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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Pete Rose Leads The 1976 Cincinnati Reds Big Red Machine Once Again

Pete Rose is having his number 14 retired this weekend and along with that ceremony the Big Red Machine 1976 World Championship team is being honored Friday night.

Rose along with Johnny Bench, Tony Perez and Ken Griffey Sr. were talking about Rose and the team before the Reds played the San Diego Padres.

"I will never say that the Big Red Machine was the best team ever," Rose said. "I don't know about  the 27 Yankees or some of the Dodger teams of the 50's with Jackie Robinson and Duke Snider, Campanella and those guys but I will go to my grave saying the Big Red Machine was the most entertaining team ever. We had white stars. We had black stars. We had Latino stars.  We had a Hall of Fame manager.  We had speed. We had defense.  We had home run leaders. We had batting champions.  We had daring base runners.  The reason we were so good.  You can analyze all the teams in baseball, today.  What teams in baseball today have an MVP candidate that are a catcher and secondbaseman. We had Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan and with Griffey, Perez, Concepcion, we had a pretty darn good team."

Rose pointed out that when he, the undisputed Hit King led off, the next three guys in the lineup have statues outside of Great American Ball Park.

"You have to be a heck of a player to have a statue, don't you?  Bench, Morgan and Perez, they're out there," Rose said. "I got to play with the best catcher ever, the best secondbaseman ever and the best thirdbaseman ever."

"We kind of spoiled baseball for this town," Rose said. "I know people don't want to keep talking about the past. We (Cincinnati fans) make it hard for the guys who follow because we expect to win. That's what I told Ken Griffey Jr. when he came here from Seattle, 'you're going to a franchise that expects to win.'  He came from Seattle, they don't expect to win.  The culture is different here when it comes to playing baseball. It really is.  I was thinking about Buddy Bell, Billy Doran, Barry Larkin.  We all came from Cincinnati.  We all play the same way.  Is it knothole baseball. Do we have that inside of us. I got a lot of credit but Buddy Bell played just as hard as I did.  Ronnie Oester played just as hard as I did.  Billy Doran was a killer.  Larkin played for me. He played hard every day.  I don't know if it's tradition; if it's knothole baseball.  It's a mind set.I think it is. I know it was when I was a kid.  We alway emphasized winning.  We alway emphasized playing good.  I was lucky to be in the company of a lot of great little league coaches. I grew up within three miles of Don Zimmer and Eddie Brinkman.  We all made the big leagues and were born three miles apart.  That's pretty unusual. Anderson Ferry isn't the biggest town in the world.  Neither is Sedamsville. Jim Frey is a Western Hills guy.  Don Zimmer was an ass kicker."

Rose talked about the team expected to win.  Every one was expected to do their part.  It was so ingrained in the group by Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson and the rules he had for family in the clubhouse.
"Sparky had a rule that no kids were allowed in the clubhouse after a loss," Rose remembered. "That made our sons rooted hard for their dads to win because they wanted to be in the clubhouse. We'd go in the clubhouse and they were all throwing the ball around. They were all good athletes and loved the game of baseball. There is something to being in the clubhouse with their dad.  There is something to being raised around the game of baseball. It's exposure."

Five sons of Reds' players in the 70's were first round draft choices.

Ken Griffey Jr., Eduardo Perez, Ed Sprague Jr., Lee May Jr. and Brian McRae were all drafted in the first round.  Pete Rose Jr. and Pedro Borbon Jr. also played in the Major Leagues .

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