Cincinnati Reds: The all-time tournament

GOODYEAR, AZ - MARCH 08: A Cincinnati Reds logo is seen in the stadium during the spring training game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Los Angeles Angels at Goodyear Ballpark on March 8, 2017 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
GOODYEAR, AZ - MARCH 08: A Cincinnati Reds logo is seen in the stadium during the spring training game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Los Angeles Angels at Goodyear Ballpark on March 8, 2017 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Sparky Anderson, manager of the 1976 and 1975 World Series winners. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Sparky Anderson, manager of the 1976 and 1975 World Series winners. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

Cincinnati Reds: The all-time tournament

1976 vs. 1939 Reds

The 1976 Reds emerge straight out of the franchise’s most glorious days. The lineup features the all-time hit leader, Pete Rose, along with possibly the greatest catcher in Johnny Bench, and arguably the best second baseman in Joe Morgan.

The team’s only weakness was an indifferent rotation, so Sparky Anderson relied on that lineup plus a heavily used bullpen.

The 1939 team won the franchise’s first pennant in 20 years thanks to a strong pitching staff led by veterans Bucky Walters and Paul Derringer. Between them, Walters and Derringer went 52-18 in 620 innings of work. Offensively the team was thin in spots but could count on burly catcher Ernie Lombardi and slugging first baseman Frank McCormick (.332, 128 RBIs.)

Game 1: This one narrowly goes to the 1939 Reds in a stunning upset. Their 97-57 record translates to a .6298 percentage that is a hair better than the 1976 team’s 102-60 .6296.

Game 2: With its perfect 7-0 post-season run topped by a 4-0 sweep of the American League champion Yankees, the 1976 team levels the series score at one game each.

Game 3: The Big Red Machine was justifiably known as one of the best offensive lineups in history. It’s collective 120 OPS+ dominates the 1938 team’s score of 98.

Game 4: Another surprise. The 1939 team’s 119 ERA+ takes this game in a romp over the 1976 club’s 100 ERA+.

Game 5: The 1976 team’s 54.1 WAR is dominated by its offense, which produced 43.5 WAR. Still, that’s good enough to beat the 1939 team’s 43.5 overall WAR.

Game 6: The 1976 Reds wrap up the series in six games with a superior .984 team fielding average. The 1939 club managed only .974.

Result: 1976 Reds in six games