I have a request, you guys, all the way from Hhhhhhavvvaaaahhhhhd, as if you needed further confirmation that I am in fact a great big deal. A graduate student is seeking information about the Reds temporarily changing the team name to the Redlegs in the 1950’s. He was researching local reaction to the issue, which led of course to Ruth Lyons. He stumbled upon this post here in our gentle flyover state site.
He says that our Miss Lyons objected to the name change, and wanted to know what I knew about that. Apparently Ruth Lyons and The 50/50 Club attracted the attention of the Ohio Un-American Activities Committee by doing so.
Do you any of you remember any of this? Speak up in the comments if so, comrades.
Bob Braun and Bob Braun’s hair, undercover Communists. I would imagine that if there actually was such an investigation, it took precisely five minutes, because there was no better representation of big bouncy American capitalism in the history of Cincinnati than Ruth Lyons.
I sent our Boston guest a 2500 word reply telling him that no, this was the first I’d heard about such an event. What I did in the other 2499 words was discuss the fact that Ruth Lyons kept her mouth shut about nothing else on her planet but her personal politics. Imagine a talk show host pulling an outrageous stunt like this in 2019. She’d be destroyed in a single Twitter news cycle. She’d be run right out of the local entertainment business on a cheese coney.
From what I know of Ruth Lyons, if she thought that temporarily renaming the Reds as the Redlegs was stupid, she said so for no other reason than she thought it was stupid. She probably would have joined Marty Brennaman in his categorization of Hamilton County’s stance regarding “And this one belongs to the Reds” placed on the side of GABP as “ridiculous.”
“My definition of honesty,” she wrote in a three-page letter to a disgruntled viewer demanding that she out herself as either a Democrat or Republican, “includes the importance of preserving the dignity of the individual, in regard to political interpretation, religious belief, the right to a personal approach to solve one’s own problems, and assist those less fortunate than oneself; in short, to live as much as possible by the ‘Golden Rule,’ not spasmodically, but daily.” In other words: Step off.
If mic-dropping were a thing in 1952, she would have clattered her bouquet-covered one to the floor with that. Ruth Lyons’ diligence in trusting the intelligence of “her ladies,” as she called them, is what helped her build a sterling reputation as a no-nonsense dispenser of Opinions, but Opinions which were independently formed.
This is the kind of reputation Ruth Lyons earned and weilded– a sterling one. A hard-won one which she applied in charitable and civic causes as she saw fit.
And to everyone’s everlasting benefit. Ruth Lyons drew on her public credit to help save the Reds in the 1960s. As one of the founding members of the Rosie Reds, she helped rescue the team from a fate worse than last place; rumor had it the franchise was on the move. We all know how that turned out.
I wish I had this woman’s self-discipline. I wish most of the population did. Imagine how much less we’d despise each other. We’d have so much more energy for more important things, like making pudding, and ridding the world of JarJar Binks merchandise. Bless this woman’s memory.
Bless her occasionally pursed lips.