Most of the teams that I've written about so far in this series have been pretty easy. The Nationals and Marlins don't have very long histories and the Cubs have been around for a while but haven't had a whole lot of success.
So when it came time to write about the Cincinnati Reds, I thought this post would be a difficult one. The team has been around since 1881 and has won five World Series titles. With that amount of history, it looked like it would be a tough task to determine the best season in Cincinnati's history, but that wasn't the case after all.
The most consistent success the Reds have ever seen came during the 1970s when the team brought together a plethora of great players and became known as the Big Red Machine. During that time, they won 100 or more games in three separate seasons, made it to four World Series and won two championships.
The season that stands out as their best of all-time, though, is 1975. The Reds won 108 games, the most in franchise history. They won 10 more games than the next best team, the Oakland A's. The Reds finished the season 20 games ahead of the Dodgers, by far the biggest lead by any division winner.
The swept the Pirates in the NLCS before winning a tightly-contested seven-game World Series over the Boston Red Sox.
The Reds led MLB in run differential, were third in batting average (.275), first in on-base percentage (.353) and fourth in slugging percentage (.401). The pitching staff wasn't great, but was still in the top 10 in both ERA and WHIP.
Joe Morgan won the NL MVP in 1975, batting .327/.466/.508 with 17 home runs and 94 RBIs. Four other players - Johnny Bench, Dave Concepcion, Pete Rose and Tony Perez - all made the All-Star Game along with Morgan.
The team had four future Hall of Famers - Bench, Morgan, Perez and manager Sparky Anderson. If you throw in Pete Rose, who has been banned from baseball for betting on games, there were really five Hall of Famers on the team.
Between the All-Stars, the awards, the 108 wins and the World Series victory, there's no doubt that the 1975 Reds were the best team in franchise history, but they were also one of the best teams in MLB history. In 2014, Bleacher Report named the team as the third-greatest team of all-time, and rightfully so.