1983 Cincinnati Reds season

2 11 2010

I’m going to further split my season review posts to split out the Reds season. Why you ask? One, even after splitting out the statistics part as a 2nd post, I still think my posts were a bit too long. Second, for my millions of loyal readers – if you’re not a Reds fan, you may not want to read about the Reds. If you’re a Reds fan, the Reds season getting its own separate post is a good thing. Mostly, it’s just a better way to organize this blog, which I pretty much use as an outline of “stuff I want to know”. So now I can separate that part out.

In the previous year, the Reds posted the worst record in the National League, losing over 100 games for the only time in their history. They followed this up in 1983 by winning 13 more games (74-88) … again finishing last in the NL West, 17 games behind Los Angeles. Russ Nixon had replaced John McNamara in middle of the previous season, but the team just wasn’t talented enough to compete. They traded Tom Seaver back to New York before the season, primarily in exchange for a young minor leaguer, Lloyd McClendon and pitcher Charlie Puleo.

Mario Soto was the lone bright spot on the team, earning selection as the starting pitcher for the NL in the All-Star Game. Unfortunately, Soto took the loss in the game. Johnny Bench was the only other All-Star selection, selected as a backup. Soto was their MVP, but the offense was weak – among NL teams, only the Mets scored fewer runs and had a worse record. Nixon was fired at the end of the season, and former Reds GM Bob Howsam resumed his former role to try to restore the team’s former glory.

Concepcion and Bench were the only two remnants of the Big Red Machine, and both players’ skills were diminishing. The highlight of the season was September 17th. Bench had announced he would retire at the end of the season, and the Reds celebrated “Johnny Bench Night” at Riverfront Stadium. Over 53,000 fans showed up to support Bench, despite the Reds lost season. Bench responded by hitting the 389th, and final, home run of his career.

Team MVP & Best Pitcher: Mario Soto (17-13/2.70/242, 18 CG)

All-Stars:

Soto (starter)

Johnny Bench

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