Some thoughts on Bob Howsam, on day after his death:
It is not a strretch to say that the Reds began sliding to shape they're currently in shortly after Howsam left the franchise. Howsam's second tour ended in 1984. He left the scouting and player development departments in great shape. He had doubled them in his tenure.
The 1990 team was mostly homegrown -- Barry Larkin, Eric Davis, Paul O'Niell, Chris Sabo, Tom Browning, Rob Dibble.
But, by 1990, Marge Schott was decimating the scouting and player development. She had success by pumping money into the big leauge payroll. But that was a temporary solution.
The Reds began trying to corrent things in the late 1990s after Schott was forced to sell. But then GM Jim Bowden often reverted to the Schott quick fixes.
Dan O'Brien started to turn around scouting and player development. It's continued under Wayne Krivsky and the current ownership.
But the fact that it's taken so long to get it back to where it was tells you how good it was under Howsam.
By the way, Marty Brennaman just walked in and agrees with the above theory.