Cincinnati Reds At 150

jay bruce cincinnati reds
Al Behrman / AP

The season is close to an end for the Cincinnati Reds – the year when the city and the franchise celebrated the 150th anniversary of professional baseball in Cincinnati, first played by the legendary Red Stockings.

edd roush
AP

Edd Roush may be the greatest Cincinnati Reds player that younger generations of Reds fans know little, if anything, about.

ted kluszewski
AP

Ted Kluszewski was a Cincinnati Red from 1947 to 1957 – the first 10 years of his major league career – and so there are now generations of Reds fans who never saw him.

cincinnati reds 1940 world series
AP

The Cincinnati Reds franchise had been carrying an albatross around its neck for 20 years by the time the Reds returned to the World Series in 1939 to take on the New York Yankees.

No one believed the Reds could win a World Series fair and square.  

joe morgan
AP

Young Reds fans may well believe Tuesday's three-team trade that sent outfielder Yasiel Puig to the Cleveland Indians for starting pitcher Trevor Bauer was the biggest deal in the history of the team. But the trade made by the Reds and the Houston Astros on November 29, 1971 had far more impact. 

scooter gennett
John Minchillo / AP

The official attendance at Great American Ball Park on the night of June 6, 2017, for a game between the Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals was 18,620 – not even half full. But the people who were there saw something so amazing that the likelihood of them ever seeing it again is next to nothing.

crosley field
AP

The stands at Crosley Field were packed with 28,027 Reds fans on the night of June 24, 1970, the final game in the cozy, quirky ball park that had been the home of the Cincinnati Reds since 1912.

sparky anderson
AP

George Lee Anderson of Bridgewater, South Dakota, might well have turned out to be one of the most obscure people to have ever put on the uniform of a Major League Baseball team.

You know him as Sparky, a nickname given to him by a minor league radio broadcaster because young George was something of a firecracker.

Courtesy Rosie Reds

This is a year of anniversaries for the Cincinnati Reds.

It's the 150th anniversary of the Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball's first all-professional team…  The 100th anniversary of the Reds winning the 1919 World Series… The 75th anniversary of Joe Nuxhall's historic debut as the youngest Major League Baseball player, at age 15.

cincinnati reds mvps
Pete Rose, courtesy Pete Rose Baseball Card Set; George Foster courtesy Sarah Ramsey; Joey Votto, Barry Larkin, Joe Morgan and Bucky Walters, Wikimedia Commons; all others AP

The Cincinnati Reds have had their fair share of National League MVPs over the years – 10 players have won the award 12 times.

cincinnati reds mvps
Pete Rose, courtesy Pete Rose Baseball Card Set; George Foster courtesy Sarah Ramsey; Joey Votto, Barry Larkin, Joe Morgan and Bucky Walters, Wikimedia Commons; all others AP

Major League Baseball is a team sport, one where all 25 players on the roster have a role to play if the team is to have success.

What other game has the concept of "sacrifice flies" and "sacrifice bunts," where a hitter gives himself up willingly to move a teammate into scoring position to increase the odds of scoring runs?

1990 reds
Paul Sakuma / AP

At first glance, the 1990 Cincinnati Reds looked like a brash, young team with tons of talent but no chance to make the post-season, much less win the World Series.

"Nobody picked that team to do anything,'' said Marty Brennaman, the Hall of Fame broadcaster who will retire at the end of the year after 46 years in the radio booth.

baseball revolutionaries
Courtesy of Amazon

This season you may notice Major League Baseball players wearing a patch on their uniforms that reads "MLB 150."

johnny vander meer
Courtesy of The Cincinnati Reds

If you had been in Al Lopez Field in Tampa, Fla., in the 1980s, watching a Cincinnati Reds spring training game, you probably wouldn't have noticed the tall, thin old man sitting in the seats behind home plate, a scorecard in his hand.

Just another old snowbird from up north, you might well have thought.

first reds night game
AP

Imagine yourself as a loyal Cincinnati Reds fan on the evening of May 24, 1935.

You were one of the 20,422 who had paid a top dollar of $1.75 for a seat in Crosley Field at the corner of Findlay and Western avenues in the West End.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

As the Cincinnati Reds mark 150 years this season, the Findlay Market Parade celebrates its 100th anniversary. The parade starts this Thursday at noon, followed by the Reds opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ballpark. Game time is 4:10.

Michael E. Keating / WVXU

Sometimes, as I sit in my mezzanine seats at Great American Ball Park, I hear fans sitting nearby – casual fans, folks who do not, like some of us, live and breathe Reds baseball all year long – talking about the circular plaques on the façade behind home plate, just below the press box and broadcast booths.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

With two significant baseball anniversaries in Cincinnati this year, Findlay Market Parade organizers say there has been a huge demand to be part of the Opening Day parade and those selected are going all out.

will white
Wikimedia Commons

Will White looked like a mild-mannered bank teller, but he was, in fact, the fiercest, nastiest and most durable pitcher the fledgling Cincinnati Reds had in the 1870s and 1880s.

1869 red stockings
Courtesy of The Baseball Hall of Fame

Chances are, if you are a Cincinnatian, you have stood on the very ground where the 1869 Red Stockings – the first openly professional baseball club – played its home games.

And you probably didn't even know it.