The fourth greatest general manager of all time built The Big Red Machine

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Mark Armour and Dan Levitt have written a book: In Pursuit of Pennants, which examines how front offices have historically found innovative ways to build winning teams. In support of that, they are counting down the top-25 GMs of all time over at their blog. Since it’s slow season, I’m going to continue linking to the countdown as it’s great stuff we rarely read about in the normal course.

Bob Howsam built the Big Red Machine in Cincinnati As I said back in December before the Veterans Committee ridiculously failed to vote him into the Hall of Fame, if you built that team today they’re erecting statues of you all over the place. I was shocked to learn back then that he wasn’t in the Hall of Fame already.

Interesting fact about Howsam beyond the Reds stuff: in the late 50s he was one of the men behind the effort to build a third major league — the Continental League — which was aimed at exploiting untapped demand for baseball west of the Mississippi and which, eventually, led to the first round of expansion of the early 1960s.

Go check out Mark and Dan’s assessment of Howsam here. And, if you’re able, tune into MLB Network’s “High Heat” show this afternoon at 1PM Eastern time to see Mark talk to Chris Russo about this project and his and Dan’s upcoming book.