Shaping Cincinnati: What About The Reds?

No team shaped this city’s psyche more than the 1970s Reds.

Illustration by Matt Kenyon

Game 7, 1975 World Series. Losing 3–0, manager Sparky Anderson urged his team to relax. “Somebody get on base, and Bench or Perez will hit one out.” The players understood. After all, they were the Big Red Machine, the best team in the world. Right on cue, Pete Rose and Johnny Bench reached base, and Tony Perez crushed a homer. Later, Joe Morgan drove in the winning run.

+ Cincinnati Magazine looks at 10 events that set the city on its path to today. See the full list here.

For generations, the Reds have been central to Cincinnati’s identity, deeply woven into the city’s DNA. Professional baseball was born here 150 years ago, and the annual Opening Day celebration demonstrates our unique relationship with the sport. But no team shaped this city’s psyche more than the 1970s Reds, who permitted Cincinnatians to share Sparky’s confidence. We were bigger and better than everyone else, right? Four decades later, the Big Red Machine lingers, influencing how we think of Cincinnati and our teams.

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