The Cincinnati Reds may be struggling in the early stages of 2012 to live up the the lofty expectations engendered by the team's off-season spending spree, but the franchise nonetheless vaulted into rarefied air on April 20. In a swing through the Windy City, the free-swinging Reds banged out a parade of singles in cozy Wrigley Field to defeat the Chicago Cubs by a score of 9-4. In the process, Cincinnati became just the sixth Major League team to notch 10,000 all-time regular season victories. As a longtime Reds fan, I am well-versed in the rich baseball history of the team and the city, and it's actually somewhat surprising that it took this long for my boys of summer to reach this particular plateau. Perhaps even more unexpected are the teams in the Reds' vicinity of the all-time standings.
Like most baseball fans, my mind automatically jumps to the New York Yankees when talk turns to the most successful teams of all time, but the Bronx Bombers have yet to break the ten grand mark in wins. Of course, they are an American League team, which means that they weren't even born until 1901, and the National League clubs had nearly a quarter-of-a-century head start on them. The old Highlanders really weren't much of a team, either, and the Yanks didn't vault to the top of the heap until some portly lad joined them in 1920. As it stands, the Yankees stand at nearly 9800 wins, which is about 800 more than any other team in the Junior Circuit. In second place? The Boston Red Sox, naturally.
In reality, all of the big winners reside in the National League. Along with the Reds, the San Francisco Giants, Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves all have at least 10,000 franchise wins. The Pittsburgh Pirates are next in line, with nearly 9900 wins, but, at the rate they've been "winning" over the last two decades, it may take them another two to break into five-figure territory. Perhaps the most striking feature of the successful franchise list is that the Chicago Cubs actually have a winning record. For all of the woe that Cubs fans project on a yearly (daily?) basis, the fact is that the lovable losers are 525 games over .500. Curse the curse!
For now, I'll bask in the Red glow of 10,000 wins while I wait for Cincy to get on track this season. If they can get that total close to 10,100 by October, maybe I can try to figure out where they stand in the realm of postseason wins.
Adam Hughes was raised, and still lives, in rural Indiana. He has been a Cincinnati Reds fan since the early 1980s, when gods like Dan Driessen and Cesar Cedeno roamed the ethereally green Riverfront turf. He thinks that Dusty Baker is the anti-Davey.