Spring was in the air at Main Street this week, with a loosely equinox-related quiz. The results, however, were more fitting to last weeks World War Two theme. It was a slaughter.
Frank was the most surprised that he won with only 60% correct. That’s a D in academia. Droppin’ Dave finished second yet again. The rest of us flunked, I guess, including perennial in-the-money Rosebud. Pluto, true to his name, was in a distant orbit in Louisiana, for the Final Four, and so missed a chance to save the family name from ignominious defeat. Darin deserves credit for an educational and cohesive quiz., and Daphne did her usual fine job as emcee. No dress code this week.
Good Question! : What was the first professional baseball team?
Answer: The Cincinnati Red Stockings.
The original Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball’s first openly all-professional team, were founded as an amateur club in 1866, and became fully professional in 1869. The Red Stockings won 130 straight games throughout 1869 and 1870, before being defeated by the Brooklyn Atlantics.
Their record of 57 – 0 in 1869 is the only undefeated season (so far) by a professional baseball team. . It leads one to wonder who the heck they were playing against. Even the Yankees lose once in a while.
The best players of the Cincinnati Red Stockings relocated to Boston after the 1870 season, taking the nickname along with them and becoming the Boston Red Stockings, a team later dubbed the “Beaneaters” and eventually the “Braves”, who are now based in Atlanta.
A new Cincinnati Red Stockings team became a charter member of the National League in 1876. This second Red Stockings team was expelled from the league after the 1880 season, in part for violating league rules by serving beer to fans at games, and for their refusal to stop renting out their ballpark, the Bank Street Grounds, on Sundays. Times have changed.
A third Cincinnati team of the same name became a founding member of the American Association, a rival league that began play in 1882. That team (which is the same franchise of today) played for eight seasons in the American Association and won the Association’s inaugural pennant in 1882. In November 1889, the Cincinnati Red Stockings and the Brooklyn Dodgers both left the Association for the National League. Here is a nice slideshow / montage of baseball photos from the dead ball era (before WWI):
Twice in the 1950s (the McCarthy era), the Reds, fearing that their traditional club nickname would associate them with the threat of Communism, officially changed the name of the team to the Cincinatti Redlegs.
Starting in the late 1960s, the Reds instituted a strict rule barring the team’s players from wearing facial hair and long hair. The clean cut look was meant to present the team as wholesome in an era of turmoil.
On at least one occasion, in the early 1980s, enforcement of this rule lost them the services of star reliever and Ohio native Rollie Fingers, who would not shave his trademark handlebar mustache in order to join the team.
The rule was not officially rescinded until 1999 when the Reds traded for slugger Greg Vaughn, who had a goatee. The New York Yankees continue to have a similar rule today, though unlike the Reds during this period, Yankees players are permitted to have mustaches.
In the seventies, the Big Red Machine featured a truly awesome lineup of Tony Perez at first base, Joe Morgan at second, Dave Concepcion at shortstop, Pete Rose at third, Ken Griffey in right field, Cesar Geronimo in center, George Foster in left, and Johnny Bench as catcher.
During the 1975 season, the Reds compiled two notable streaks: (1) by winning 41 out of 50 games in one stretch, and (2) by going a month without committing any errors on defense.
The Reds, in their long history. have won 5 world series and 9 pennants, but neither since 1990.
As a nod to their place in baseball history, the major league baseball season used to begin with a game involving the Reds, but that tradition is no longer observed. Instead, we now have an upstart like the Seattle Mariners play the Oakland Athletics in the Tokyo Dome to open the season. Yes, times have changed.
Thanks to this week’s guest blogger – Droppin’ Dave.