Cincinnati Reds say good-bye to one of the 1976 champions

(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

Bob Bailey won the 1976 World Series with the Big Red Machine as part of a long career.

Bob Bailey, who spent 1976 and part of 1977 with the Cincinnati Reds, passed away at age 75.  Bailey batted right-handed, playing third base and the outfield over 17 MLB seasons.  His professional career began when the Pittsburgh Pirates signed him to a $175,000 bonus in 1961 out of high school.

Bailey is most renowned, however, for collecting the first hit in the history of the Montreal Expos franchise.  While with them, Bailey hit .264 with 104 home runs.  The Reds acquired Bailey as a right-handed bench player.

In 1977 the Reds sent Bailey to the Boston Red Sox.  The Reds received minor leaguer Frank Newcomer and cash for Bailey.  Newcomer never made it past Double-A.

In 1976 Bailey played 69 games during the regular season for the Big Red Machine.  He batted .298 with an OBP of .376, while backing up Ken Griffey and Cesar Geronimo in the outfield.  He also set his second best slugging percentage of .508 for himself that season, while occasionally spelling the Big Dog Tony Perez.

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1977 wasn’t a good year for Bailey.  He played 49 games for the Reds batting .253 with an OBP of .348.  He went 0 for 2 after the trade the Red Sox.

Despite being known among Cincinnati Reds fans for his 1976 season, there was much more to his MLB career.

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1970 was a career year for Bailey.  It was his second year in Montreal.  It was the first time since 1966 that he collected more than 100 hits in a season.

He hit his career high 28 home runs that year, while driving in 84.  He also batted .287 with an OBP of .407.  This all results in a career high OPS of 1.004.

1966 is another season that sticks out in Bailey’s career.  He played 126 games in his age 23 season.  Bailey also earned 433 plate appearances while splitting time between third base and left field for the Pirates.

He had a.360 OBP, batting .279.  He also hit 13 home runs and collected 19 doubles.  That led to a .447 slugging percentage and an OPS of .807.

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Bailey never made an All-Star team, nor received any MVP votes.  He never led the National League in any meaningful stat, nor established himself as the face of an organization.  Bailey did, though, immortalize himself in the both the lore of the Reds and the Expos.