Today marks the 50th anniversary of the final game ever played at Crosley Field. But when the ballpark first opened up it wasn’t Crosley Field, it was Redland Field and it opened up in April of 1912. 26,336 fanatics shows up to celebrate opening day at the new ballpark and watched the Cincinnati Reds come from behind to beat the Chicago Cubs, 10-6.
First Game Fun Facts
Now, we just learned that the Reds beat the Cubs that day, but let’s talk about some other fun facts from that game. Baseball was a bit different in 1912 than it is today (for example, THEY ACTUALLY PLAYED BASEBALL). During the first game played at Redland Field there were SEVEN triples hit in the game – four by Cincinnati and three by Chicago.
The game lasted just 2:23, which would seem like an incredibly fast game today, but was actually the Reds 10th longest game of the year. Only one game in 1912 played by Cincinnati was more than 2:40 – a 13-inning win over St. Louis on May 1st. The shortest game of the year was on September 12th in the first game of a double header against Brooklyn that was played in 1:10.
The Final Game at Crosley Field
June 24, 1970. The San Francisco Giants were in town to take on the Cincinnati Reds. Much like the first game at the ballpark, a comeback was in store for the hometown team. Trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the 8th inning the Reds got back-to-back solo home runs from Johnny Bench and Lee May to take the league, one they’d hold onto, for the win.
Final Game Fun Facts
Hall of Famer Juan Marichal started for San Francisco and he also gave up those home runs in the 8th inning to take the loss. Marichal missed being named an All-Star for the first time since 1961 that season. He made the team again in 1971, though that was for the 10th and final time in his outstanding career.
The game featured five future Hall of Famers. Marichal was joined by Willie McCovey who started the game at first base, and Willie Mays out in center field. On the Reds side it was Johnny Bench, who went 3-4 on the day, and Tony Perez who got the start at third base. Perez went 0-4 that day, but finished the game hitting .357/.437/.696 on the year to that point.
Bobby Bonds stole the only bag of the game – his 23rd of the season. He’s eventually steal 48 on the season and go on to swipe 461 in his career.
There were 28,027 fans at the game and they watched Cincinnati put a win in the books in 2:38.
I had the pleasure of watching nearly a dozen games at Crosley. Loved the place, but it would have been more expensive to remodel it than build Riverfront. GABP is close, but not Crosley.
My dad took me to that game. They handed out a drawing of Crosley to all those in attendance and I have that drawing and my ticket framed and hanging on the wall in my office. Great game, great night, great memory.
Crosley Field brings to mind the great team the Reds had in the mid 50’s: Bell, Post and Greengrass in the outfield along with Big Klu and Smoky Burgess. They could hit. A few years later Vada Pinson and Frank Robinson appeared.
Crosley Field was the first Red’s ballpark my dad took me to. I was born in 1958. My dad is now 89 and suffers with dementia. Nonetheless, he can wax eloquently of those days when his own father took him to Crosley Field in the 1930’s to early 1940’s. We also talk long about the days of Ernie Lombardi, Paul Derringer, Bucky Walters, Lonny Frey, and Frank McCormick. Those days long past are now fresh in his memory and still give him joy.
I went to Crowley Field for the first time as a 6-year old in 1965. Saw Pete Rose playing 2nd base and was lucky to begin my Reds memories at the beginning of the Big Red Machine days. Bench, Perez, Morgan, Concepcion, Geronimo, Foster, Griffey, etc. never cared much for Riverfront but love the new park.
Crosley Field,was a great place for baseball.Went to a lot of games in the 60’s.Never cared much for Riverfront.GABP is not bad
GABP has some of the intimacy of Crosley with good sight lines. It’s in the past, but I would have preferred Broadway Commons with Mt. Adams in the background.
my earliest memory of crosley field was a day game in which Brooks Lawrence, in his first year with the reds, went into the game 13-0, but lost that game in the ninth. I was eleven, an that was the only game that I alone, went with my father. As a family, we went to maybe a dozen games. The game would have been better had Brooks not tired in the ninth to give up a three run dinger. Still, at is a great memory.