Forty-four years ago yesterday, the Reds played their last game at Crosley Field. Crosley was actually the third Reds ballpark at the corner of Findlay and Western, capping the club’s 86+ season run at the site. Here, from deep in the RLN Photo Vault, are some looks at Crosley Field. The Palace of the Fans, the Reds ballpark from 1902-11, was demolished and Crosley erected in the same location between October 11. 1911 and April 11, 1912 (the same month that the Titanic sank and Fenway Park opened).

This rare video was unearthed (literally) in remote Canada, and shows the 1919 World Series, including an shot of the ballpark from an “aero-cameraman” in a biplane.

Here’s a shot of Reds fans lined up for tickets to the 1939 World Series. Embed from Getty Images

This is Matty Schwab, Sr. He was on the Reds ground crew from 1894 (assisting his father) through 1963, and laid the original sod at Crosley. He’s also credited with inventing the modern base design, drainage systems, and several major league scoreboards. Schwab and Bernie Stowe (who worked together for 17 seasons) created a direct link to 120 years of Reds history. I can’t imagine any other organization stretching back that far, with just two employees.

This aerial shot shows how the construction of I-75 tore up the neighborhood around Crosley, but also shows how limited the park was in terms of seating capacity and parking.


The famous scoreboard from the ’60s…

  …and today, where it lives on at a youth baseball complex in Blue Ash, Ohio.


Here’s a great color shot from August 1969.   Edited:  Inexplicably, the night week before the Reds last game in Crosley, the ballpark hosted a show by Iggy Pop and the Stooges. [Note: Further research indicates that the Iggy Pop concert was actually on June 13, not June 23. (Getty Images’ captions are notoriously inaccurate about dates.) Apparently, it was a rock festival, also including Grand Funk Railroad, Alice Cooper, Bob Seger, and Mountain. To prevent damage to the infield, concert-goers were required to stay on the dirt basepaths. I can’t even imagine.]
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Here are Johnny Bench and Wayne Granger celebrating the Reds’ win in the final ballgame at Crosley.

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And here are the 1970 Reds leaving Crosley Field for the last time.

Embed from Getty Images

11 Responses

  1. CP

    The Reds HOF Museum still puts on tours of the Crosley Field site.

    I took my grandfather on a tour last year and had a really good time. Obviously, you need to bring a good imagination, but the tour guide was an excellent storyteller, and the older Reds fans that supplemented his tour with their personal stories were fun to listen to.

  2. Dennis

    Crosley Field also was the site of a live performance by the Beatles in 1966… the sixth-to-last live concert they ever gave (not counting the rooftop concert in London).

  3. Berta Pettis

    Great pictures!! I was so happy to see the scoreboard of the 60s! My Dad was an Executive at Pontiac in Cincinnati in the 1960s and was instrumental getting the Pontiac on the scoreboard! Reason of course: The TV cameras always focused on the scoreboard!! He also provided Pontiacs to Reds management, and later to the White Sox, after he left Cincinnati, and the Astros, after leaving Chicago. Such great “mem’ries”!! Thanks.

  4. Reed Tom

    I guess because I saw so many games at Crosley Field when I was young that the new ballparks don’t have the warmth and intimacy that Crosley had. And also the old ballpark set in a neighborhood where people lived and struggled to make ends meet.

  5. cfd3000

    I have four seats from Riverfront and love the memories they represent, even though I’ve never lived close to Cincinnati. But Crosley was obviously an old school park with so much more character, much like Fenway where I saw so many games in college. Thanks for this stroll through history Chris. And I’m definitely going to take that tour the next time I’m in town for Reds games – I didn’t even know there was one.

  6. vegastypo

    Thanks so much for these photos and memories!!! This is truly a fun Reds website.

    I didn’t get hooked on baseball until early in the Riverfront years, but I know was at a few Crosley games as a tike…..

  7. Mister D69

    It’s not just the construction of I-75 which decimated the area around the ballpark. The caption for the aerial photo talks about limited parking. Keep in mind that most of the lots in the shot were row houses (like in the upper right) prior to the (I believe) mid 50’s. Imagine the ballpark in a sea of row houses.

    Nor was It the parking lots directly which killed the area. It was post-war suburbanization. That drew the populace out of those very homes. In order for them to get back to Crosley they now needed those highways. And in order to dump their transport somewhere, they needed those lots. Those highways and lots eventually strangled the ballpark. Ironic.