Tribute to a season planned for the pioneers of 1869 red stockings

CINCINNATI (Parlay Game) – The Cincinnati Reds are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Red Stockings group of professional pioneers.

Joey Votto and his team will play in 15 sets of uniforms, including a navy blue and red "Palm Beach" version, at a celebration of the city's baseball heritage highlighted by the undefeated team of Cincinnati dating from 1869 that rubs the coast on the American coast after the Civil War. The first openly fully salaried baseball club, the Red Stockings have popularized catchy uniforms with panties-style pants and bright red socks, while elevating the sport with a variety of innovations.

"From a historical perspective and from the evolution of baseball as a national pastime, the red stockings of 1869 were the cornerstone," said Greg Rhodes, team historian Reds and co-author of "The First Boys of the Summer". hard to imagine the modern game of baseball without the Red Bottoms. "

Six questions and answers on the anniversary:

Who were the red stockings?

The core team grew out of the goal of two Cincinnati lawyers to make their local baseball club a club capable of beating the best teams in the East. The popularity of baseball after the war had grown and paid players, often under the table, had become more common in what had started as a game of gentlemen.

Les Bas Rouges became the first openly salaried team after a Major League Baseball talent quest the historian John Thorn compares to the free spending of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner more than a century later.

"It's a team made up of the best players that could be found and encouraged to come to Cincinnati," Thorn said.

The biggest blow was the signature of Harry Wright's younger brother, George Wright, a star who had already teamed up.

This first payroll totaled about $ 10,000 for 10 players.

How good were they?

Thorn considers the team of 1869 as one of the best teams of all time. They average more than 40 races per game and remain the only undefeated professional baseball team after a 57-0 record.

Thorn said 19 victories were won against teams classified as "professional". Rhodes said Harry Wright has scored more than a dozen victories in the overall victory over teams not recognized by the National Baseball Association.

Big brother's records indicate that George Wright beat about .630 with 49 home runs and nearly six points per game. Thorn compares George in his total capacity for his time to Alex Rodriguez at his peak; a dreaded hitter who was also a superb field player (in the era of the pre-glove) with a powerful arm that allowed him to play exceptionally deep at the short stop.

With contract players, Harry, a cricket star born in England, has worked hard for baseball and physical training. The Red Stockings have developed on-the-fly calling balls, using relays, defensive changes, and intentionally suppressing pop-ups to create duplicate games (unauthorized by today's field flying rule). 'hui). The bases were more aggressive than their opponents. Harry Wright was an innovator in relief launcher, bringing his slow "dewdrop" to disrupt the timing of the batters after regular pitcher Asa Brainard.

How good was a bargain?

The Reds stormed the country, playing from coast to coast with swings in the East and a transcontinental rail trip to California.

Wearing panties with shiny stockings instead of long pants gave youngsters (7 out of 10 aged 22 or younger), muscular players, a catchy look that, as the Chronicle of San Francisco notes, "shows their calves in all their size and their roundness. "

Author Darryl Brock, who has traced their travels for his historical novel, "If I Never Return," describes the women who greet the players by raising their skirts to show their own red stockings. The team arrived at the games by singing a sentence that concluded: "Red Stockings will all throw the ball and shout our loud hurrah!" They showed their talent for warm-up exercises that would please the crowd.

Before the mass media, they became a national sensation through telegraphic reports, national newspapers and weeklies.

"The nation had been so divided (by the war)," said Brock. "They were sort of a binding influence … the huge excitement they generated."


The players earned $ 50 bonuses and returned for 1870. They raised their series to 81, headed south to play New Orleans and compiled a total of 124-6-1 two seasons.

Then they went to bed.

"They have been a tremendous success on the field," Rhodes said. "They could never really understand how to make it work financially."

Attendance at home fell in 1870 after the first losses tarnished their mystique. With the increase in spending by other teams, the club's management has seen wages rise beyond feasibility.

"Like today, there was this tension between bigger markets and smaller markets," Rhodes said.

The Wrights then moved to Boston, using the name of Red Stockings, and participated in the creation of the club in 1871, which today is named the oldest baseball team in the world. Surprise: It's not the Boston Red Sox, but the Braves, who became Braves in Boston, settled in Milwaukee and settled in Atlanta.


All Major League Baseball teams will wear 150-year-old uniforms throughout the season, as well as special patches for selections for selections, said Barbara McHugh, Senior Vice President of Marketing at MLB. The MLB's social media will also be present throughout the season. McHugh said Commissioner Rob Manfred would be in Cincinnati for the March 28 opening day festivities and would participate in the annual pre-match parade across the city.

The Reds, meanwhile, will have their own commemorative patches, with different versions for uniforms at home and outdoors.

And this is only to start.

"You do not do it in a day, in a family home, or even in a month, so we really take the whole season to celebrate it and tell you story one piece at a time," Phil said. Castellini. the chief of the Reds' operation.

About twenty benches will be set up around the Cincinnati area, illustrating the mascot Mr. Redlegs, equipped with a mustachioed handlebar, ready for fans' selfies. The Hall of Fame and Club Museum will reopen in March after a major renovation. On May 4, the Reds will open "Pavilion 1869" on the outside, in tribute to the Bas Rouges who played their first official match on that date.

On July 5th, a day of rest, the Reds are holding an "Open House" to allow fans to visit the Great American Ball Park for free, mingle with the team and end with a field concert and a concert. pyrotechnic show.

the the uniforms represent historical events, such as baseball's first baseball game in 1935, and the Reds' top teams such as the 1976 "Big Red Machine" team that swept the playoffs. The 1911 blue road uniforms and the light "Palm Beach" style of the 1930s with red pants are examples of unusual styles. There will be no returns in 1869, as this precocious and cumbersome style could annoy players, Castellini said.

The new manager of the Reds, David Bell, looks forward to looking back, especially a 1956 version. This is the year his grandfather Gus Bell helped the Reds to equal the MLB record of 221 for circuits at home.

"Wearing a uniform like this is an honor," said Bell, whose father, Buddy, also played for the Reds. "You think of all the great players, the great people who wore these uniforms. It really means a lot. "


After four consecutive finals in last place, the Reds have revised their pitching and added in front of All-Star veterans Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp for 2019.

"It's essential because our work on the commercial side of this franchise is to wrap the show up on the ground," Castellini said. "We were already having a big party … It is important that you have this performance on the field, because this good time can only go very far."

The longtime fan, 47-year-old Steve Pohlman, and his 18-year-old son, Tyler, participated in the team's winter caravan tour and will be present for the 150th anniversary.

"It's something I can tell my kids and grandchildren," Tyler said. Regarding the recent struggles of the Reds: "We must stick to that. This is the baseball of Cincinnati.


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