Whether you celebrate the Reds beginning from a starting date of 1869 (First full professional team) or 1882 (Reds first year in the American Association) or 1890 (Reds first year in the National League) you have to be a little amazed at the years that it encompasses as well as the history that has filled up those years. A 2019 version of a uniform from the past is great, knowing what was occurring when those uniforms were first worn is history and knowing your history is a big part of being a baseball fan, so we’ll try to cover a bit of what was happening when these uniforms were debuted.
4/17/1902 – League Park
Team’s record that season
70-70 – 4th place 35 games back
217,300 – Which is league average, no team would top one million in the coming decade
Bid McPhee, fired in July and replaced by Joe Kelly. McPhee was lauded by the press throughout his career and even his managerial fail was never used as a reason to disparage him. His HOF plaque notes his “sober disposition and exemplary sportsmanship.” After he left managing, he began scouting for the team until 1909 eventually leaving the game.
The 1902 team comprised of some name players for that era. Sam Crawford playing his last year as a Red and 1st baseman Jake Beckley are in the Hall of Fame, William “Dummy” Hoy was playing his last year at age 40 and still commanding CF through a series of audible grunts when calling off other fielders. Frank “Noodles” Hahn and Bob Ewing were the pitchers worth noting and the famous trivia answer Harry Steinfeldt manned third.
Best Reds batter
Sam Crawford .848 OPS – Crawford jumped the Reds the following season and that move eventually played a major role in the AL / NL peace treaty. The Reds gave up his rights and that helped pave the way to a working agreement between the leagues. Crawford in the MLB record holder in triples and for his career he had 370 more extra base hits than his peers, for comparison Reggie Jackson has 392.
Best Major League batter
Honus Wagner (Pirates) – .930 – From 1900-1909 Wagner hit .352/.417/.508/.925 in a league that hit .263/.325/.339/.664
Best Reds Pitcher
Noodles Hahn – 47 RSAA#– Before there was Mario Soto there was Noodles Hahn, maybe you heard about him on the radio this spring.
Best National League Pitcher
Noodles Hahn – 47 RSAA – A Reds rarity in most years
325902- 10th in the USA – Buffalo was #8. Buffalo!
Team Media Sources
If you are following the team, chances are you can read local papers like the Post or Enquirer or the Cincinnati Commercial Tribune. If you are a hardcore fan you read Sporting Life or The Sporting News or place a bet at the local watering hole while you wash down sausage with a cold lager.
The Electric Theatre, the first movie theater in the United States, opens in Los Angeles.
Automobiles were just gaining traction, yet they still looked like buggies with steering wheels.
Charles Lindbergh, American aviator (d. 1974)
Levi Strauss, German-born American inventor of Levi’s Jeans (b. 1829)
The official name of the Reds park was “League Park”. The Palace of the Fans was the name of the main grandstand that debuted the same day as the new uniforms. Built in the most popular style of the past decade the neoclassical ballpark was erected a year and a half after a fire had destroyed the Reds grandstand in 1900. The fire had forced the team to reconfigure the field and the new grandstand was classically ornate, sitting 6,000 patrons while the former grandstand and seats were also used to expand access to the cheap seat crowd. On opening day that year they drew 10K.
Brush was in his final year as the Reds owner, by July he would help raid the American League Orioles where he and Andrew Freedman divvied up the spoils of their raid with John McGraw ending up as the New York Giants manager and Joe Kelly as the Reds skipper, also grabbed at that time was Cy Seymour whose 1905 batting average of .377 is still the team record. By Mid-summer the press was reporting that Brush was selling the team to a group led by the Fleischmann family with Garry Herrmann as the point person. Brush would end up owning the New York Giants during their greatest reign and to this day is the last Reds owner to not live in the city during their ownership.
#RSAA–Runs saved against average. It’s the amount of runs that a pitcher saved vs. what an average pitcher would have allowed.