Monday, November 28, 2011

This Day in Reds History: The End of an Era

November 28th, 1978 - In a decision that took the entire baseball world by surprise, new GM Dick Wagner fires Sparky Anderson and replaces him with John McNamara.

The following is an excerpt taken from Redleg Journal on the shocking occurrence:

"The stunning move touche a wave of protest among Reds fans. No one was more surprised than Anderson, who had just returned six days earlier from Japan. He still had a year remaining on his contract. In nine seasons with the Reds, Anderson was 836-586 with five division titles, four National League pennants, and two world championships. McNamara never played in the majors and began managing in the minor leagues in 1959 at the age of 26. He had previously managed in the big leagues with the Athletics (1969-70) and the Padres (1974-77) and was a coach with the Angels in 1978. The quiet and colorless McNamara never caught the imagination of Reds fans in his five seasons in Cincinnati."

Although unpopular among Reds fans, McNamara did lead the team to a division title in his first season. He would compile a respectable 279-244 record before receiving the axe himself midway through the 1982 campaign.

The franchise has reached the postseason just three times in 31 seasons since 1979. This after advancing to postseason play a whopping six times during the 1970-79 decade.

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