Reds Embrace History

Cincinnati Players Will Wear 15 Throwback Jerseys This Season

On May 4, 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings trounced the Great Westerns of Cincinnati 45-9 in the first game between professional baseball players.

On May 4, 2019, the Cincinnati Reds will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Red Stockings’ historic win by wearing throwback jerseys in a home game against the San Francisco Giants. The May 4 game will be the first of 15 games during the 2019 season that the Reds will wear throwback jerseys. They will wear a different throwback jersey each game.

The games featuring Reds in throwback jerseys worn by Reds’ players from 1902 to 1999 are part of a seasonlong celebration by the current Reds’ franchise, which actually began playing baseball games in 1882, 12 years after the Red Stockings folded. The Reds will also hold an Opening Day Parade through downtown Cincinnati on March 28 that features past Reds stars such as Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan, are redesigning and reconstructing the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, and are building Little League baseball fields.

More interestingly, the Reds are placing 15 replicas of dugout benches from Crosley Field, the Reds’ home stadium from 1912 through 1970, throughout the Cincinnati metropolitan area. Each bench includes a replica of Mr. Redlegs, the team mascot, sitting on the bench wearing one of the 15 throwback jerseys

“You can’t tell 150 years of history in one day or one home stand or even month, so we’re really going to (celebrate) all season long,” Reds’ president Phil Castellini said in the article Opening Day: Reds fans can expect a yearlong celebration of baseball.”

The 15 Reds’ throwback jerseys that the 2019 team will wear are from the years 1902, 1911, 1912, 1919, 1935, 1936, 1939, 1956, 1961, 1967, 1969, 1976, 1990, 1995, and 1999. The 1976 team featuring Bench, Morgan, Pete Rose, and Tony Perez and known as the Big Red Machine might be the franchise’s all-time best with its second consecutive World Series title. The 1919 and 1990 teams (and the 1940 team) also won the World Series.

This Cincinnati.com article has photos of all 15 throwback jerseys. Note that the 1911 throwback jersey is BLUE although the team was NOT called the Cincinnati Blues that year. Then, note that the 1936 throwback jersey is the only one of the throwback jerseys with red pants. It was called the Palm Beach Alternate jersey. Not sure why.

The 1956 jersey was designed for one man, according to this MLB.com article — Ted Kluszewski. “Big Klu” had very large arms so the top half of the uniform was designed as a cutoff vest rather than a uniform with sleeves. Kluszewski hit 35 home runs in 1956 and 279 in his career. The writer of the article Best MLB Throwback Uniforms” ranks the Reds’ 1956 jersey as the 11th best throwback jersey. The photo of the uniform shows Kluszewski congratulating teammate Frank Robinson for hitting a home run.

As the Reds celebrate their history in 2019, it will be interesting to see how well they play in their throwback jerseys. One thing is certain, though — their record won’t be as good as the record of the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, who were 67-0. Maybe it was the uniforms.

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