Fixtures

MLB Exhibition 02/24 20:05 - CLE Guardians vs CIN Reds - View
MLB Exhibition 02/25 20:05 - CIN Reds vs LA Angels - View
MLB Exhibition 02/26 20:05 - CIN Reds vs SEA Mariners - View
MLB Exhibition 02/26 20:10 - MIL Brewers vs CIN Reds - View
MLB Exhibition 02/27 20:05 - CHI Cubs vs CIN Reds - View
MLB Exhibition 03/01 01:05 - CIN Reds vs LA Dodgers - View

Results

MLB 10/01 19:15 - [15] CIN Reds v STL Cardinals [25] L 3-4
MLB 09/30 23:15 - [14] CIN Reds v STL Cardinals [26] L 6-15
MLB 09/30 00:15 - [15] CIN Reds v STL Cardinals [25] W 19-2
MLB 09/27 22:10 - [8] CIN Reds v CLE Guardians [11] L 3-4
MLB 09/26 22:10 - [15] CIN Reds v CLE Guardians [21] W 11-7
MLB 09/24 17:40 - [20] PIT Pirates v CIN Reds [15] W 2-4
MLB 09/23 22:40 - [21] PIT Pirates v CIN Reds [15] L 13-12
MLB 09/22 22:40 - [21] PIT Pirates v CIN Reds [15] L 7-5
MLB 09/20 16:35 - [11] MIN Twins v CIN Reds [15] L 5-3
MLB 09/19 22:40 - [11] MIN Twins v CIN Reds [13] L 7-0
MLB 09/18 22:40 - [11] MIN Twins v CIN Reds [15] W 3-7
MLB 09/17 17:40 - [13] CIN Reds v NY Mets [23] L 4-8

Wikipedia - Cincinnati Reds

The Cincinnati Reds are an American professional baseball team based in Cincinnati. They compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) Central division and were a charter member of the American Association in 1881 before joining the NL in 1890.

The Reds played in the NL West division from 1969 to 1993, before joining the Central division in 1994. For several years in the 1970s, they were considered the most dominant team in baseball, most notably winning the 1975 and 1976 World Series; the team was colloquially known as the "Big Red Machine" during this time, and it included Hall of Fame members Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Tony Pérez, as well as the controversial Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader. Overall, the Reds have won five World Series championships, nine NL pennants, one AA pennant and 10 division titles. The team plays its home games at Great American Ball Park, which opened in 2003. Bob Castellini has been the CEO of the Reds since 2006. From 1882 to 2023, the Reds' overall win–loss record is 10,857–10,681–139 (a .504 winning percentage).

History

The birth of the Reds and the American Association (1881–1889)

The 1888 Cincinnati Reds

The origins of the modern Cincinnati Reds baseball team can be traced back to the expulsion from the National League of an earlier team bearing the same name. In 1876, Cincinnati became one of the charter members of the new National League (NL), but the club ran afoul of league organizer and longtime president William Hulbert for selling beer during games and renting out its ballpark on Sundays. Both were important in enticing the city's large German population to support the team. While Hulbert made clear his distaste for both beer and Sunday baseball at the founding of the league, neither practice was against league rules at the time. On October 6, 1880, however, seven of the eight team owners adopted a pledge to ban both beer and Sunday baseball at the regular league meeting in December. Only Cincinnati president W. H. Kennett refused to sign the pledge, so the other owners preemptively expelled Cincinnati from the league for violating the new rules even though they were not yet in effect.

Cincinnati's expulsion incensed Cincinnati Enquirer sports editor O. P. Caylor, who made two attempts to form a new league on behalf of the receivers for the now-bankrupt Reds franchise. When these attempts failed, he formed a new independent ball club known as the Red Stockings in the spring of 1881 and brought the team to St. Louis for a weekend exhibition. The Reds' first game was a 12–3 victory over the St. Louis club. After the 1881 series proved successful, Caylor and former Reds president Justus Thorner received an invitation from Philadelphia businessman Horace Phillips to attend a meeting of several clubs in Pittsburgh, planning to establish a new league to compete with the NL. Upon arriving, however, Caylor and Thorner found that no other owners had accepted the invitation, while even Phillips declined to attend his own meeting. By chance, the duo met former pitcher Al Pratt, who paired them with former Pittsburgh Alleghenys president H. Denny McKnight. Together, the three hatched a scheme to form a new league by sending a telegram to each of the owners who were invited to attend the meeting stating that he was the only person who did not attend, and that everyone else was enthusiastic about the new venture and eager to attend a second meeting in Cincinnati. The ploy worked, and the American Association (AA) was officially formed at the Hotel Gibson in Cincinnati. The new Reds – with Thorner now serving as president – became a charter member of the AA.

Led by the hitting of third baseman Hick Carpenter, the defense of future Hall of Fame second baseman Bid McPhee and the pitching of 40-game-winner Will White, the Reds won the inaugural AA pennant in 1882. With the establishment of the Union Association in 1884, Thorner left the club to finance the Cincinnati Outlaw Reds and managed to acquire the lease on the Reds' Bank Street Grounds playing field, forcing new president Aaron Stern to relocate three blocks away to the hastily built League Park. The club never placed higher than second or lower than fifth for the rest of its tenure in the American Association.

The National League returns to Cincinnati (1890–1911)

Cincinnati Reds baseball team in 1909

The Cincinnati Red Stockings left the American Association on November 14, 1889, and joined the National League along with the Brooklyn Bridegrooms after a dispute with St. Louis Browns owner Chris Von Der Ahe over the selection of a new league president. The National League was happy to accept the teams in part due to the emergence of the new Player's League, an early failed attempt to break the reserve clause in baseball that threatened both existing leagues. Because the National League decided to expand while the American Association was weakening, the team accepted an invitation to join the National League. After shortening their name to the Reds, the team wandered through the 1890s, signing local stars and aging veterans. During this time, the team never finished above third place (1897) and never closer than 1012 games to first (1890).

At the start of the 20th century, the Reds had hitting stars Sam Crawford and Cy Seymour. Seymour's .377 average in 1905 was the first individual batting crown won by a Red. In 1911, Bob Bescher stole 81 bases, which is still a team record. Like the previous decade, the 1900s were not kind to the Reds, as much of the decade was spent in the league's second division.

Redland Field to the Great Depression (1912–1932)

Hall of famer Edd Roush led Cincinnati to the 1919 World Series.

In 1912, the club opened Redland Field (renamed Crosley Field in 1934), a new steel-and-concrete ballpark. The Reds had been playing baseball on that same site – the corner of Findlay and Western Avenues on the city's west side – for 28 years in wooden structures that had been occasionally damaged by fires. By the late 1910s, the Reds began to come out of the second division. The 1918 team finished fourth, and new manager Pat Moran led the Reds to an NL pennant in 1919, in what the club advertised as its "Golden Anniversary." The 1919 team had hitting stars Edd Roush and Heinie Groh, while the pitching staff was led by Hod Eller and left-hander Harry "Slim" Sallee. The Reds finished ahead of John McGraw's New York Giants and then won the World Series in eight games over the Chicago White Sox.

By 1920, the "Black Sox" scandal had brought a taint to the Reds' first championship. After 1926 and well into the 1930s, the Reds were second division dwellers. Eppa Rixey, Dolf Luque and Pete Donohue were pitching stars, but the offense never lived up to the pitching. By 1931, the team was bankrupt, the Great Depression was in full swing and Redland Field was in a state of disrepair.

Championship baseball and revival (1933–1940)

Powel Crosley, Jr., an electronics magnate who, with his brother Lewis M. Crosley, produced radios, refrigerators and other household items, bought the Reds out of bankruptcy in 1933 and hired Larry MacPhail to be the general manager. Crosley had started WLW radio, the Reds flagship radio broadcaster, and the Crosley Broadcasting Corporation in Cincinnati, where he was also a prominent civic leader. MacPhail began to develop the Reds' minor league system and expanded the Reds' fan base. Throughout the rest of the decade, the Reds became a team of "firsts." The now-renamed Crosley Field became the host of the first night game in 1935, which was also the first baseball fireworks night. (The fireworks at the game were shot by Joe Rozzi of Rozzi's Famous Fireworks.) Johnny Vander Meer became the only pitcher in major league history to throw back-to-back no-hitters in 1938. Thanks to Vander Meer, Paul Derringer and second baseman/third baseman-turned-pitcher Bucky Walters, the Reds had a solid pitching staff. The offense came around in the late 1930s. By 1938, the Reds, led by manager Bill McKechnie, were out of the second division, finishing fourth. Ernie Lombardi was named the National League's Most Valuable Player in 1938. By 1939, the Reds were National League champions but were swept in the World Series by the New York Yankees. In 1940, the Reds repeated as NL Champions, and for the first time in 21 years, they captured a world championship, beating the Detroit Tigers 4 games to 3. Frank McCormick was the 1940 NL MVP; other position players included Harry Craft, Lonny Frey, Ival Goodman, Lew Riggs and Bill Werber.

1941–1969

World War II and age finally caught up with the Reds, as the team finished mostly in the second division throughout the 1940s and early 1950s. In 1944, Joe Nuxhall (who was later to become part of the radio broadcasting team), at age 15, pitched for the Reds on loan from Wilson Junior High school in Hamilton, Ohio. He became the youngest player ever to appear in a major league game, a record that still stands today. Ewell "The Whip" Blackwell was the main pitching stalwart before arm problems cut short his career. Ted Kluszewski was the NL home run leader in 1954. The rest of the offense was a collection of over-the-hill players and not-ready-for-prime-time youngsters.

Ted Kluszewski (1953)

In April 1953, the Reds announced a preference to be called the "Redlegs," saying that the name of the club had been "Red Stockings" and then "Redlegs." A newspaper speculated that it was due to the developing political connotation of the word "red" to mean Communism. From 1956 to 1960, the club's logo was altered to remove the term "REDS" from the inside of the "wishbone C" symbol. The word "REDS" reappeared on the 1961 uniforms, but the point of the "C" was removed. The traditional home uniform logo was reinstated in 1967.

In 1956, the Redlegs, led by National League Rookie of the Year Frank Robinson, hit 221 home runs to tie the NL record. By 1961, Robinson was joined by Vada Pinson, Wally Post, Gordy Coleman and Gene Freese. Pitchers Joey Jay, Jim O'Toole and Bob Purkey led the staff.

The Reds captured the 1961 National League pennant, holding off the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, only to be defeated by the perennially powerful New York Yankees in the World Series.

The Reds had winning teams during the rest of the 1960s, but did not produce any championships. They won 98 games in 1962, paced by Purkey's 23 wins, but finished third. In 1964, they lost the pennant by one game to the St. Louis Cardinals after having taken first place when the Philadelphia Phillies collapsed in September. Their beloved manager Fred Hutchinson died of cancer just weeks after the end of the 1964 season. The failure of the Reds to win the 1964 pennant led to owner Bill DeWitt selling off key components of the team in anticipation of relocating the franchise. In response to DeWitt's threatened move, women of Cincinnati banded together to form the Rosie Reds to urge DeWitt to keep the franchise in Cincinnati. The Rosie Reds are still in existence, and are currently the oldest fan club in Major League Baseball. After the 1965 season, DeWitt executed what is remembered as the most lopsided trade in baseball history, sending former MVP Frank Robinson to the Baltimore Orioles for pitchers Milt Pappas and Jack Baldschun, and outfielder Dick Simpson. Robinson went on to win the MVP and Triple Crown in the American League in 1966, and led Baltimore to its first-ever World Series title in a sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Reds did not recover from this trade until the rise of the "Big Red Machine" in the 1970s.

Crosley Field (pictured in 1969), the Reds' home stadium from 1912 to 1970

Starting in the early 1960s, the Reds' farm system began producing a series of stars, including Jim Maloney (the Reds' pitching ace of the 1960s), Pete Rose, Tony Pérez, Johnny Bench, Lee May, Tommy Helms, Bernie Carbo, Hal McRae, Dave Concepción and Gary Nolan. The tipping point came in 1967, with the appointment of Bob Howsam as general manager. That same year, the Reds avoided a move to San Diego when the city of Cincinnati and Hamilton County agreed to build a state-of-the-art, downtown stadium on the edge of the Ohio River. The Reds entered into a 30-year lease in exchange for the stadium commitment keeping the franchise in Cincinnati. In a series of strategic moves, Howsam brought in key personnel to complement the homegrown talent. The Reds' final game at Crosley Field, where they had played since 1912, was played on June 24, 1970, with a 5–4 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

Under Howsam's administration starting in the late 1960s, all players coming to the Reds were required to shave and cut their hair for the next three decades in order to present the team as wholesome in an era of turmoil. The rule was controversial, but persisted well into the ownership of Marge Schott. On at least one occasion, in the early 1980s, enforcement of this rule lost the Reds the services of star reliever and Ohio native Rollie Fingers, who would not shave his trademark handlebar mustache in order to join the team. The rule was not officially rescinded until 1999, when the Reds traded for slugger Greg Vaughn, who had a goatee. The New York Yankees continue to have a similar rule today, although Yankees players are permitted to have mustaches. Much like when players leave the Yankees today, players who left the Reds took advantage with their new teams; Pete Rose, for instance, grew his hair out much longer than would be allowed by the Reds once he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1979.

The Reds' rules also included conservative uniforms. In Major League Baseball, a club generally provides most of the equipment and clothing needed for play. However, players are required to supply their gloves and shoes themselves. Many players enter into sponsorship arrangements with shoe manufacturers, but until the mid-1980s, the Reds had a strict rule requiring players to wear only plain black shoes with no prominent logo. Reds players decried what they considered to be the boring color choice, as well as the denial of the opportunity to earn more money through shoe contracts. In 1985, a compromise was struck in which players could paint red marks on their black shoes and were allowed to wear all-red shoes the following year.

The Big Red Machine (1970–1976)

Riverfront Stadium (pictured in 1974), the home stadium of the Reds from 1970 to 2002

In 1970, little-known George "Sparky" Anderson was hired as manager of the Reds, and the team embarked upon a decade of excellence, with a lineup that came to be known as "the Big Red Machine." Playing at Crosley Field until June 30, 1970, when they moved into Riverfront Stadium, a new 52,000-seat multi-purpose venue on the shores of the Ohio River, the Reds began the 1970s with a bang by winning 70 of their first 100 games. Johnny Bench, Tony Pérez, Pete Rose, Lee May and Bobby Tolan were the early offensive leaders of this era. Gary Nolan, Jim Merritt, Wayne Simpson and Jim McGlothlin led a pitching staff that also included veterans Tony Cloninger and Clay Carroll, as well as youngsters Pedro Borbón and Don Gullett. The Reds breezed through the 1970 season, winning the NL West and capturing the NL pennant by sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates in three games. By the time the club got to the World Series, however, the pitching staff had run out of gas, and the veteran Baltimore Orioles, led by Hall of Fame third baseman and World Series MVP Brooks Robinson, beat the Reds in five games.

After the disastrous 1971 season – the only year in the decade in which the team finished with a losing record – the Reds reloaded by trading veterans Jimmy Stewart, May and Tommy Helms to the Houston Astros for Joe Morgan, César Gerónimo, Jack Billingham, Ed Armbrister and Denis Menke. Meanwhile, Dave Concepción blossomed at shortstop. 1971 was also the year a key component of future world championships was acquired, when George Foster was traded to the Reds from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for shortstop Frank Duffy.

The 1972 Reds won the NL West in baseball's first-ever strike-shortened season, and defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in a five-game playoff series. They then faced the Oakland Athletics in the World Series, where six of the seven games were decided by one run. With powerful slugger Reggie Jackson sidelined by an injury incurred during Oakland's playoff series, Ohio native Gene Tenace got a chance to play in the series, delivering four home runs that tied the World Series record for homers, propelling Oakland to a dramatic seven-game series win. This was one of the few World Series in which no starting pitcher for either side pitched a complete game.

The Reds won a third NL West crown in 1973 after a dramatic second-half comeback that saw them make up 10+12 games on the Los Angeles Dodgers after the All-Star break. However, they lost the NL pennant to the New York Mets in five games in the NLCS. In Game 1, Tom Seaver faced Jack Billingham in a classic pitching duel, with all three runs of the 2–1 margin being scored on home runs. John Milner provided New York's run off Billingham, while Pete Rose tied the game in the seventh inning off Seaver, setting the stage for a dramatic game-ending home run by Johnny Bench in the bottom of the ninth. The New York series provided plenty of controversy surrounding the riotous behavior of Shea Stadium fans toward Pete Rose when he and Bud Harrelson scuffled after a hard slide by Rose into Harrelson at second base during the fifth inning of Game 3. A full bench-clearing fight resulted after Harrelson responded to Rose's aggressive move to prevent him from completing a double play by calling him a name. This also led to two more incidents in which play was stopped. The Reds trailed 9–3, and New York's manager Yogi Berra and legendary outfielder Willie Mays, at the request of National League president Warren Giles, appealed to fans in left field to restrain themselves. The next day the series was extended to a fifth game when Rose homered in the 12th inning to tie the series at two games each.

The Reds won 98 games in 1974 but finished second to the 102-win Los Angeles Dodgers. The 1974 season started off with much excitement, as the Atlanta Braves were in town to open the season with the Reds. Hank Aaron entered opening day with 713 home runs, one shy of tying Babe Ruth's record of 714. The first pitch Aaron swung at in the 1974 season was the record-tying home run off Jack Billingham. The next day, the Braves benched Aaron, hoping to save him for his record-breaking home run on their season-opening homestand. Then-commissioner Bowie Kuhn ordered Braves management to play Aaron the next day, where he narrowly missed a historic home run in the fifth inning. Aaron went on to set the record in Atlanta two nights later. The 1974 season also saw the debut of Hall of Fame radio announcer Marty Brennaman after Al Michaels left the Reds to broadcast for the San Francisco Giants.

With 1975, the Big Red Machine lineup solidified with the "Great Eight" starting team of Johnny Bench (catcher), Tony Pérez (first base), Joe Morgan (second base), Dave Concepción (shortstop), Pete Rose (third base), Ken Griffey (right field), César Gerónimo (center field) and George Foster (left field). The starting pitchers included Don Gullett, Fred Norman, Gary Nolan, Jack Billingham, Pat Darcy and Clay Kirby. The bullpen featured Rawly Eastwick and Will McEnaney, who combined for 37 saves, and veterans Pedro Borbón and Clay Carroll. On Opening Day, Rose still played in left field and Foster was not a starter, while John Vukovich, an off-season acquisition, was the starting third baseman. While Vuckovich was a superb fielder, he was a weak hitter. In May, with the team off to a slow start and trailing the Dodgers, Sparky Anderson made a bold move by moving Rose to third base, a position where he had very little experience, and inserting Foster in left field. This was the jolt that the Reds needed to propel them into first place, with Rose proving to be reliable on defense and the addition of Foster to the outfield giving the offense some added punch. During the season, the Reds compiled two notable streaks: 1.) winning 41 out of 50 games in one stretch, and 2.) by going a month without committing any errors on defense.

Pete Rose at bat in a game at Dodger Stadium during the 1970s

In the 1975 season, Cincinnati clinched the NL West with 108 victories before sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates in three games to win the NL pennant. They went on to face the Boston Red Sox in the World Series, splitting the first four games and taking Game 5. After a three-day rain delay, the two teams met in Game 6, considered by many to be the best World Series game ever. The Reds were ahead 6–3 with five outs left when the Red Sox tied the game on former Red Bernie Carbo's three-run home run, his second pinch-hit, three-run homer in the series. After a few close calls both ways, Carlton Fisk hit a dramatic 12th-inning home run off the foul pole in left field to give the Red Sox a 7–6 win and force a decisive game 7. Cincinnati prevailed the next day when Morgan's RBI single won Game 7 and gave the Reds their first championship in 35 years. The Reds have not lost a World Series game since Carlton Fisk's home run, a span of nine straight wins.

1976 saw a return of the same starting eight in the field. The starting rotation was again led by Nolan, Gullett, Billingham and Norman, while the addition of rookies Pat Zachry and Santo Alcalá comprised an underrated staff in which four of the six had ERAs below 3.10. Eastwick, Borbon and McEnaney shared closer duties, recording 26, eight and seven saves, respectively. The Reds won the NL West by 10 games and went undefeated in the postseason, sweeping the Philadelphia Phillies (winning game 3 in their final at-bat) to return to the World Series, where they beat the Yankees at the newly renovated Yankee Stadium in the first Series held there since 1964. This was only the second-ever sweep of the Yankees in the World Series, and the Reds became the first NL team since the 1921–22 New York Giants to win consecutive World Series championships. To date, the 1975 and 1976 Reds were the last NL team to repeat as champions.

Beginning with the 1970 National League pennant, the Reds beat either of the two Pennsylvania-based clubs – the Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates – to win their pennants (they beat the Pirates in 1970, 1972, 1975 and 1990, and the Phillies in 1976), making the Big Red Machine part of the rivalry between the two Pennsylvania teams. In 1979, Pete Rose added further fuel to the Big Red Machine, being part of the rivalry when he signed with the Phillies and helped them win their first World Series in 1980.

The Machine dismantled (1977–1989)

The late 1970s brought turmoil and change to the Reds. Popular Tony Pérez was sent to the Montreal Expos after the 1976 season, breaking up the Big Red Machine's starting lineup. Manager Sparky Anderson and general manager Bob Howsam later considered this trade to be the biggest mistake of their careers. Starting pitcher Don Gullett left via free agency and signed with the New York Yankees. In an effort to fill that gap, a trade with the Oakland Athletics for starting ace Vida Blue was arranged during the 1977–78 offseason. However, then-commissioner Bowie Kuhn vetoed the trade in order to maintain competitive balance in baseball; some have suggested that the actual reason had more to do with Kuhn's continued feud with Athletics owner Charlie Finley. On June 15, 1977, the Reds acquired pitcher Tom Seaver from the New York Mets for Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson and Dan Norman. In other deals that proved to be less successful, the Reds traded Gary Nolan to the California Angels for Craig Hendrickson; Rawly Eastwick to the St. Louis Cardinals for Doug Capilla; and Mike Caldwell to the Milwaukee Brewers for Rick O'Keeffe and Garry Pyka, as well as Rick Auerbach from Texas. The end of the Big Red Machine era was heralded by the replacement of general manager Bob Howsam with Dick Wagner.

In his last season as a Red, Rose gave baseball a thrill as he challenged Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, tying for the second-longest streak ever at 44 games. The streak came to an end in Atlanta after striking out in his fifth at-bat in the game against Gene Garber. Rose also earned his 3,000th hit that season, on his way to becoming baseball's all-time hits leader when he rejoined the Reds in the mid-1980s. The year also witnessed the only no-hitter of Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver's career, coming against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 16, 1978.

George Foster slugged 52 home runs in 1977, earning the NL MVP award.

After the 1978 season and two straight second-place finishes, Wagner fired manager Anderson in a move that proved to be unpopular. Pete Rose, who had played almost every position for the team except pitcher, shortstop and catcher since 1963, signed with Philadelphia as a free agent. By 1979, the starters were Bench (catcher), Dan Driessen (first base), Morgan (second base), Concepción (shortstop) and Ray Knight (third base), with Griffey, Foster and Geronimo again in the outfield. The pitching staff had experienced a complete turnover since 1976, except for Fred Norman. In addition to ace starter Tom Seaver, the remaining starters were Mike LaCoss, Bill Bonham and Paul Moskau. In the bullpen, only Borbon had remained. Dave Tomlin and Mario Soto worked middle relief, with Tom Hume and Doug Bair closing. The Reds won the 1979 NL West behind the pitching of Seaver, but were dispatched in the NL playoffs by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Game 2 featured a controversial play in which a ball hit by Pittsburgh's Phil Garner was caught by Reds outfielder Dave Collins but was ruled a trap, setting the Pirates up to take a 2–1 lead. The Pirates swept the series 3 games to 0 and went on to win the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles.

The 1981 team fielded a strong lineup, with only Concepción, Foster and Griffey retaining their spots from the 1975–76 heyday. After Johnny Bench was able to play only a few games as catcher each year after 1980 due to ongoing injuries, Joe Nolan took over as starting catcher. Driessen and Bench shared first base, and Knight starred at third. Morgan and Geronimo had been replaced at second base and center field by Ron Oester and Dave Collins, respectively. Mario Soto posted a banner year starting on the mound, only surpassed by the outstanding performance of Seaver's Cy Young runner-up season. La Coss, Bruce Berenyi and Frank Pastore rounded out the starting rotation. Hume again led the bullpen as closer, joined by Bair and Joe Price. In 1981, the Reds had the best overall record in baseball, but finished second in the division in both of the half-seasons that resulted from a mid-season players' strike, and missed the playoffs. To commemorate this, a team photo was taken, accompanied by a banner that read "Baseball's Best Record 1981."

By 1982, the Reds were a shell of the original Red Machine, having lost 101 games that year. Johnny Bench, after an unsuccessful transition to third base, retired a year later.

After the heartbreak of 1981, general manager Dick Wagner pursued the strategy of ridding the team of veterans, including third baseman Knight and the entire starting outfield of Griffey, Foster and Collins. Bench, after being able to catch only seven games in 1981, was moved from platooning at first base to be the starting third baseman; Alex Treviño became the regular starting catcher. The outfield was staffed with Paul Householder, César Cedeño and future Colorado Rockies and Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle on Opening Day. Hurdle was an immediate bust, and rookie Eddie Milner took his place in the starting outfield early in the year. The highly touted Householder struggled throughout the year despite extensive playing time. Cedeno, while providing steady veteran play, was a disappointment, unable to recapture his glory days with the Houston Astros. The starting rotation featured the emergence of a dominant Mario Soto and featured strong years by Pastore and Bruce Berenyi, but Seaver was injured all year, and their efforts were wasted without a strong offensive lineup. Tom Hume still led the bullpen along with Joe Price, but the colorful Brad "The Animal" Lesley was unable to consistently excel, and former All-Star Jim Kern was also a disappointment. Kern was also publicly upset over having to shave off his prominent beard to join the Reds, and helped force the issue of getting traded during mid-season by growing it back. The season also saw the midseason firing of manager John McNamara, who was replaced as skipper by Russ Nixon.

The Reds fell to the bottom of the Western Division for the next few years. After the 1982 season, Seaver was traded back to the Mets. 1983 found Dann Bilardello behind the plate, Bench returning to part-time duty at first base, rookie Nick Esasky taking over at third base and Gary Redus taking over from Cedeno. Tom Hume's effectiveness as a closer had diminished, and no other consistent relievers emerged. Dave Concepción was the sole remaining starter from the Big Red Machine era.

Wagner's tenure ended in 1983, when Howsam, the architect of the Big Red Machine, was brought back. The popular Howsam began his second term as the Reds' general manager by signing Cincinnati native Dave Parker as a free agent from Pittsburgh. In 1984, the Reds began to move up, depending on trades and some minor leaguers. In that season, Dave Parker, Dave Concepción and Tony Pérez were in Cincinnati uniforms. In August of the same year, Pete Rose was reacquired and hired to be the Reds player-manager. After raising the franchise from the grave, Howsam gave way to the administration of Bill Bergesch, who attempted to build the team around a core of highly regarded young players in addition to veterans like Parker. However, he was unable to capitalize on an excess of young and highly touted position players including Kurt Stillwell, Tracy Jones and Kal Daniels by trading them for pitching. Despite the emergence of Tom Browning as Rookie of the Year in 1985, when he won 20 games, the rotation was devastated by the early demise of Mario Soto's career to arm injury.

Under Bergesch, the Reds finished second four times from 1985 to 1989. Among the highlights, Rose became the all-time hits leader, Tom Browning threw a perfect game, Eric Davis became the first player in baseball history to hit at least 35 home runs and steal 50 bases, and Chris Sabo was the 1988 National League Rookie of the Year. The Reds also had a bullpen star in John Franco, who was with the team from 1984 to 1989. Rose once had Concepción pitch late in a game at Dodger Stadium. In 1989, following the release of the Dowd Report, which accused Rose of betting on baseball games, Rose was banned from baseball by Commissioner Bart Giamatti, who declared him guilty of "conduct detrimental to baseball." Controversy also swirled around Reds owner Marge Schott, who was accused several times of ethnic and racial slurs.

World championship and the end of an era (1990–2002)

In 1987, general manager Bergesch was replaced by Murray Cook, who initiated a series of deals that would finally bring the Reds back to the championship, starting with acquisitions of Danny Jackson and José Rijo. An aging Dave Parker was let go after a revival of his career in Cincinnati following the Pittsburgh drug trials. Barry Larkin emerged as the starting shortstop over Kurt Stillwell, who, along with reliever Ted Power, was traded for Jackson. In 1989, Cook was succeeded by Bob Quinn, who put the final pieces of the championship puzzle together, with the acquisitions of Hal Morris, Billy Hatcher and Randy Myers.

Eric Davis in 1990

In 1990, the Reds, under new manager Lou Piniella, shocked baseball by leading the NL West from wire-to-wire, making them the only NL team to do so. Winning their first nine games, they started 33–12 and maintained their lead throughout the year. Led by Chris Sabo, Barry Larkin, Eric Davis, Paul O'Neill and Billy Hatcher on the field, and by José Rijo, Tom Browning and the "Nasty Boys" – Rob Dibble, Norm Charlton and Randy Myers – on the mound, the Reds took out the Pirates in the NLCS. The Reds swept the heavily favored Oakland Athletics in four straight and extended a winning streak in the World Series to nine consecutive games. This Series, however, saw Eric Davis severely bruise a kidney diving for a fly ball in Game 4, and his play was greatly limited the next year.

In 1992, Quinn was replaced in the front office by Jim Bowden. On the field, manager Lou Piniella wanted outfielder Paul O'Neill to be a power hitter to fill the void Eric Davis left when he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Tim Belcher. However, O'Neill only hit .246 with 14 home runs. The Reds returned to winning after a losing season in 1991, but 90 wins was only enough for second place behind the division-winning Atlanta Braves. Before the season ended, Piniella got into an altercation with reliever Rob Dibble. In the offseason, Paul O'Neill was traded to the New York Yankees for outfielder Roberto Kelly, who was a disappointment for the Reds over the next couple of years, while O'Neill led a downtrodden Yankees franchise to a return to glory. Around this time, the Reds would replace their Big Red Machine–era uniforms in favor of a pinstriped uniform with no sleeves.

For the 1993 season, Piniella was replaced by fan favorite Tony Pérez, but he lasted only 44 games at the helm before being replaced by Davey Johnson. With Johnson steering the team, the Reds made steady progress. In 1994, the Reds were in the newly created National League Central Division with the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, and rivals Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros. By the time the strike hit, the Reds finished a half-game ahead of the Houston Astros for first place in the NL Central. In 1995, the Reds won the division thanks to MVP Barry Larkin. After defeating the NL West champion Dodgers in the first NLDS since 1981, however, they lost to the Atlanta Braves.

Opening day at Riverfront Stadium, 1995

Team owner Marge Schott announced mid-season that Johnson would be gone by the end of the year, regardless of the team's outcome, to be replaced by former Reds third baseman Ray Knight. Johnson and Schott had never gotten along, and she did not approve of Johnson living with his fiancée before they were married. In contrast, Knight, along with his wife, professional golfer Nancy Lopez, were friends of Schott. The team took a dive under Knight, who was unable to complete two full seasons as manager and was subjected to complaints in the press about his strict managerial style.

In 1999, the Reds won 96 games, led by manager Jack McKeon, but lost to the New York Mets in a one-game playoff. Earlier that year, Schott sold controlling interest in the Reds to Cincinnati businessman Carl Lindner. Despite an 85–77 finish in 2000, and being named 1999 NL manager of the year, McKeon was fired after the 2000 season. The Reds did not have another winning season until 2010.

Contemporary era (2003–present)

Great American Ball Park, the Reds' home stadium since 2003

Riverfront Stadium, by then known as Cinergy Field, was demolished in 2002. Great American Ball Park opened in 2003, with high expectations for a team led by local favorites, including outfielder Ken Griffey Jr., shortstop Barry Larkin and first baseman Sean Casey. Although attendance improved considerably with the new ballpark, the Reds continued to lose. Schott had not invested much in the farm system since the early 1990s, leaving the team relatively thin on talent. After years of promises that the club was rebuilding toward the opening of the new ballpark, general manager Jim Bowden and manager Bob Boone were fired on July 28. This broke up the father-son combo of manager Bob Boone and third baseman Aaron Boone, and the latter was soon traded to the New York Yankees. Tragedy struck in November when Dernell Stenson, a promising young outfielder, was shot and killed during a carjack. Following the season, Dan O'Brien was hired as the Reds' 16th general manager on October 27, 2003, succeeding Jim Bowden.

The 2004 and 2005 seasons continued the trend of big-hitting, poor pitching and poor records. Griffey, Jr. joined the 500 home run club in 2004, but was again hampered by injuries. Adam Dunn emerged as consistent home run hitter, including a 535-foot (163 m) home run against José Lima. He also broke the major league record for strikeouts in 2004. Although a number of free agents were signed before 2005, the Reds were quickly in last place, and manager Dave Miley was forced out in the 2005 midseason and replaced by Jerry Narron. Like many other small-market clubs, the Reds dispatched some of their veteran players and began entrusting their future to a young nucleus that included Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns.

Ken Griffey Jr. played in his hometown of Cincinnati from 2000 to 2008.

2004 saw the opening of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame (HOF), which had been in existence in name only since the 1950s, with player plaques, photos and other memorabilia scattered throughout their front offices. Ownership and management desired a standalone facility where the public could walk through interactive displays, see locker room recreations, watch videos of classic Reds moments and peruse historical items, such as the history of Reds uniforms dating back to the 1920s or a baseball marking every hit Pete Rose had during his career.

Robert Castellini took over as controlling owner from Lindner in 2006. Castellini promptly fired general manager Dan O'Brien and hired Wayne Krivsky. The Reds made a run at the playoffs, but ultimately fell short. The 2007 season was again mired in mediocrity. Midway through the season, Jerry Narron was fired as manager and replaced by Pete Mackanin. The Reds ended up posting a winning record under Mackanin, but finished the season in fifth place in the Central Division. Mackanin was manager in an interim capacity only, and the Reds, seeking a big name to fill the spot, ultimately brought in Dusty Baker. Early in the 2008 season, Krivsky was fired and replaced by Walt Jocketty. Although the Reds did not win under Krivsky, he is credited with revamping the farm system and signing young talent that could potentially lead the team to success in the future.

The Reds failed to post winning records in both 2008 and 2009. In 2010, with NL MVP Joey Votto and Gold Glovers Brandon Phillips and Scott Rolen, the Reds posted a 91–71 record and were NL Central champions. The following week, the Reds became only the second team in MLB history to be no-hit in a postseason game when Philadelphia's Roy Halladay shut down the National League's No. 1 offense in Game 1 of the NLDS. The Reds eventually lost in a three-game sweep of the NLDS to Philadelphia.

After coming off their surprising 2010 NL Central Division title, the Reds fell short of many expectations for the 2011 season. Multiple injuries and inconsistent starting pitching played a big role in their mid-season collapse, along with a less productive offense as compared to the previous year. The Reds ended the season at 79–83, and won the 2012 NL Central Division Title. On September 28, Homer Bailey threw a 1–0 no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates, marking the first Reds no-hitter since Tom Browning's perfect game in 1988. Finishing with a 97–65 record, the Reds earned the second seed in the Division Series and a matchup with the eventual World Series champion, the San Francisco Giants. After taking a 2–0 lead with road victories at AT&T Park, they headed home looking to win the series. However, they lost three straight at their home ballpark, becoming the first National League team since the Chicago Cubs in 1984 to lose a division series after leading 2–0.

Joey Votto, first baseman (2007–2023)

In the offseason, the team traded outfielder Drew Stubbs – as part of a three-team deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cleveland Indians – to the Indians, and in turn received right fielder Shin-Soo Choo. On July 2, 2013, Homer Bailey pitched a no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants for a 4–0 Reds victory, making him the third pitcher in Reds history with two complete-game no-hitters in their career.

Following six consecutive losses to close out the 2013 season, including a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park in the National League wild-card playoff game, the Reds decided to fire Dusty Baker. During his six years as manager, Baker led the Reds to the playoff three times; however, they never advanced beyond the first round.

On October 22, 2013, the Reds hired pitching coach Bryan Price to replace Baker as manager. Under Price, the Reds were led by pitchers Johnny Cueto and the hard-throwing Aroldis Chapman. The offense was led by All-Star third baseman Todd Frazier, Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips, but although they had plenty of star power, the Reds never got off to a good start and ended the season in lowly fourth place in the division to go along with a 76–86 record. During the offseason, the Reds traded pitchers Alfredo Simón to the Tigers and Mat Latos to the Marlins. In return, they acquired young talents such as Eugenio Suárez and Anthony DeSclafani. They also acquired veteran slugger Marlon Byrd from the Phillies to play left field.

The Reds' 2015 season wasn't much better, as they finished with the second-worst record in the league at 64–98, their worst finish since 1982. The Reds were forced to trade star pitchers Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake to the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants, respectively, receiving minor league pitching prospects for both. Shortly after the season's end, the Reds traded Home Run Derby champion Todd Frazier to the Chicago White Sox and closing pitcher Aroldis Chapman to the New York Yankees.

In 2016, the Reds broke the then-record for home runs allowed during a single season, The Reds held this record until the 2019 season when it was broken by the Baltimore Orioles. The previous record holder was the 1996 Detroit Tigers with 241 home runs yielded to opposing teams. The Reds went 68–94 and again were one of the worst teams in MLB. The Reds traded outfielder Jay Bruce to the Mets just before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline in exchange for two prospects: infielder Dilson Herrera and pitcher Max Wotell. During the offseason, the Reds traded Brandon Phillips to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for two minor league pitchers.

On September 25, 2020, the Reds earned their first postseason berth since 2013, ultimately earning the seventh seed in the expanded 2020 playoffs. The 2020 season had been shortened to 60 games as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Reds lost their first-round series against the Atlanta Braves two games to none.

The Reds finished the 2021 season with a record of 83–79, good for third in the NL Central.

In 2022, the Reds started out the regular season with a ghastly 3–22 record. Their three-game win total in 25 games had not seen since the 2003 Detroit Tigers and was tied for second-worst overall behind the 1988 Baltimore Orioles, who started 2–23 in their first 25 games. They would finish the season with a record of 62–100.

The 2023 season found the Reds in contention for a wild card birth up until the final weekend of the season. They eventually fell short of a playoff birth by 2 games with a record of 82–80. The team was led by a group of young players including rookies Spencer Steer, Matt McLain and Elly De La Cruz. De La Cruz caused quite a buzz from the beginning of his mid-season call up and in his 15th career game became the first Red to hit for the cycle since Eric Davis in 1989. At the end of the season, retirement speculation surrounded former MVP Joey Votto.