They were The Big Red Machine of the 1970s, a team as dominant in that era as the Oakland Athletics appear to be in this.
The defending world champions, just as the Athletics are this year, the Cincinnati Reds of 1976 were the only team to sweep a League Championship Series and a World Series, just as the Athletics seem poised to do this year.
Their ace was Don Gullett. The core of that Reds team was Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan, both in the Hall of Fame, Pete Rose and Tony Perez -- with six National League MVPs among them during the 1970s.
They were guided by Sparky Anderson, who, as "Captain Hook," helped develop modern concepts of relief pitching.
But if he knew how to handle his pitchers, Anderson also knew how to handle his star hitters. He allowed Rose, Perez, Morgan and Bench to have their heads, and, rather than undermine his authority, they acted as coaches among the younger players.
After defeating the Philadelphia Phillies, 3-0, in the NL playoffs, they routed George Steinbrenner's New York Yankees, 4-0, by a combined score of 22-8, to win their second consecutive World Series.
Humiliated, Steinbrenner swore such a thing never would happen again and set about bidding so wildly for free agents that that market never has recovered.
He paid $3 million for Baltimore Oriole Reggie Jackson and $2 million for the Reds' Gullett and put together a team -- called "the best that money could buy" -- that would win the next two World Series.
But the Cincinnati Reds were powerful and unassailable during 1975 and 1976.
The Yankees made it to the World Series by winning the AL East by 10 1/2 games and by beating the Kansas City Royals in the fifth game of the playoffs.
In addition to Morgan,who won his second straight MVP award that season. Bench Perez and Rose,Anderson had Dave
Concepcion, who hit .357 during the series,and a designated -hitter rule that allowed him to use Dan Driessen 25, who hit .357. zTC and the Reds had a pitchiong staff with seven men in double-figure victories and a combined 2.00 ERA during the Series.
The Reds won, 5-1, 4-3, 6-2 and 7-2, to become the first NL team to repeat since the New York Giants did it in 1922.
Reds' clean sweep
The 1976 Reds are the only team since the major-league playoffs began in 1969 to get through the postseason without a loss. Here's how they did it:
Reds 6, Phillies 3
Reds 6, Phillies 2
Reds 7, Phillies 6
World Series Reds 5, Yankees 1
Reds 4, Yankees 3
Reds 6, Yankees 2
Reds 7, Yankees 2