When it comes to baseball I was lucky. I was in the prime of my Little League career when the Big Red Machine was making sports history. When I was 11 they won the World Series by beating the Red Sox in seven games — and then won it again a year later by sweeping the Yankees in four games.
I also had a good problem — both of my favorite teams were in the ’75 World Series. Although I was a die-hard Reds fan, the Red Sox were winning me over with Fred Lynn, Jim Rice, Carl Yastrzemski — and of course, Dwight Evans. Evans almost cost the ’75 Reds the Series when he robbed Joe Morgan of a go-ahead home run in the 11th inning of game 6.
Growing up with the Big Red Machine, meant I had plenty of baseball players to idolize. Of course, Pete Rose, was my favorite. He played with such intensity — he could switch hit — dove head first into base when sliding and even ran to first when he was walked. But a close second, was Cesar Geronimo, possibly the least known of the Great Eight.
Cesar was much more than just a dependable outfielder (he won Golden Glove awards for 1974-1977), in fact, he proved to be a great clutch player during the 1975 World Series. His .280 batting average in the Series was second only to Rose’s .370 average. Cesar, who only hit six home runs during the regular season, had 2 home runs in the Series, a triple, scored three times, had 3 RBIs and was walked three times. The only teammate to hit more home runs during the ’75 Series, was Tony Perez, who had hit 20 during the regular season.
But Cesar’s greatest contribution to the team was in Game 3. He hit a solo home run in the fifth expanding the Reds lead 5-1, but it was the 10th inning that matter. In the 10th, Cesar led off with a single, advanced to third on a bunt when Carlton Fisk’s throw-out attempt to second sailed into centerfield, setting the stage for Cesar to score the winning run on a deep centerfield fly by Joe Morgan.
The Machine is one of the best books written about the 1975 Reds season and what is arguably the best World Series in baseball history — the 1975 clash between the Reds and the Red Sox. Whether you lived through the season, or are just a fan wanting to know why the ‘Great Eight’ are legendary — this well-written book by Joe Posnanski — will entertain and enlighten. Highly recommended.