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The Machine: A Hot Team, a Legendary Season, and a Heart-stopping World Series: The Story of the 1975 Cincinnati Reds

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  1,140 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
Award-winning sports columnist Joe Posnanski hits a grand slam with The Machine—a thrilling account of the magical 1975 season of the Cincinnati Reds, baseball’s legendary “Big Red Machine,” from spring training through the final game of the ’75 World Series. Featuring a Hall of Fame lineup of baseball superstars—including Johnny Bench, George Foster, Joe Morgan, Cesar Ger ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 15th 2009 by William Morrow (first published 2009)
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Harold Kasselman
May 27, 2015 Harold Kasselman rated it it was amazing
Sparky Anderson a no nonsense, conservative and old school manager addressed his 1975 Reds team as the "royalty and the turds". He pointed to Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Tony Perez, and especially Joe Morgan as royalty. The rest were just turds unless and until they became superstars like the former. Well that club became arguably the greatest lineup in baseball history.(it was in my opinion). This wonderfully easy to read and entertaining work emphasizes that season and the diverse personalities t ...more
Mar 23, 2012 James rated it really liked it
If Pete Rose ever slides from the outcast villain category over to the forgiven side of the ledger, he’ll owe at least some small debt to Joe Posnanski’s The Machine. After two decades of reading and hearing only about the myriad ways Rose destroyed his legacy, we are reminded how he built it up in the first place. Here’s Rose, flying at us straight out of the cover, cocky, confident, and competitive, driving his teammates to glory in one of the greatest seasons in baseball history.

Posnanski, wh
Sep 04, 2011 Taylor rated it it was ok
I have been a student of baseball my entire life. Sometimes I think that's the curse of being not-athletic. Off the top of my head I can tell you that George Brett had 1,595 career RBIs. That said, I could have named the 1975 Reds lineup before cracking this book. I knew of the unrelenting drive that made Pete Rose 'Charlie Hustle', the brash ego and abrasive personality that made Joe Morgan so easily hated during his playing days -and later his announcing days, the cocky front and country boy h ...more
Mar 21, 2013 Brooks rated it really liked it
I will start by saying that I don’t care about the 1975 Reds. They had played and retired by the time I was old enough to follow baseball, and I’ve only ever known Pete Rose as a gambler, and Joe Morgan as an announcer. For that reason I wasn't sure I would find this as enjoyable as Joe Posnanski's other writings. I needn't have worried. As you read, you feel like you’re on Joe Poz’s shoulder as he interviews these players for the book. It definitely reads like a memoir, not a documentary – and ...more
Emily L
May 15, 2012 Emily L rated it really liked it
Joe Posnanski is the author of The Machine.He was named the best baseball writer in the business by Jim Callis who is the executive editor of Baseball America. Before Joe wrote The Machine, he wrote the book The Soul of Baseball which won the Casey Award for the best baseball book of the year. The Machine is based off the 1975 Cincinnati Reds and their trip to the world series.

I would reccomend this book, but only to people who are in love with the game of bseball or just have a general concept
Nov 11, 2009 Luke rated it liked it
There's a pretty wide consensus that Joe Posnanski is the best sportswriter in America today, and I think that's probably right--more than that, though, he's just a plain good writer. No one else captures a poignant moment better; no one else dispatches with stupidity with more verve and grace; no one else offers his unique balance between cutting edge sabermetric geekery and deep historical appreciation, especially when it comes to baseball. And what I love best is when Posnanski writes about o ...more
Mar 30, 2015 Bob rated it did not like it
Just want to say out of the gate I am 45 and remember this team The Big Red Machine and I hated them. With that out of the way, this is possibly the worst baseball book I have ever read. And I have read a lot of them. Dont know if the author has an axe to grind. He claims to think this is the greatest team ever but he sure goes out of his way to trash almost everyone except Pete Rose. I love in the locker room type books, but this book gave no insight what so ever. All it was was having the big ...more
Rob O'd
Nov 21, 2009 Rob O'd rated it it was ok
Joe Posnanski is one of my favorite baseball/sports writers, but this book was pretty disappointing. He did not do a very good job developing the main character's back stories with any sort of depth. It was a lot of "Joe yelled at Pete. Pete made fun of Tony. Sparky's stomach was upset." The book followed the Reds' schedule, and did not really waver from that. The only person of interest whose background that was really explored was Pete Rose, but most of it was already public knowledge.
Feb 02, 2014 Josh rated it it was ok
For a writer who I like and a team that I find fascinating, this ended up being a pretty disappointing book. Posnanski may just be better in column length form (I've never read any of his books before.) or maybe the cliches that the Reds players spout here are really true. I enjoyed some of the inside stories and lived the baseball history pieces but ultimately feel let down.
Apr 15, 2016 Aaron rated it really liked it
Shelves: baseball
I'm a Cincinnati Reds fan, but my love affair began in 1990 at the ripe old age of thirteen. With that in mind, while the Big Red Machine lives in the lore the oldest professional baseball franchise, they were strictly mythology to me. Sure, I might have argued that they were one of the best teams ever, but I wouldn't have had anything to back it up with. Posnanski's telling of the 1975 season opened up the team to me. I not only can now name the entire starting cast, but feel like I know more a ...more
Chris Dean
May 04, 2016 Chris Dean rated it really liked it
I wish I would have read the afterward first. Posnanski gives his motivation for writing the book and it really hit home: things from your youth, whether they be baseball, music, popular culture, books, tend to resonate with you as you get older. That spoke to me directly, also growing up in the Midwest during roughly the same time. Gave layers to the team that often is thought of in statistics and beyond just Pete Rose, the books central figure. Highly recommended for all baseball fans, even if ...more
Michael Brockley
Jun 23, 2014 Michael Brockley rated it it was amazing
Rose. Griffey. Morgan. Bench. Perez. Foster. Concepción. Geronimo. When Cincinnati a Reds manager started this lineup, the team usually won. In 1975, when this lineup was first assembled after Pete Rose agreed to move from left field to third base, the Reds arguably fielded one of the best all-time lineups in baseball history. Joe Posnanski replays that memorable season in THE MACHINE. And while the reader is given a rich sense of the esprit de corps of the clubhouse and, in particular the chemi ...more
Josh Duggan
Dec 02, 2011 Josh Duggan rated it really liked it
I feel like I should set this entry up just a little by stating that before I go anywhere else on the internet I check my RSS tab on my browser to see if Joe Posnanski has written anything new. More often than not, he has. If there isn't a new entry in the feeder, I go to the blog anyway to make sure the RSS is up to speed. If the first step fails to turn up a fresh entry, the second step almost always does.

This is somewhat remarkable in that he is so prolific in his writing that one would think
Tom Gase
Nov 12, 2009 Tom Gase rated it really liked it
Good book, and now I can't wait to read Joe Posnanski's book on Buck O' Neil. This was a quick read but it the author does a good job describing the mood of the 1975 Red's team on and off the field. Posnanski also does a good job reminding the reader what the world was like in 1975 with Jaws being a big hit at the movies, Springsteen releasing Born to Run, and Gerald Ford pardoning Nixon.

I decided to read this book now because I just finished reading Mark Frost's "Game Six." I'm glad I read the
Oct 27, 2010 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! as a child of the 70s, I knew all the players on the Reds; Johnny Bench was my favorite. This book is full of details on their 1975 season all the way through to the cliffhanger World Series with Boston. I have a new appreciation for Sparky Anderson ("Captain Hook") after reading this.

Impressive that Posnanski can describe the drama in a season they ended up 20 games ahead of the second place team. But, of course, Joe Posnanski is a great writer. If you're already a fan and ha
Nov 21, 2012 Josh rated it liked it
Shelves: sports
Something is wrong here. Posnanski is an able writer, as evidenced by his blog, which does grant him more space to free-form and write in a string-of-consciousness style, where he's best. In this book, he feels restrained, and keeps the book from being a revelation for those who didn't experience the 1975 Reds, myself included. He repeats himself far too often, using many of the same adjectives for hits and repeating the same anecdote for each player at least 4-5 times. Further, he writes in sho ...more
Anders Gustafson
Oct 06, 2009 Anders Gustafson rated it liked it
Baseball seasons are long. Some detractors might say they're too long. But fan or not, there's no denying that encapsulating every part of a team's 162+ games is probably impossible, and certainly undesirable. From that standpoint, I really enjoyed "The Machine". I was born in 1985, ten years after Pete, Johnny, Big Dog and the rest of 1975 Reds demolished the competition for the better part of their long season. While there's no substitute for experiencing such brilliance firsthand, reading thi ...more
Al Young
Oct 03, 2013 Al Young rated it it was amazing
I have read quite a few 'season' sports books and it's quite possible that this is my all-time favorite. Although there is some drama (you do likely know how the story ends if you are a baseball fan), it is how Posnanski captures the personalities that makes this so good. The trash talk, the spousal and familial interactions, the placement in historical context- all make this an incredible can't-put-down book. these are personalities I grew up with- Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Ken Griffey, Sparky An ...more
Oct 20, 2009 Dan rated it really liked it
Awesome book. Not as good as Soul of Baseball, but that is probably because of the subject. I was a few years younger than Posnanski in '75, but I definitely remember these players.

Of course most of them had been reduced to caricatures by now. Bench was just the guy from the Baseball Bunch, Rose was the cheate and Joe just needed to be fired. This book made them real people.

I took a baseball road trip this summer and one of the stops was Cincinatti. I bought a shirt celebrating the Big Red Machi
Larry Hostetler
Sep 12, 2013 Larry Hostetler rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
Good book, enjoyable read, but I didn't enjoy the writer's inclusion of (or interpretation of) the players' feelings about each other. But perhaps that was just me.

The story of the season was riveting, even knowing what I do about the team and the year. It certainly qualifies as one of the best teams and one of the best World Series in history. Some may think that the inclusion of personal information makes the players human, but Bench comes across as self-absorbed and petty, Rose as one-dimens
Aug 30, 2011 Don rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I almost always enjoy books about baseball history. At first glance, the subject of this book--the 1975 season of the Cincinnati Reds, one of the great teams of baseball history--seems like a surefire winner. However, both the subject matter and the book itself have some real problems.

First, the team: This was not a particularly likeable group of guys. And while Posnanski is sympathetic, the portrait that emerges can't help but be somewhat off-putting with respect to most of the key members of t
Aug 24, 2010 John rated it really liked it
Joe Posnanski is one of my favorite contemporary baseball writers. His columns are always thoughtful, emotional, witty and well-written. So I was curious what he could do with a longer format. This book tells the story of The Big Red Machine's amazing 1975 season in roughly chronological order. I didn't know as much about the Reds as I probably should have, but this book captures their spirit very well.

Looking at the stats, this team was good, but you wouldn't say they were the best team of all
Dec 07, 2012 Josh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, sports
I have to admit: I don't really care that much about the '74 Reds. A great team to be sure, but before my time and subsequently never captured my imagination. I was a Pete Rose fan as a kid (what kid didn't like the way Pete played the game?) and I'll admit to being disappointment & bitterness when he was kicked out of the game for gambling and lying about it for decades.

It's not the team that drew me in to this book, it's the author and the writing. Joe Posnanski is arguably the best sports
Apr 24, 2013 Dan rated it really liked it
Joe Posnanski's writing style is either wonderfully conversational or endlessly wordy. Sometimes it's both at the same time.

When it works, and it does for most of the book, Posnanski makes baseball legends seem real and personable. Growing up in the Cincinnati Reds territory meant I heard these names brandished around constantly. Rose, Bench, Morgan, Perez, Cesar, Griffey and Sparky were all my Dad talked about most summers as we listened to games on the radio.

I think my enjoyment of the story
Joe Slavinsky
Jan 16, 2016 Joe Slavinsky rated it liked it
A little disappointed, as I've read Joe's blog for some time, and I expected a better read. It was such a dry chronology, with a few highlights, until the last chapter, which was all about Pete Rose. It was supposed to be a paean to the team, but IMHO, it seemed more about Rose. I don't necessarily, intend this to be negative, as I liked a lot of the details, most of which I remember. I just expected more from Mr. Posnanski.
George Love
Apr 27, 2015 George Love rated it really liked it
A great walk down memory lane with lots of behind the scenes material to flesh out the memories. I was eleven and about an hour north of Cincinnati in 1975 - I thought my team was always going to be this good. I did not realize I was looking at the best baseball team to ever take the field. Reading this book was a great start to the 2015 season for me.
Alberto Lopez
Feb 25, 2015 Alberto Lopez rated it it was amazing
What a tremendous baseball book. It was like jumping in a time machine and going back to 1975 and living through the 1975 Baseball season as a member of the Big Red Machine.

Reading this book was like one of those old 'E' ticket rides at Disneyland where you were always disappointed when the ride ended.

I can give this book no higher praise than to say that I was sad when it ended because I was left feeling like I wanted to stay there with the Reds and share more of their baseball lives with the
Jd Ehringer
I am a huge sports nerd, so these are the kinds of books I enjoyed when I got to 4th and 5th grade. I would read books like this over and over. I couldn't get enough of them. I don't know if I'll ever have any students like that, but if I do these are good books to keep in the classroom.
Oct 13, 2009 Michael rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Baseball fans
Posnanski's recap of the 1975 Cincinnati Reds is a must-read for any baseball fan. Posnanski tells the story of the '75 Reds as it unfolds, and sprinkles pop culture references along the way. The book is loaded with fantastic stories, and great analysis of a team that struggled to get over the hump of actually winning the World Series. It provides a unique view of Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Ken Griffey, and all the 'turds' of the 1975 Reds. The book changed my view on Joe M ...more
Larry Johnson
I've read several baseball books and other sports books, but I believe this one is the best one of all of them. Any Reds fan and most baseball fans will enjoy reading this as it follows the Reds through the 1975 season. I was only 5 and just remember a few of the events so I found it to bring a fresh respective on one of my favorite teams. It also shows how this team would change the face of baseball to what it is that good or bad. Posnanski takes you back to glory days of baseball an ...more
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Joe Posnanski is national columnist for NBC Sports. He has been named National Sportswriter of the Year and twice was awarded the best sports columnist in America by The Associated Press Sports Editors.

He has written five books:

“The Good Stuff,” was a collection of columns.

“The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O’Neil’s America,” won the Casey Award as best baseball book of 2007.

More about Joe Posnanski...

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