The Cincinnati Reds are planning a big blowout to mark 150 years since the original Red Stockings debuted as the first professional baseball team in 1869, including 15 throwback uniforms and a commemorative logo.
The logo, shown above, features a background of the Palace of the Fans façade. The Red Stockings played at the aptly named Palace of the Fans from 1902 through 1911. It will be used both on the home throwback jerseys as well as caps and away uniforms. The 15 throwback uniforms, to be worn on weekends, will range from a 1936 “Palm Beach” uniform featuring red pants and a 1911 blue jersey.
The Reds Hall of Fame and Museum at Great American Ball Park is currently under renovation and will have displays marking the anniversary, while a new outdoor pavilion featuring busts of the original 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings lineup will also stress a connection to that original pro team. (A rendering is shown below.) Also planned for the area around the ballpark: 20 statues featuring the iconic Mr. Redlegs mascot sporting throwback uniforms.
The Reds may be marking the 150 years since the original Red Stockings became the first professional baseball team, but that original Red Stockings team is not the direct ancestor to today’s National League Reds.
That first professional Red Stockings team dissolved in 1870, with several players moving to Boston and becoming key players with the Boston Red Stockings, a predecessor to the Boston Braves. Another Cincinnati Red Stockings team was launched in 1876 as a charter member of the National League, but that team was expelled by the rest of the league in 1880 for two big sins: selling beer at the ballpark and playing on Sundays.
The current Reds can trace their history to 1881 and the American Association (better known as the “Beer and Whiskey League”), a competitor to the National League. That Reds team dominated play in the American Association, and in 1890 jumped ship to play in the National League, joining the Brooklyn Dodgers in making the leap. These were definitely different times: the team continued to sell beer at the ballpark and play on Sundays, as the National League had adapted to the realities of the time. At the same time, the Red Stockings name was shortened to Reds. (You can read a good account of team history at Baseball Reference.)
But we nitpick. Whether or not the current Reds franchise is directly related to that original 1869 Red Stockings team doesn’t really matter. A Cincinnati Reds sesquicentennial bash is good for baseball and good for the fans, and given the rich history of baseball in the Queen City, a year-long celebration is certainly not out of line.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) November 5, 2018
Renderings and images courtesy Cincinnati Reds.