Record: 89-79, finished 3rd out of 6 team National League West division
Did this team matter?: Yeah, I think so, but in ways that had little to do with the team itself. First, 1969 was the last full season in Crosley Field, and was the 100th anniversary of the first pro team, and was the last season before the magical run of the 1970s. And it was the first season of divisional play, complete with expanded playoff opportunities, which a promising roster combined with deft roster construction by Bob Howsam (who would trade his starting left fielder, first baseman, and second baseman in the coming seasons to spectacular result), would soon take ample advantage of. I like to think of 1969 as the grainy prelude to the technicolor Big Red Machine.
Performances to remember: Tony Perez is always an interesting exercise in ambiguity for me. He was a very good player at his peak, he played for nearly forever (he ranks 28th in career games played), and the advanced metrics suggest that he is a below average Hall of Famer.
I do wonder, however, if Perez’s 1969 season played a hand in his career numbers being artificially low.