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Making the Big Red Machine

Bob Howsam and the Cincinnati Reds of the 1970s

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With a line-up that included future Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez and Pete Rose, Cincinnati’s “Big Red Machine” powered its way in the 1970s to six division titles, four pennants, and two World Series. Three other times in that decade they finished second in their division to the eventual pennant winner. While much has been written about the players and manager Sparky Anderson, no book until now has given adequate attention to the man behind the Machine, general manager Bob Howsam. From his hire in 1967 through the end of his first stint with the Reds in 1978, Howsam brought about a remarkable change in fortune for the Reds, who had claimed only one pennant in the 26 years before his arrival. This detailed history of baseball’s last dynasty shows not only how the team performed but why, delving into the off-field strategy and moves behind the Reds’ success.

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