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                                  BASEBALL                                 

    The Cincinnati Red Stockings were, of course, baseball's first professional team from 1869 to 1870. They played their home games at Union Grounds which was located where the fountain at Union Terminal now stands. These grounds were being used by the Union Cricket Club, and in the winter would be flooded and used as an ice skating rink. This park served as the home of the Cincinnati Baseball Club from 1867 to 1870. This park is where fans, for the first time, paid to see a baseball game. Tickets were 25 cents and 50 cents. Silver coins were scarce and the fans paid their way into the park with "shinplasters," 10-15-25-and 50 cent paper currency. It was thrown into a barrel at the gate and took several hours to count. The park had a seating capacity, in 1869, of 4,000.
    In the spring of 1866, Harry Wright left New York City for Cincinnati to take a job as a cricket professional for $1,200 a year for the Union Cricket Club.  Shortly after arriving, Wright discovered that Ohio fans were more interested in baseball than the English game so he promptly organized a ball club and called it the "Red Stockings." Wright himself pitched, played center field and managed the team. Another local nine, the "Buckeyes," were also fielding a strong team by 1868 so Wright imported three good players from the East, promising them better jobs in Cincinnati. The idea worked so well that Wright decided to assemble an entire team of good players in 1869 by offering them salaries ranging from $600 to $1,400 to play. Albert T. Goshorn and Aaron T. Champion were the "money men". Champion, an attorney in Cincinnati, was the President.

Cincinnati Junior League-1868.jpg (123823 bytes)
1868 Cincinnati Junior League

   In 1867 Dr. John Draper organized what was then known as the Cincinnati Juniors. The postcard above, made by the famous baseball photographer George Brace in the early 1950's, was made from the original photograph taken in 1868. Ranging in age from 15 to 20 they would wear the same uniform as the Cincinnati Baseball Club and would often play on the same grounds. The Junior Club was composed of 25 to 30 boys who were divided into two teams. One team of the older boys and the other consisting of the younger lads. The younger nine, seen in the card above, played together continuously for 3 years and won over 75 games. In 1869 they played all the clubs of boys in Hamilton County, Ohio, and Kenton and Campbell Counties in Kentucky and never lost a game.

   The Red Stockings started their first year on the road playing the Mansfield Independents. On May 31, they recorded the first rainout in professional baseball history at Antioch. The next day, June 1, 1869, the first official game was played, as the Red Stockings defeated the Mansfield Independents, 48-14.

                  The  1869  Red Stockings  team  consisted of:

    Harry Wright's brother George was such a celebrated shortstop that small boys used to say, "I'd rather be Wright than President."
    The Red Stockings won a total of 130 straight games, including all their games in 1869. They began the 1870 season in the same manner, winning games with scores like 79 to 6, 94 to 7, and 100 to 2. It ended on the afternoon of June 14, 1870. Playing the Atlantics in Brooklyn at the Capitoline Grounds the score was tied 5 to 5 after nine innings and the Atlantics wanted to call it a draw but the Reds insisted on playing extra innings. The Reds scored twice in the eleventh inning, but the Atlantics scored 3 runs after a Brooklyn fan jumped on the back of right fielder Cal McVey as he was attempting to field the ball. Talk about fan interference!
    The team played from Maine to California wherever a team could be found. They traveled nearly 12,000 miles by rail and boat, appearing before more than 200,000 spectators, and scored 2,395 runs to 575 for their opponents.

Not Postcards
1869 team 2.jpg (630350 bytes)          1869 team.jpg (609410 bytes)        1869 Reds Photo-nm.jpg (310551 bytes)        1869 Reds Team.jpg (654297 bytes)

The 1869 Team

   The two real photo postcards below were made by the famous baseball photographer George Brace in the early 1950's using photographs of the 1869 team. Many of the postcards in the Players section were taken by him.

1969 Team.jpg (152554 bytes)        1969 Team 1.jpg (150260 bytes)

    After the 1870 season the team was disbanded due to economic reasons. Local businessmen could not compete with the salaries being given in other cities, sounds familiar doesn't it?  Players' salaries ate up the teams profits. In 1870 the gate receipts were $29,726.26 but expenses were $29,724.87 for a net profit of $1.39. After the 1870 season the team reverted back to amateur status. This team played at the Union Grounds until 1875.
    The following year saw the formation of the National Association of Professional Baseball Clubs. it included 13 teams. Harry Wright the captain of the Red Stockings took many of the players with him to Boston and started up a team there. He also took the name Red Stockings with him. Now you know why the Boston team is called the Boston Red Sox. (By the way they won the association championship four straight years).
   By 1875 this association also folded, and out of its demise was founded, in 1876, the National League in which a new Cincinnati Red Stockings team was formed. This team did not have the great success ,to say the least, as the first Red Stockings team did. That first season their record was a dismal 9 wins & 54 losses. They played from 1876 to 1879 in an area just north of Hopple St. at Spring Grove Avenue, next to the Mill Creek (not too far from where the Cincinnati Workhouse was) just north of the stock yards. The area now contains Kahn's and Hillshire Farms. It was called Avenue Grounds and Brighton Park. The club owners were meat packers George and Josiah Keck. Admission was 50 cents with 10 cent seats after the fifth inning. This park is notable for being the first park to have a Ladies Day (1876). 
   The Reds then moved to the Bank Street Grounds at Bank and Western. They played here from 1880 to 1883. This location was where the circus and wild west shows were staged and is now the parking lot of SORTA/Queen City Metro. Admission 50 cents; 25 cents in 1882-83. The club owner was clothing merchant Aaron Stern.
   The Reds played in the National League in 1880 but were expelled before the 1881 season because they refused to cease selling beer on Sundays. The Reds joined the American Association in 1882 and continued to sell liquor in the park (they also came in first in 1882). The Red Stockings played in the American Association during the entire 1880s.

1877 Reds.jpg (504257 bytes)
1882  Champion Reds

   The players seen above left to right are: Top Row- Harry McCormick-Pitcher, Phil Powers-Utility, Ecky Stearns-1B, Bid McPhee-2B, Middle Row-Hick Carpenter-3B, Manager & Catcher Pop Snyder, Will White-Pitcher, Chick Fulmer-SS, Joe Sommer-OF, Bottom Row-Jimmy Macullor-OF, Harry Wheeler-OF.

   From 1884 to 1901 the Reds played in League Park At Findlay and Western at the site of an abandoned brickyard. The first image below show the very first grandstand and playing field. Western Avenue is behind the left grandstands and Findlay Street is behind the right grandstands. Taken in 1884 just after the greatest flood in Cincinnati history until 1937 with a crest of 71'. The playing field had not yet been sodded. You are looking at what would be the right field corner in later years. The 3rd image is of a game being played. To the left you can see the building that was used by the groundskeeper and on top of the building is a primitive scoreboard. The large building on the other side of Western Avenue was Hulbert Hall who was the previous owner of the ballpark site. The reds used the first floor as their headquarters and locker room after the fire in 1900 destroyed their clubhouse.
   The very first opening day at this park turned out to be a rather exciting event. After the game ended part of the grandstand collapsed injuring several. There were stories written that one person was killed but this proved to be untrue. There was no grass in the infield, it was all dirt. The first ball park wedding would be held here, (the reds contributed $60.00 and the visiting Baltimore team collected $40.00 for the couple. The event attracted the largest Monday crowd of the season, 2,201. This would be the site of the team for the next 86 years. 

1884 Ballpark.jpg (958784 bytes)                1888 Reds.jpg (911851 bytes)                Game in 1st park.jpg (485498 bytes)
1884 photograph                                  1888 Reds team.                                  Game 1884-1893

   In 1890 the team returned to the National League still selling beer and still playing on Sundays. The only thing they changed was their name, the Red Stockings would now be known as the Reds. The 2 cards and 1 photograph below show East End Park also known as Pendleton Park and Association Park which, as you can see, was located on the banks of the Ohio River in the east end at the foot of Delta Avenue. In 1891 the American Association wanted to place a second team in Cincinnati and they played their home games at this park (Cincinnati had re-entered the National League that year). Called the Cincinnati Kellys after its manager King Kelly. One of its attractions was that the fans would get to the park by steamboat. The steamer Music would depart the foot of Walnut Street every game day at 2: P. M. The Pennsylvania Railroad passed right next to the Main Entrance, and streetcars ran along Eastern Avenue but were slow and overcrowded, and were not considered a very good way to get to the park. The park had a seating capacity of around 5,000. The city had banned Sunday baseball and on April 26 while playing Louisville, every one on both teams were arrested. This happened again on May 4 (playing Philadelphia), and on June 7 (playing Washington). Unfortunately the remoteness of the park was its downfall. It was just too time consuming to go to a game. The team only played about one half of the season before moving to Kansas City. The Schmidt Recreation Complex is now at this location. The 4th image is of a painting done by the artist Mike Boss. It is his interpretation of how Pendleton Park looked during a game. The last two images show the past and present view of the area with approximately the same view.

* ballpark.jpg (75498 bytes)    Baseball-aa.jpg (86905 bytes)    Pendleton Park.jpg (404131 bytes)                Pendleton Park ver.2.JPG (614510 bytes)
                                        Not a postcard

Pendleton Park.jpg (83448 bytes)    Pendleton Park Today.jpg (145600 bytes)

 

 

1894 Reds.jpg (146995 bytes)
1894 Reds Team

   The Brace postcard above shows the following players: Top Row-Jack McCarthy (Utility), Farmer Vaughn (Utility), Bug Holiday (OF), Morgan Murphy (Cat), Dummy Hoy (OF); Middle Row-Frank Motz (1B), Frank Dwyer (P), Charlie Comiskey (Manager & 1B), Ice Box Chamberlin (P), Arlie Latham (3B); Bottom Row-Lem Cross (P), Tom Parrott (P), Jim Canavan (OF), Bid McPhee (2B), Germany Smith (SS).

 

1894  SCOREBOOK

Reds-0.jpg (153715 bytes)        Reds-1.jpg (107185 bytes)        Reds-2.jpg (78416 bytes)        Reds-3.jpg (112712 bytes)        Reds-4.jpg (108396 bytes)

Reds-5.jpg (65407 bytes)        Reds-6.jpg (131792 bytes)        Reds-7.jpg (77688 bytes)        Reds-8.jpg (87237 bytes)        Reds-9.jpg (72584 bytes)

Reds-10.jpg (83055 bytes)         Reds-11.jpg (139387 bytes)         Reds-13.jpg (95531 bytes)          Reds-12.jpg (146717 bytes)

Reds-14.jpg (96258 bytes)        Reds-15.jpg (119778 bytes)        Reds-16.jpg (88172 bytes)        Reds-17.jpg (83419 bytes)        Reds-18.jpg (116536 bytes)

Reds-19.jpg (84635 bytes)        Reds-20.jpg (77436 bytes)        Reds-21.jpg (101592 bytes)        Reds-22.jpg (126430 bytes)        Reds-23.jpg (130645 bytes)

 

   Because the original configuration of the playing field had home plate in the southeast corner of the field forcing the batters to look into the sun, and the dimensions of the outfield were extremely lopsided, it was decided, in 1894, to reconfigure the playing field. New iron and wood grandstands were built and home plate was turned around and was now in the southwest corner of the lot. Believe it or not, a game on May 7, 1892 had to be called because of sunshine! 

 

1895 Reds.jpg (135436 bytes)
1895 Reds Team

   The Brace postcard above shows the following players: Top Row-Bill Phillips (P), Bill Gray (LF), Farmer Vaughn (C), Tom Parrott (P), Billy Rhines (P), Harry Spies (UT); Middle Row-Bug Holliday (OF), Bid McPhee (2B), Bill Merritt (C), Morgan Murphy (C), Buck Ewing (Manager/1B), Dummy Hoy (OF), Dusty Miller (OF), Germany Smith (SS), Frank Dwyer (P); Bottom Row-Icebox Chamberlain (sold before season started DNP), Arlie Latham (3B), Jim Canavan (DNP).

 

1896 Reds.jpg (153149 bytes)
1896 Reds Team

   The Brace postcard above shows the following players: Top Row-Heinie Peitz (C), Chauncey Fisher (P), Billy Rhines (P), Farmer Vaughn (UT), Hank Gastright (P), Wiley Davis (P), Red Ehret (P); Middle Row-Billy Gray (UT), Brownie Foreman (P), Frank Dwyer (P), Buck Ewing (Manager/1B), Dusty Miller (OF), Charlie Irwin (3B), Germany Smith (SS), Bid McPhee (2B); Bottom Row-Dummy Hoy (OF), Bug Holliday (OF), Eddie Burke (OF).

 

1897 Reds.jpg (193808 bytes)            1898 Reds.jpg (135064 bytes)
     1897 Reds Team                        Mis-Printed Postcard

   The Brace postcard above shows the following players: Top Two Rows-Dummy Hoy (OF), Stub Brown (P), Claude Ritchey (UT), Bug Holliday (UT), Billy Rhines (P), Jake Beckley (1B), Dusty Miller (UT), Heinie Peitz (C), Farmer Vaughn (UT), Pop Schriver (C); Middle Row-Frank Dwyer (P), Bid McPhee (2B), Tommy Corcoran (2B/SS), Buck Ewing (Manager/1B), Charlie Irwin (3B), Ted Breitenstein (P), Red Ehret (P); Bottom Row- Eddie Burke (OF), Mascot (?), Bill Dammann (P). The second Brace postcard is a puzzle. It is titled as being the 1898 Reds team, but as you can plainly see it is copyrighted in 1897 and is, in fact, the same image as the 1897 card. I find it hard to believe that Brace would make such an obvious mistake, so I really have no idea of what happened in the making of this card.

 

1899 Reds Team.jpg (155529 bytes)
1899 Team

   The next Brace postcard above shows the players of the 1899 team. The following players are listed top to bottom-left to right: Frank Dwyer (P), Tommy Corcoran (SS), Pink Hawley (P), Bill Damman (P), Heinie Peitz (C), Jack Taylor (P), Dusty Miller (OF), Ted Breitenstein (P), Bob Wood (C), Buck Ewing (Manager), Farmer Vaughn (1B), Bid McPhee (2B), Noodles Hahn (P), Bill Phillips (P), Jake Beckley (1B), Algie McBride (OF), Kip Selbach (OF), Harry Steinfeldt (3B), Mike Smith (OF), Charlie Irwin (3B).

 

League Park-Joe Hammann pc.jpg (220684 bytes)
Newer Postcard of League Park

 

   In 1900 League Park caught on fire and the grandstands that had been built in 1894 were destroyed. When the new stands had been built it was decided not to demolish the old grandstands. This decision allowed the team to continue to play here after the fire. They just returned the playing field to how it was before and used the old bleachers and grandstands until a new stadium could be constructed after the 1901 season. Called the Palace of the Fans, this structure was used at League Park from 1902 to 1911. The diagram below graphically shows these changes in the diamonds position.

Shifting diamond.jpg (62099 bytes)

 

   The concrete and iron grandstand you see in the cards below consisted of 19 "fashion boxes" (9 on either side of home plate extending to first and third bases and one directly behind it). Twenty-two Corinthian columns with elaborate detailing at the top, supported the roof. Rooters' row was seating on ground level behind home plate. Parts of the old League Park remained in the right field. By the way this was still called League Park, not Palace of the Fans Park. The Palace of the Fans only refered to this portion of the park.
   Beers were 12 for a dollar, whiskey was sold outside of rooters' row underneath the stands. Rooters' row was protected from foul balls by chicken wire all along the top of a three food wooden wall in front of the section, this also protected them from the visiting ballplayers attacking them after one of their verbal assaults. You could get 12 glasses of beer for a dollar.
   From 1891 to 1902 the club owner was John Brush, an Indianapolis clothing store magnate.  August "Garry" Hermann took over ownership from 1902 until 1927.

1905 Reds team.jpg (420458 bytes)        4-27-05 Cinti & Pittsburg Opening Day.jpg (99654 bytes)        1906 Team.jpg (687582 bytes)        August Herrmann.jpg (254346 bytes)
            1905  Team                  Opening Day 4-27-1905  (Pittsburgh)                1906 Team              August Herrmann

 

Home of the Reds.jpg (56962 bytes)Ballpark.jpg (44863 bytes)Palace of Fans Grandstant.jpg (294197 bytes)    Baseball-c.jpg (121840 bytes)    Browns Carriage baseball.jpg (319492 bytes)
                                                                    The same image

   The seating capacity of the new Palace grandstand was only 3,000 and this quickly was determined to be to small. If you compare the next two rows of cards with the row above you will see what was done to improve this problem. On top of the concrete and iron Palace was constructed a wooden tier of extra seats. During the Palace years the club also built double-decked stands down the left field line. This was the only double-decked stands to reach the outfield wall until 1939 (not seen in these cards.) 

 

          Baseball grounds.jpg (128011 bytes)        Ball Park a.jpg (217880 bytes)

 

Baseball-a.jpg (95124 bytes)    Baseball-b.jpg (80679 bytes)    Brown Carriage-1.jpg (97339 bytes)    Ball Park b.jpg (254871 bytes)
 The same image

 

   In the 3rd image below you can see the 3 types of seating that was available at the League Park. There were the wooden chairs for the box seats, then 6 rows of folding chairs behind them with benches in the back four rows.

Palace of Fans-bb.jpg (164256 bytes)                Way Back-2.jpg (136007 bytes)                Palace seats.jpg (523612 bytes)
Luxury Boxes             Concession stand beneath the                       Palace seating       
                                                  grandstand  in "rooters Row"                        not a postcard                

 

   One major drawback for the players was that there were no dressing rooms for the visiting team. They had to put on their uniforms at their hotel and were taken to the park on trolley cars or horse drawn "busses" as shown in the next card.

Players Arriving at Park.JPG (125304 bytes)*

 

Reds 1909 Team.jpg (120535 bytes)
1909 Team
Players not identified

 

8 Members 1911 Reds.jpg (105298 bytes)
8 Members of 1911 Team 

   Someone, probably in the 1950's, took pictures of 8 members of the 1911 Reds from a newspaper and made a postcard out of them. It's a postcard so, naturally, I had to have it. The players shown are; left side top to bottom, Dick Hoblitzell-1B, Tommy Clarke-Cat., Eddie Grant-3B and Bob Bescher-OF. Right side; top to bottom, Jimmy Esmond-SS, Mike Mitchell-OF, George Suggs-P and Larry McClean-Cat.

   Following the 1911 season League Park was completely demolished  and construction began on Redland Field, the first truly modern park at this location. This was the ballpark that would eventually become Crosley Field in 1934. The next four non-postcard images show the razing of League Park, in the first three photos, and the construction of Redland Field in the last one. The 2nd & 3rd images show the railroad that was temporarily built to bring in supplies and remove the debris.

Wrecking Palace of Fans.jpg (183309 bytes)    Wrecking Palace of Fans-2.jpg (219034 bytes)    Wrecking Palace of Fans-3.jpg (170727 bytes)            Construction of Crosley.jpg (166634 bytes)

 

Entrance to Redland Field Ball Park.jpg (126857 bytes)*
Redland Field   

   The postcard above shows the entrance to Redland Field.

   The first non-postcard image below is a rare aerial view of Opening Day 4-06-12. The seating capacity of the Palace of the fans was only 6,000, which was the smallest in the majors, so Redland Field was built with a seating capacity of 20,000. This was the site of the infamous World Series of 1919 won by the Reds and "thrown" by the Chicago "Black" Sox. It was during the 1919 World Series that bleachers were constructed along the left field fence which added another 3,000 seats. This was the only time these bleachers were ever used. You can see these seats in the 2nd non-postcard image below.

Redland Field Opening Day 4-6-12.jpg (280355 bytes)                1919 WS.jpg (598375 bytes)

 

1912 Reds.jpg (91563 bytes)*
1912 Reds Team   

 

1913 reds Team.jpg (172924 bytes)*                1913 Reds team.jpg (204002 bytes)
1913 Reds Team

 

1914 Reds.jpg (198196 bytes)
1914 Reds Team

   The players shown in the Brace postcard are: Top Row; Bill Kellogg (1B), Bob Ingersoll (P), Phil Douglas (P), Rube Benton (P), Dave Davenport (P), Earl Yingling (P), Johnny Rawlings (LF): 2nd Row; Ed Kippert (OF), Doc Miller (OF), Chief Johnson (P), Jack Rowan (P), Tommy Clarke (C), Fritz Von Kolnitz (UT), Maury Uhler (OF): 3rd Row; Karl Adams (P), King Lear (P), Bert Niehoff (3B), Mullaney (?), Barhan (?), Marty Berghammer (SS), Heinie Groh (2B): Bottom Row; Dick Hoblitzell (1B), Red Ames (P), Mike Gonzalez (C), Buck Herzog (Manager), Herbie Moran (OF), Armando Marsans (OF), Johnny Bates (OF): On Ground; Brownie Burke (Mascot/BB).

 

1919 Reds.jpg (150105 bytes)
1919 Reds Team

  The 1919 Reds players shown in the Brace postcard above are: Top Row; Sherry Magee (OF), Edd Roush (OF), Morrie Rath (2B), Hod Eller (P), Slim Sallee (P), Ed Gerner (P), Ray Fisher (P), Jimmy Ring (P), Heinie Groh (3B): Middle Row; Jake Daubert (1B), Charlie See (OF), Dutch Ruether (P), Pat Moran (Manager), Bill Rariden (C), Nick Allen (C), Ivey Wingo (C), Greasy Neale (OF), Rube Bressler (OF): Bottom Row; Jimmy Smith (UT), Dolf Luque (P), Pat Duncan (OF), Larry Kopf (SS), Roy Mitchell (P), Batboy.

 

   Redland Field was so large it took nine years before a home run was hit over the fence. It was in 1921 that John Beckwith, a shortstop for the Chicago Giants of the Negro Leagues, hit a ball 370' over the left field wall. 19 year old Beckwith collected quite a large sum of money in coins that was thrown down to him from fans in appreciation of his feat (see center image below). Pat Duncan an outfielder for the Reds also hit one over the fence that year. Two teams actually played here, besides the Reds there was the Cuban Stars of the Negro National League in 1921. The Stars were formed in Havana Cuba in 1920, they then moved to Cincinnati the next year. The Cuban Stars leased the ballpark from the Reds to use when the Reds were out of town. The Stars moved on to New York in 1922.

1912 Ballpark.jpg (1550652 bytes)           John Beckwith-center.jpg (197181 bytes)             Redland Field.jpg (590438 bytes)
 these are not postcards.              John Beckwith in center                        Redland Field          

 

*Stadium Double.jpg (513182 bytes)   *Opening Day 4-11-1912.jpg (274022 bytes)
            Doublecards                                                        Opening Day  4-11-1912

 

Baseball-d.jpg (94608 bytes)        New Ball Park.jpg (244889 bytes)        Palace of Fans-aa.jpg (178016 bytes)
Same image-different wording and sky.                                                   

 

Redland Reproduction.jpg (324620 bytes)

   The is a reproduction of a very rare card of Redland Field put out by the Braxton Hotel.

   1932 was the first year that numbers were put on uniforms.

CROSLEY  FIELD

   Finally we come to Crosley Field the most famous Cincinnati ball park of them all. In existence from 1934 to 1970  it was owned by the multifaceted Powell Crosley whose manufacturing plant was only a few blocks away. The famous left field terrace was a natural feature of the site. Before the first ball park was built here it was the way people got from York St. to the brickyard that had been in business here.

Cincinnati Tigers.jpg (134697 bytes)
1937 Cincinnati Tigers

   From 1934 to 1937 this park was home to not only the Reds but also to the Cincinnati Tigers of The Negro League. The postcard above shows the 1937 team that is considered by many to have been the best team in town that year (the Reds finished in last place). Some of the stars on this team were: Neil Robinson one of the best center fielders in Negro League history and was an eight-time Negro Leagues All-Star; shortstop Howard Easterling went on to become, probably, the greatest third baseman in the league's history; right fielder Lloyd Davenport became the leagues' greatest leadoff hitter and six time All-Star; first baseman Olan "Jelly" Taylor, a converted pitcher, became a three-time All-Star. The Tigers wore hand-me-down Reds uniforms from 1935. The concession stands were not open so the fans (many of which were white) had to bring their own food to the games. The locker rooms were locked.
   The Tigers were an outgrowth of an amateur baseball team founded and ran here in 1934 by Cincinnati native William DeHart Hubbard. Hubbard was the first black athlete to win a gold medal in an individual sport at the 1924 Olympics in Paris (running long jump). One of the team's backers was Henry Ferguson who was, in addition to a cab company, part owner in the Sterling Hotel and its Cotton Club nightclub (see Entertainment Section). 
   The players lived in a two-story boarding house in the 500 block of Richmond Street in the West End. The players had 3-by-5 cards that were punched at a nearby restaurant for meals which the ball club paid. 
   With attendance ranging from 10,000 to 15,000 people, these games were more heavily attended than the Reds games. 
   The reason the team disbanded after the 1937 season has been lost to history, but their legacy continued. Many of their players were absorbed into the Memphis Red Sox organization and went on to lead other Negro League teams to championships.
   During the war years there were two other Negro League teams playing at Crosley Field. In 1942 the Cincinnati Buckeyes were formed and the following year moved to Cleveland, Ohio. In 1943 the extremely popular Clowns came to Cincinnati from Miami after they promised to play the game straight during the game. They played in both Cincinnati and Indianapolis until 1946 when they moved permanently to Indianapolis. They only played at Crosley four or five times each season because they were always on the road barnstorming, playing all comers. This team drew up to 20,000 fans per game with pre game activities like food races and greased pig contests. They had a special group of players that were a precursor to The Harlem Globetrotters, including a catcher who sat in a rocking chair. One of the players who played for them in the early 50's was someone you might have heard about, Hank Aaron. Willie Mays who played for the Birmingham Black Barons says he learned to play shadowball (playing with an imaginary ball) watching the Clowns. Future Harlem Globetrotter Reece "Goose" Tatum played for the Clowns, as did Sam Hairston, grandfather of future Reds player Jerry Hairston. Other players were Henry "Speed" Merchant who was so fast he held on-field races against Olympic track champion Jesse Owens. Merchant, a Cincinnati native, ran a 100-yard dash while Owens ran the hurdles. The manager of the Cincinnati Tigers (see above) Ted "Double duty" Radcliffe played for the Clowns along with his brother Alec Radcliffe. Leroy Cromartie, father of the Montreal Expos Warren Cromartie, was the star quarterback at Florida A&M University during the fall was the backup 2nd baseman. 

1944 Indy-Cincy Clowns.jpg (92253 bytes)*
1944 Clowns 

   Jackie Robinson, who played for the Kansas City Monarchs, was in Cincinnati for a doubleheader against the Clowns on August 19, 1945. He is thought to have been injured and did not play but it was nine days later on August 28 that he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers and the rest is history.
  Of course this is the park where the first night game was played on May 23, 1935. President Franklin D. Roosevelt used a telegraph key that sent a signal to folks standing by at Crosley Field. They then hit the switch that turned on all 632 1,500-watt incandescent lights at once. The visual explosion of all the lights coming on at once in the near dark conditions completely awed the crowd of 20,422 spectators that were there. Pitching ace Paul Derringer pitched a complete game beating the Phillies 2-1. The newspaper article below tells about this game. It is from a out of state newspaper.

Reds First Night Game.jpg (49868 bytes)
1st night game

 

   Another thing happened in 1935, on July 31, 1935 Miss Kitty Burke became the only woman to ever bat in the major leagues. The Reds were playing the world champion St. Louis Cardinals. Miss Burke was sitting in a box seat when Joe "Ducky" Medwick scored to give the Cardinals a two-run lead over the Reds. Miss Burke yelled "Yah, Medwick, you can't hit anything." Medwick replied: "Yah, you can't hit anything yourself." That was all it took, Kitty headed to the on-deck circle where Babe Herman was getting ready to hit. He recalled: "This blonde says to me, 'Babe, give me your bat.' " Babe gave it to her and she strode to the batter's box. The umpire yelled "Play ball" but the Cardinals pitcher was reluctant until Kitty called him a "hick" and asked him why he didn't go home and milk the cows. The pitch was easy and Miss Burke hit it toward first base and she took off for 1st. The pitcher got the ball and was waiting for her on 1st. Kitty headed back to the stands saying later, "If he wanted me, he'd have to chase me." The out did not count despite a Cardinals protest and Babe took his regular at bat. Miss Burke was a nightclub entertainer and when she was given a Reds uniform she used it in her act, touring the burlesque circuit as the only woman to bat in the major leagues. 

Not a postcard
Kitty Burke at bat.jpg (154946 bytes)
Kitty Burke

 

1936 Reds Team.jpg (212772 bytes)
1936 Reds Team

   Going left to right the players shown are, top row: John McDonald (Traveling Secretary), Billy Meyers (SS), Alex Kampouris (2B), Gilly Campbell (C), Tony Freitas (P), Dr. Rohde (team doctor), Kiki Cuyler (OF), Hub Walker (OF), Gene Schott (P), Whitey Hilcher (P). Middle row: Don Brennan (P), Samuel Byrd (OF), Ivey Wingo (coach), Tommy Thevenow (INF), Ival Goodman (OF), Ernie Lombardi (C), Les Scarsella (1B), Benny Frey (P), Babe Herman (OF). Bottom row: Don Brennan (P), Paul Derringer (P), Tom Sheehan (Coach), Chuck Dressen (Manager), George Kelly (Coach), Lee Stine (P), Lew Riggs (3B), Al Hollingsworth (P).

 

1937 Reds Team.jpg (218770 bytes)
1937 Reds Team

   The top-left person in the postcard above is John McDonald who was the traveling secretary for the Reds. One of the most iconic images of the 1937 flood was taken when McDonald and pitcher Lee Grissom rowed  into the center of Crosley Field during the peak of the flood. Going left to right the players shown are, top row: McDonald, Bill Hallahan (P), Paul Derringer (P), Roy "Peaches" Davis (P), Jimmy Outlaw (3B), Alex Kampouris (2B), Gus Brittain (C), Chick Hafey (OF), Dr. Rohde (team doctor). Middle row: Don Brennan (P), Ernie Lombardi (C), Dee Moore (C), Charlie Gelbert (SS), Kiki Cuyler (OF), Les Scarsella (1B), Ival Goodman (OF), Johnny Vander Meer (P), Gene Schott (P), Al Hollingsworth (P). Bottom row: Phil Weintraub (OF), Lew Riggs (3B), Lee Grissom (P), Billy Meyers (SS), George Kelly (Coach), Chuck Dressen (Manager), Tom Sheehan (Coach), Hub Walker (OF), Virgil "Spud" Davis (C), Buck Jordan (1B).

 

  The famous 58 foot high scoreboard was erected in 1957 replacing the large earlier art-deco scoreboard built in 1934. 1939 was the year the Reds increased the seating capacity at the park by 3,000 with the addition of upper decks. In front of the right field bleachers (known as the Sun Deck) seating known as the "Goat Run" was added in the 1940's and 50's.

 

Jumbo Crosley Field.jpg (302167 bytes)

  This over-large postcard has been researched by one of the visitors to this site (Ron Martin). By closely examining the scoreboard he was able to determine that this game was played on June 8, 1940 with the Reds at bat in the 2nd inning. The Reds went on to win the game 23-2 against the Dodgers. The shortstop is Leo Durocher of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the batter is Ernie "the schnozz" Lombardi of the Reds.

 

 

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