Secaucus, NJ, November 30, 2010 – Hall of Famers and former Cincinnati Reds teammates Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez – members of the “Big Red Machine” – are featured in a new episode of MLB Network’s Studio 42 with Bob Costas on Friday, December 3 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT. Throughout the hour-long interview filmed in Cooperstown, New York in July 2010, Bench, Morgan and Perez discuss playing for the late Hall of Fame Manager Sparky Anderson, winning the 1975 World Series against the Boston Red Sox in seven games, where the Reds’ dynasty of the 1970’s ranks in Major League Baseball history, and if former teammate Pete Rose should be a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. A preview of the interview can be viewed here.
As teammates from 1972-1976, Bench, Morgan and Perez won four National League West division titles and back-to-back World Series championships in 1975 and 1976. Bench, the 1970 and 1972 National League MVP, played his entire 17-year career for the Reds and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989. Morgan, elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990, had a 22-year playing career with the Houston Astros (1963-1971 & 1980), Reds (1972-1979), San Francisco Giants (1981-1982), Philadelphia Phillies (1983) and Oakland Athletics (1984). Perez, a seven-time National League All-Star, spent his 23-year career with the Cincinnati Reds (1964-76 & 1984-1986), Montreal Expos (1977-1979), Boston Red Sox (1980-82) and Philadelphia Phillies (1983), and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000. The ‘Great Eight,’ including Bench, Morgan, Perez, Rose, Dave Concepcion, George Foster, Ken Griffey Sr. and Cesar Geronimo had a 69-19 record as a starting lineup from 1975-1976.
Prior to Studio 42 with Bob Costas, MLB Network’s live nightly studio show during the offseason, Hot Stove, will air at 6:00 p.m. ET with updates and analysis of the moves all 30 clubs are making and planning in preparation for the upcoming season. Studio 42 with Bob Costas is presented by Travelers.
Highlights from the interview include:
BENCH ON THE “BIG RED MACHINE”:
“Joe Morgan was the one guy that absolutely put our team really over the top. … Then we had George Foster come in, Ken Griffey Sr. was as good a two-place hitter as there has ever been in the game, and Cesar Geronimo won four Gold Glove awards. I mean, how could you ask for a better team?”
MORGAN ON PLAYING FOR HALL OF FAME MANAGER SPARKY ANDERSON:
“Sparky Anderson made sure that not only these three guys [Bench, Perez and Morgan], but everybody on the team knew that we were only a little small spoke in the wheel. We weren’t the wheel. Everybody in here is part of this wheel. And you do your job, and he didn’t care whether Johnny Bench drove in the winning run, or Pete Rose or whomever. He just said, ‘Get it done.’ And we did.”
BENCH ON LOSING GAME SIX OF THE 1975 WORLD SERIES TO THE BOSTON RED SOX:
“Sparky Anderson was so mad. He said, ‘Was this great? Was this the greatest game you’ve ever seen? What the hell are you talking about? We just lost the game. We could have won the World Series.’ But we didn’t lose that night. We didn’t lose the World Series that night.”
MORGAN ON WINNING THE 1975 AND 1976 WORLD SERIES:
“We were a complete team. We could do more than just pitch and hit. We could run the bases, we could play defense. And I’ve said it before, we were the smartest team I’ve ever been around. … Bob Howsam was the General Manager who put this team together. He said to me after we won in 1976, ‘Joe, there will never be another team like this.’”
BENCH ON WINNING THE 1975 WORLD SERIES:
“Sparky Anderson wanted that World Series so bad. I don’t blame him, we all did. But after winning that World Series, I found out what it meant to be part of a World Championship. Walking into that clubhouse after the game, seeing 25 players, and it didn’t matter about stats or anything else. We were all World Champions, including the sponsors, coaches, equipment men, trainers, everybody, and all the fans, millions and millions of fans.”
BENCH ON PETE ROSE BEING INELIGBLE FOR INDUCTION TO THE NATIONAL BASEBALL HALL OF FAME:
“If Pete Rose got help and came out and said, ‘I have a problem. I realize now that I have a problem.’ And if he fell on his knees and said, ‘My gosh, I’m sorry to all of America and all of baseball.’ I think it would have been two years, three years, five years at most”
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