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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Brandon Phillips  of the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Brandon Phillips  of the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Cincinnati Reds: The all-time tournament

1990 vs. 2012 Reds

Like the 1961 team, the 1990 club was a surprise pennant winner, showing a 16 game improvement in the standings that lifted the team from fifth place to first in the NL West.

A balanced pitching staff was led by Tom Browning, 15-9 in 227 innings, and Jose Rijo, 14-8 in 197 innings. Manager Lou Piniella’s three bullpen aces, Norm Charlton, Randy Myers, and Rob Dibble, produced 24 victories and 44 saves in a combined 338 innings.

Offensively, the Reds’ balanced attack featured shortstop Barry Larkin, center fielder Eric Davis and third baseman Chris Sabo. The Reds shocked Oakland’s defending champions in four games in the World Series.

Joey Votto was in his prime during the 2012 season, batting .337 with a 1.041 OPS. On the mound, Johnny Cueto went 19-9 in 33 starts with a 2.78 ERA. Aroldis Chapman highlighted the bullpen, picking up 38 saves on a 1.51 ERA.

Unfortunately for the 2012 team, they ran afoul of the San Francisco Giants in five games during the divisional round.

Game 1: The 1990 World Series winners went 90-71 for a .562 regular-season percentage. The 2012 club beat that at 97-65, .559.

Game 2: With an 8-2 .800 post-season percentage, the 1990 team easily evens the score against the 2012’s 2-3 .400 post-season record.

Game 3: Neither team survived on its offense, but with a 95 OPS+ the 1990 team edges out the `2012 club by two points.

Game 4:  The 2012 team’s 123 ERA+ is just good enough to best the 1990 champions’ 118 and even this series at two games aside.

Game 5: The 1990 Reds’ 46.3 team WAR is barely superior to the 2012 team’s 41.6.

Game 6: With a fielding percentage of .985, the 2012 team edges out the 1990 champions’ .983 fielding percentage, and sends this series to a decisive seventh game.

Game 7: The 1990 club rosters one Hall of Famer, shortstop Barry Larkin.

Among members of the 2012 team, MLB.com ranks Joey Votto as the ninth-best future Hall of Fame bet and puts Aroldis Chapman at 31. But Baseball-Reference ranks Votto’s similarity score on a par with Matt Holliday, Will Clark, Magglio Ordonez And Ellis Burks, none a likely future Hall of Famer.

It’s debatable, but the nod goes to Larkin and the 1990 club.

Result: 1990 Reds in seven