It is only fitting that the very first professional baseball team would be the first to host the first ever night game in Major League history! May 24, 1935 marked the date that the Cincinnati Reds & Philadelphia Phillies played under the lights at Crosley Field. By the push of a button in the White House, President Franklin D. Roosevelt illuminated the ballpark. The Cincinnati Reds won that night 2-1.
"[Johnny] Bench, [Pete] Rose, [Tony] Perez, [George] Foster, [Ken] Griffey, [Dave] Concepcion -- all of those guys. That's the main reason," he replied. "Some of the greatest times in my life were spent here. This was a great place for me." - Joe Morgan (on why being in Cincinnati is so special for him)
Joe Morgan was a member of the Big Red Machine in Cincinnati and had some of the biggest moments in his long career with the Reds. Below are some of the highlights of this ball player's 22-season career from 1963-84.
- 10-time All-Star, including eight straight with the Reds
- Five-time Gold Glove Award winner
- National League Most Valuable Player (1975 & 1976)
- Joe Morgan holds the record for most Reds stolen bases with 406
- Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990
Today the focus is on Johnny Bench. To start the day we wanted to list a few facts of one of the amazing player who was a part of "The Big Red Machine."
- Johnny Bench holds the record for most Reds grand slams with 11, most home runs with 389 and most RBI’s with 1,376.
- In his 13th consecutive season, Johnny Bench set a ML record by catching 100 or more games.
- Elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in January 1989.
- All-Star (14): 1968-80, 1983
- MVP 1970, 1972
- Rookie of the Year 1968
- Gold Glove (10): 1968-1977
This is just the beginning of day filled with facts, images and even a video with George Clooney on the Ellen Degeneres Show! So check back later for more on Johnny Bench! Hope you enjoy!
There are a lot of interesting things of note about a sometimes unheralded member of “The Big Red Machine,” Dave Concepcion.
- Played his entire 19 year career as a Cincinnati Red
- Was originally drafted as a pitcher but was converted to shortstop
- Pitched in one game of his major league career – June 3, 1988 against the Dodgers. Concepcion threw 22 pitches in 1.1 innings of relief. Sixteen of the twenty-two were strikes.
- Elected to the All Star team nine times
- Five time Gold Glove winner
- The Venezuelan born Concepcion was a big influence on younger Venezuelan players, including Ozzie Guillen, who wore # 13 in his honor.
But there’s one more interesting fact that you might not know about. Concepcion was the first player to utilize the one bounce throw to first. Concepcion realized that he could use the speed of the turf to his advantage and worked with Tony Perez to perfect this innovative throwing technique.
As the original professional baseball team the Reds have an extensive and interesting uniform history. We love a lot of the old jerseys that you’ll see below but we haven’t made many of these recently. What do you think, should we bring some of these back?
1938 Road Jersey
We like this one for it’s fancy block letters on the front. It’s a lettering style that we don’t usually associate with the Reds but we think it works. The Cincinnati is red with blue trim and there is red piping around the sleeves and neck. This uniform was worn by Johnny Vander Meer in 1938, his first full season with the Reds. During that season Vander Meer accomplished one of those feats that will most likely never be repeated. He pitched two no hitters in one season. What makes it even more remarkable is that they were only five days apart. In the first game he topped the Boston Braves at home at Crosley Field. For no hitter #2, he beat the Dodgers in Brooklyn.
1956 Home Vest
1956 brought the biggest change to the Reds uniform in 20 years. In 1956 the Reds switched from the traditional short sleeve jersey to vests for both their home and road uniforms. They wore vests through the 1966 season, switching back to the short sleeve jersey in 1967.
At the left is the first vest, the 1956 home.
And pictured below is the 1956 road, which we love for the “Old Red” cartoon face on the left chest. Click the image to see a larger view.
1961 Road Vest
In 1961, the Reds added navy braid around the vest sleeve holes. The braid in this image to the left looks black, but from we can tell, we think it was actually navy. Modeling below is Sammy Ellis who pitched for the Reds in 1962 and 1964 – 66.
1964 Home Vest
In 1964 the Reds added their names under the numbers on the back of the vest. The image to the right is Ellis
again, this time from 1966.
So, any thoughts on these jerseys? Let us know if you think we should bring any of these back.