Cincinnati Reds: A Franchise of Firsts


Oct 11, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Mat Latos (55) reacts to a strike out during the second inning against the San Francisco Giants in game five of the 2012 NLDS at Great American Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY SportsThe Cincinnati Reds franchise is special. It is the oldest  franchise in professional baseball history. In 1869 they began as the Cincinnati Red Stockings and finished the season with a perfect 57-0 record. I bet you didn’t know about the undefeated record, I didn’t.

On April 11, 1912 the Reds played their first game in Redland Field (renamed Crosley Field in 1934). That was a mere four days before the “unsinkable” Titanic went down in the frigid waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The Reds beat Chicago 10-6.

Also in 1934 the Reds became the first baseball club to travel via an airplane, flying to Chicago.

On May 24, 1935 the Reds hosted the first night game in Major League history as they beat the Phillies 2-1 in front of 20,422 fans. President Franklin D. Roosevelt threw the switch that turned the lights on from the White House. I would like to see an image of that electrical schematic if anyone has a copy.

Johnny Vander Meer set a record that still stands today. In 1938 he pitched two consecutive shutouts beating the Braves and then the Dodgers four days later.

In 1944 Joe Nuxhall became the youngest boy to play in the major leagues. Nuxy was not quite 16 when he pitched 2/3 of an inning and gave up five runs. I guess it made him so depressed that he didn’t pitcch again until 1952.

In 1957 the Reds’ fans stuffed the All-Star ballot boxes and caused the National League to intervene and take George Crowe, Wally Post and Gus Bell off the roster to make way for Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Stan Musial. The entire original lineup was filled with men from the Queen City. So to say the Reds are a franchise of “first” would be redundant.

Up until just a few years ago the Reds opener served as the opener for MLB as well.

Starting to sound like a history lesson so I will digress and return to the 21st Century. The Reds are scheduled to take on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on April Fool’s Day at GABP.  I am too lazy to research this but I believe it will be the first time the Reds open against an American League squad. Please, by all mean correct me if I am found to be wrong.

It is just an assumption on my part, as anything can happen between now and then, but my guess as to the starting pitchers would be Jared Weaver vs. Johnny Cueto. Now that should be a game. The Angels should feature one of the best lineups in all of baseball. Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton, Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick form a more than adequate group of hitters.

The Reds have a good bunch of hitters to retaliate with. Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, Ryan Ludwick, Shin-Soo Choo and Todd Frazier will be ready for the task at hand.

I am really pumped for the season to start, I can smell the fresh-cut grass already. Play Ball!