Thursday, March 11, 2010

1981 Cincinnati Reds

Unplugging The Big Red Machine
This was the last hurrah for the Big Red Machine, as they would fall off of a cliff and be nearly the worst team in the majors for 1982. Major League Baseball didn't give the Big Red Machine a chance to make a curtain call because of the crazy playoff format in 1981. Although the Reds had the best overall record in all of baseball, they didn't get into the playoffs. The way the playoff format worked, it rewarded teams that were hot at either the start of the season or at the end and punished teams such as the Reds that were consistent throughout. The Reds finished 2nd in both halves of the season.

This was a shell of the team that won back to back World Series in 1975 and 1976 by 1981 anyway. Gone were Sparky Anderson, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, and Cesar Geronimo along with the entire pitching staff. George Foster, Ken Griffey, and Dave Concepcion were the only starters still around. Johnny Bench was still around, but was playing more first base than catcher in '81, and even that was in a back up role.

The Baseball Bunch

I was 8 years old in 1981, this was about the time I started really paying attention to major league baseball. The name Johnny Bench to me has always meant the host of "The Baseball Bunch", more than a hall-of-fame catcher. By the time I started paying attention, he wasn't as good of a player as he once was and was perceived in my 8 year old world to be more important for hosting a TV show than playing baseball. It was a show that could only be on in the early 1980s. It wasn't really that good, and I am not sure if I watched it all that much, but I do always think of the show when Johnny Bench gets mentioned.

__ TO 149 C Joe Nolan CIN
__ TO 655 1B Dan Driessen CIN
__ TO 21 2B Ron Oester CIN
__ TO 325 3B Ray Knight CIN
__ TO 375 SS Dave Concepcion CIN
__ TO 200 LF George Foster CIN
__ TO 280 CF Ken Griffey CIN
__ TO 175 RF Dave Collins CIN
__ TO 600 1B Johnny Bench CIN

Starting Pitchers
__ TO 220 SP Tom Seaver CIN
__ TO 354 SP Mario Soto CIN

SP Bruce Berenyi
__ TO 499 SP Frank Pastore CIN
__ TO 474 SP Mike LaCoss CIN

Relief Pitchers
__ TO 419 CL Tom Hume CIN
__ TO 258 RP Joe Price CIN
__ TO 546 RP Paul Moskau CIN
__ TO 73 RP Doug Bair CIN

Other Players

C Mike O'Berry
__ FL 217 OF Paul Householder (or DO 303) CIN
__ TT 736 UT Larry Biittner CIN
__ TO 521 OF Sam Mejias CIN
__ TO 447 IF Junior Kennedy CIN
__ TT 848 RF Mike Vail CIN
__ TO 94 CI Harry Spilman CIN
__ TT 786 2B Rafael Landestoy CIN

PH German Barranca

OF Eddie Milner

PH Neil Fiala
__ TO 126 SP Charlie Leibrandt CIN

RP Geoff Combe

RP Scott Brown

RP Joe Edelen


MG John McNamara


  1. Tom Seaver was on this team too. He had a great season that was partially responsible for the Reds' showing. That and Mario Soto.

  2. I was comparing the '81 roster to the '75/'76 team..Seaver wasn't on those teams, he came along in '77. I actually think the pitching was slightly better on this team than the mid '70s teams, being led by as you said Tom Seaver and Mario Soto.