ticket prices in baseball: $7 for yellow, $5 for blue and green, and $4 for reserved seats, and $3 for loge reserved. In 1978, you paid $1.75 for a large beer and .80 for a mett and .40 for peanuts.
All “Reds trivia” posts come from Greg Rhodes and John Snyder’s fabulous book, “Redleg Journal” (see link for purchasing) and are used with Greg’s permission.
Thanks again to Greg Rhodes for permission to use his material.