The 1990 Cincinnati Reds posted a record of 91-71, finished 5 games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West, and then beat National League MVP and Cy Young winners Barry Bonds and Doug Drabek, and the Pittsburgh Pirates to move on to the World Series where they swept the Oakland A’s with American League MVP and Cy Young winners Rickey Henderson and Bob Welch.
According to Baseball Reference, the top 12 players on the 1990 Reds roster by Wins Above Replacement (WAR) were:
- Jose Rijos – World Series MVP
- Barry Larkin – 2012 Hall of Fame inductee
- Chris Sabo
- Rob Dibble – co MVP National League Championship Series
- Norm Charlton
- Tom Browning
- Eric Davis
- Randy Myers – – co MVP National League Championship Series
- Jack Armstrong
- Mariano Duncan
- Billy Hatcher, and
- Hal Morris
The team was well balanced in all aspects of the game. The offense lead the league with a .265 team batting average. The defense led the league with the fewest errors allowed, 102, and tied the San Francisco Giants for first in team fielding percentage at .983. The pitching staff trailed only the New York Mets staff of Doc Gooden, David Cone, Frank Viola, and Sid Fernandez with 1,029 strike outs and finished the season with the second best ERA of 3.39 to the Montreal Expos 3.37.
A second key to the team’s success was its ability to play small ball. The 1990 Reds hit only 125 home runs, two below the NL team average of 127, but they trailed only the Chicago Cubs in hits with 1,466, and only the Pittsburgh Pirates in doubles with 284. They were fourth in the league with 166 stolen bases and were caught stealing only 28% of the time. The 1990 MLB averages for stolen bases was 14 per player and for doubles the figure was 24. The 1990 Reds featured 5 players above the average in doubles and four above the average in stolen bases:
- Chris Sabo – 38 doubles, 25 stolen bases
- Billy Hatcher – 28 doubles, 30 stolen bases
- Eric Davis – 26 doubles, 21 stolen bases
- Barry Larkin – 25 doubles, 30 stolen bases
- Paul O’Neill – 28 doubles, 13 stolen bases
Mariano Duncan was just below the league averages that year with 22 doubles and 13 stolen bases.
Finally, the Reds pitching staff consisted of big-game shut-down artists who made the likes of Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, Jose Canseco, and Mark McGwire of little to no consequence in the League Championship and World Series. The A’s were limited to only 3 home runs, a batting average of .207 compared to their .254 average for the year, and OPS of just .574 compared to their .727 for the year. Jose Rijos lowered his season WHIP of 1.162 to just .913 in 15 innings to earn 2 wins and the MVP trophy for the World Series. He struck out 14, gave up only 9 hits, and allowed only 1 earned run for an incredible ERA of 0.59. Likewise, the Pirates team BA fell 65 points to .194 in the League Championship Series. Bonds batted a paltry .167 and struck out 5 times. Bonilla managed a .190 BA, but OPS of only .530. Randy Myers picked up 3 of the 4 saves striking out 7 and giving up only 2 hits in 5 2/3 innings for a WHIP of .882. Rob Dibble struck out 10 in 5 innings of relief, yielded only 1 walk, and gave up no hits for an insane WHIP of .200!
Remember and celebrate the 1990 Cincinnati Reds season and world championship with a team card pack from Big Bubbos for just $9.00 with free shipping! Each team pack includes 20 cards with at least 10 of those being from the top 12 players of the season. Team packs consist of Topps, Fleer, Upper Deck, and Score brands and all cards are in excellent condition. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for a specific list of cards per pack.
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