Legendary SI photographer Walter Iooss Jr. captures Johnny Bench during spring training in 1981. (Walter Iooss Jr./SI)
From 1970 to 1976, Cincinnati’s “Big Red Machine” averaged 98 wins per season and won four pennants and two World Series titles (1975 and 1976). The 1976 team featured the “Great Eight” starting position players of Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Dave Concepcion, George Foster, Ken Griffey and Cesar Geronimo. Some consider that lineup to be the best lineup ever. When the “Great Eight” started together, the team had a .784 winning percentage.