Banned from the majors for selling beer at games – I think I’m gonna like these guys…
So from what I’ve read, the Cincinnati Reds began unofficially in the 1870’s, but were ousted from the National League for renting out the ballpark on Sundays and selling beer (something the heavily local German population was pretty keen on.) In rebellion, the independent team known as the Redstockings was created in 1881, and eventually spawned the creation of the American Association, where they stayed for nearly a decade. Yet another quarrel among league owners sent the Redstockings packing and joined back up with the National League 1889, where they switched back to being just the Reds. Unfortunately, it took 30 years for the team to gain some traction and finally win a World Series, although it may have been intentionally lost (yup, that’s the Black Sox Scandal!) Sadly Cincinnati couldn’t regain their footing after that, and hit bankruptcy as the Great Depression came a-knocking.
The Reds got a fresh start in 1933, thanks to the Crosley brothers buying the organization and creating a farm system, and by 1940 the team had won yet another World Series! As WWII devastated the ranks of the majors, Cincinnati was hit hard, and went as far as bringing a 15 year old in to pitch – still the youngest ever to play to this day! After nearly a decade, they were finally blessed with the sensational Frank Robinson, who helped lead them into another World Series in 1961, where they fell to the Yankees. Though not awful in the 1960’s, the Reds weren’t the best, and remained quiet in the playoffs until the 1970’s.
Along with a some new digs, Riverfront Stadium, the 70’s also brought the Reds greats like Johnny Bench (one of the greatest catchers of all time), Pete Rose (absurdly good player caught gambling on games and exiled), and Joe Morgan (whom you probably know more as a broadcaster if you’re my age!). 1975 brought a well-deserved World Series win to Cincinnati and what was known as their “Big Red Machine.” Luckily, the momentum of their win propelled the team all the way through the next season for yet another in 1976, before the team was gradually dismantled by the end of the decade. It wasn’t until 1990, after a mostly unremarkable stretch in the 80’s and the acquisition of the endlessly entertaining Lou Pinella as manager, that the Reds tackled their latest World Championship. It’s been quite a dry spell since that time, though, so let’s hope Cincinnati has something brewing for this season!