Who Knew? The Big Red Machine came 'this close' to not becoming legendary

CINCINNATI - The Tri-State is home to many fascinating facts, offbeat oddities, and "I did not know that," moments. With that in mind, WCPO asks "Who Knew?"

  • SAY WHAT? The Big Red Machine almost didn’t become a legend
  • WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE? Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame
  • WHO KNEW? Chris Eckes, operations manager and chief curator

With baseball season in full swing, Cincinnatians--dare we say it--of a certain age can’t help but reminisce about the heyday of the Reds during the 1970s. 

That's when a series of games made history. Still few know our beloved Big Red Machine of iconic players almost broke up before it became a legend.

Remember the "Great Eight?"

  1. Joe Morgan
  2. Pete Rose
  3. Johnny Bench
  4. Tony Perez
  5. Dave Concepcion
  6. George Foster
  7. Ken Griffey, Sr.
  8. Cesar Geronimo

Q&A with Chris Eckes of the RHOF? 

1. When did the Big Red Machine first consider dismantling and why?

The Big Red Machine might have been dismantled as early as 1974. After losing the World Series in 1970 and 1972, being eliminated by the Mets in the ’73 playoffs and failing to make the postseason in 1974, there was quite a bit of grumbling inside and outside of the organization about the Reds being a team that simply couldn’t win the big one.

2. What was the turning point?

The stakes in the ’75 Series could not have been higher. If the Reds had lost that Series, there is a very good chance that the team so revered today would have been broken up.

3. How did the team pull together?

Tony Perez’s two-run home run in Game 7, a shot that pulled the Reds to within a run of tying the game, arguably the most important hit in Reds history. Of course, the Reds completed the comeback, won the Series and their repeat victory in ’76, cementing the legacy of the Big Red Machine. Without Perez’s home run, the greatest chapter in Reds history likely would not have happened.

Want more Big Red Machine?

Connect with WCPO Contributor Paige E. Malott on Twitter: @Paigetastic01 , and check out her blog CincyWhimsy.com

Check back next Tuesday for another edition of "Who Knew?" If you have an tip, idea or question email: holly.edgell@wcpo.com

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