I thought it would be fun to talk about something other than the winter meetings right now. I also wanted to do a comparison of one of the Reds best teams with last seasons team. Here is part one of that comparison.
In 1975, Cincinnati Reds won 108 games while losing 54, giving them a .667 W-L%. The best record so far in franchise history. I wanted to look more closely at this team and see what pieces were missing from the 2011 Cincinnati Reds that might help them win 108 or more wins in 2012.
Sparky Anderson was the manager of the 1975 Reds while as we all know Dusty Baker is the manager now. I think this is a good place to start. Comparing the two might help understand what kind of challenges the Reds will have right off the bat. Sparky Anderson managed the Cincinnati Reds for 9 years, 1450 games getting 863 wins and 586 losses. He took the team to 4 Pennants and 2 World Series Titles. Dusty Baker has managed the Reds for 4 years, 648 games getting 322 wins and 326 losses. On paper, many will say there is no comparison between the two but from what I have read and heard lately, Dusty Baker is liked a lot by the players on the Reds right now and if he can keep the youngsters motivated to play well everyday I will throw all the paper away and gladly be a Dusty Baker supporter. Sparky Anderson’s best season with the Reds was of course 1975 where they got 108 wins, he saw 100+ wins with the team 3 times. Dusty Baker’s best season was 2010 where the Reds got 91 wins and 71 losses. But for this comparison we are taking Anderson’s 1975 record of 108 wins and 54 loses against Dusty Baker’s 2011 season with 79 wins and 83 losses. Both managers have won Manager of the Year awards but never with the Reds so we will not count them in this discussion. Dusty Baker won 3 (1993, 1997 and 2000) while Sparky Anderson won 2. (1984 and 1987) I remember Sparky Anderson while he managed on the Detroit Tigers and was alway impressed with that team. I remember Dusty Baker more as a player then a manager and I always thought he did very well on the field. I just wish he got his players to play the same way all the time.
Now we move onto position players and I thought we would start with the catchers and then move our way around the base paths and out to the outfield then take a good look into the pitching staff for both teams.
1975 Reds had Johnny Bench, Bill Plummer and 22-year-old Don Werner. 2011 Reds had Ramon Hernandez, Ryan Hanigan and 23-year-old Devin Mesoraco. Before we even begin comparing the two I know many will say once again there is no comparison between the two but we will look into it more just to be fair. Right now I am not sure if there are many players in Major League Baseball that would match Johnny Bench, or should I say, ones that the Reds could afford. At age 27 Johnny Bench played in 142 games going 150 for 530 at bats giving him a .282 BA. He got 28 HRs, 110 RBIs and 83 runs. Can you imagine what he would have done in Great American Ball Park? Bill Plummer saw 65 games ending the season with a .182 BA with 159 at bats. Don Werner only saw 8 at bats and ended the season with a .125 batting average. Johnny Bench also came in 4th in National League MVP voting.
The 2011 Reds had Hernandez and Hanigan playing equal time and both did well in that situation. Ramon Hernandez played in 91 games going 84 for 298 (.282 BA) and getting 12 HRs, 36 RBIs and 28 runs. While Ryan Hanigan played in 91 games getting 71 hits in 266 at bats. (.267 BA) He got 6 HRs, 31 RBIs and 27 runs getting 35 walks and 32 strike outs. Devin Mesoraco played in 18 games going 9 for 50. (.180 BA)
Johnny Bench allowed 32 stolen bases while getting 27 CS and .989 Fld% with 0 PB and 29 WP. Plummer had 23 SB, 2 CS with a .990 Fld%, 2 PB and 19 WP. Don Werner had 6 SB and 0 CS with 1 PB and 1 WP getting a .984 Fld%. On the 2011 Reds Ramon Hernandez got 39 SB, 23 CS, 3 PB, 26 WP and a .998 Fld%. Ryan Hanigan got 34 SB, 18 CS, 2 PB, 18 WP and a .993 Fld%. Devin Mesoraco got 8 SB, 3 CS, 0 PB, 7 WP and a .973 Fld%. So the 1975 Reds had 61 SB – 29 CS and a 32 CS% while the 2011 Reds had 81 SB – 44 CS and a 35 CS%.
When it came to batting, 1975 Reds catchers had a .253 BA, .337 OBP, .439 SLG and a .776 OPS. The 2011 Reds catchers got a .266 BA, .338 OBP, .395 SLG and a .733 OPS. So that just shows that they are not that far off of each other. Of course the .439 SLG for the 1975 Reds makes the difference but everything else is pretty close.
1975 Reds had Tony Perez playing 132 games at first base. Dan Driessen played 41 games while Johnny Bench played 9 and Terry Crowley played 4 and even George Foster played 2 innings that year. Tony Perez went 144 for 511 AB getting a .282 batting average. He got 20 HRs, 109 RBIs with 74 runs. He also came in 15th in National League MVP voting that season. In total players at 1B got a .287 BA, .356 OBP, .480 SLG and .836 OPS for the 1975 Reds.
Joey Votto played the most games at first base for the 2011 Reds with 160 games. Yonder Alonso played 3, Miguel Cairo played in 5, Todd Frazier and Ramon Hernandez both played in one each. Votto got a .309 BA, .416 OBP, .531 SLG and a .947 OPS with 29 HRs, 103 RBIs and 101 runs in 2011 putting him 6th in National League MVP voting. In total 1B produced very well for the 2011 Reds with a .311 BA, .415 OBP, .538 SLG and .953 OPS. By far the best production for any position that year.