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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(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Cincinnati Reds: The all-time tournament

1975 vs. 1976 Reds

The two best teams in Reds history played in consecutive seasons and featured virtually identical lineups.

The biggest difference was the 1976 emergence of fifth and sixth starters Pat Zachry and Santo Alcala, taking over for Clay Kirby and Pat Darcy.

Statistically, the biggest performance decline involved Bench, whose batting average fell from .283 to .234 with a 30 point decline in OPS+.

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At the other end of the scale, center fielder Cesar Geronimo emerged as a .327 hitter in 1976 after batting .257 one year earlier.

Game 1:  Game 1 in this battle of similar powerhouses goes to the 1975 club thanks to its 108-54 record, a .667 percentage. The 1976 club went 102-60, but that’s merely good for .630.

Game 2: It’s not possible to be better than perfect, which is what the 1976 Reds were in post-season play.

Game 3: For OPS+, the 1976 team gets the nod due to its score of 120. That’s a 12-point upgrade in 1975.

Game 4: Neither staff was all that great, but the 1975 pitching, with a staff ERA+ of 107, was superior to the 1976 team’s rating of 100.

Game 5: The 1976 team wins the potentially pivotal fifth game. The team WAR of 54.1 edges out the 1975 team’s 52.0.

Game 6: This game goes to a fourth decimal point before the 1975 team evens the series, edging out 1976 on fielding percentage by a score of .9837 to .9835.

Game 7: Both teams produced four Hall of Famers, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, and manager Sparky Anderson. This seventh game is a flat-tie.

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With the series even and one tie, the first tie-breaker is All-Stars. The 1975 team produced five of them: Bench, Morgan, Pete Rose, Dave Concepcion, and Tony Perez. But the 1976 team produced seven, adding Ken Griffey and George Foster to those five 1975 holdovers.

Winner: 1976 Reds