Let’s get at it. We’re running through each Sports Illustrated cover to feature a Red.

Welcome in if you’re new to the series. Here’s the first one.

Here is Johnny Bench’s face.

Hey, remember the 1990 World Series?

Spring Training!

If this woman ever owned your city’s baseball team, you might be entitled to compensation.

A tiny little picture of Terry Francona in a Reds uniform.

Now let’s visit the 1950’s. Here’s one cover here from the 50s we already discussed– the Reds on the 1956 All-Star team.

Anybody ever hear of these guys?

July 16, 1956. This is an epic cover– why don’t we see more of this cover? It’s Wally Post, Ted Kluszewski, and the first Bell to enter the Reds chat. It’s Gus Bell, father of Buddy, grandfather of David. Please tell me you’ve heard of at least one of these.

Wally Post was my mother’s favorite. I have no idea why. She didn’t remember, when I asked. But I’d have this whole team as my favorites– look at those stirrups. These were the men of the heyday of Crosley Field.

One phrase that’s fading quickly out of Cincinnati’s public consciousness: “hit the laundry.” That was the Superior Towel and Linen Service in left field, and hitting the laundry meant a ball with a family just had a very bad day. I suppose that’s the equivalent of today’s “he hit the Power Stacks” or, even better, “it went in the river.” (Riverfront had such an aircraft-carrier sized outfield that mighty slams just “went over the wall.”)  But Crosley had the laundry.

Now at the Hall of Fame we called Wally the Crosley Field “King of the Laundry” because he thwacked the “Hit This Sign, Win a Suit” target so often. (Final count: 11.)

I’m amazed that Kluszewski even fit on the cover at all, let alone with two teammates. He’s rocking the sleeveless look here, one he created himself so as to have room for his arms, his swing, and his awesomeness.

Gus Bell, outside of spawning members of the Reds front office, is a Reds Hall of Famer, just like these other two gentlemen. (Seriously:  Why is this the first time I’d ever seen this cover?)  After he retired, he was a scout for the Indians and Rangers.

How bout this guy?

September 9, 1957– Well, of all the articles about Reds that made the cover, this was certainly one of them. Shortstop Roy McMillan hovers over the subtitle “The Best Was Not Quite Good Enough.” Fantastic. Put it on the wall. One to remember. Also in this issue: Clare Boothe Luce, for some reason.

I don’t understand why this cover was so… almost insulting. McMillan won the Gold Glove three times. He was Cincinnati MVP in 1956. I’m assuming the reference was for the team as a whole, which bounced along in first place at mid-season.

Guess which All Star Game this was? The Cincinnati stuffing of the ballot box.

Guess what happened to the team? Fourth place by the time the season was done.

You never hear that particular coda the story. But yeah, the baseball gods smited the Reds for attempting to unseat Hank Aaron and Willie Mays.

Also: These uniforms were stupid.

17 Responses

  1. LDS

    A bit before my time but I remember them from old clips, etc. Especially Klu, who always seemed like a guy from an earlier era

  2. Doc

    I saw all four of these players in action at Crosley Field, having grown up in the 50s to early 60s playing Knothole Baseball and benefitting from the days when Knotholers in uniform were admitted free with a paying adult to a handful of games each season.

    • PatTheBat

      Ditto! Fond memories of so many of these players, Crosley and the laundry. I still have my Jerry Lynch model glove (ca. 1960) my dad got me at Brendamour’s shop downtown for Knothole ball that spring. Made to last — played a lot of softball with it in my 20s & 30s and some catch with my son a decade or so later.

    • Melvin

      I think it’s really cool how some on here have been Reds fans long enough to have watched games at Crosley Field. My hat goes off to you all. If I had an emoji for that I’d use it. 🙂

  3. Jerry Tracey

    This is the era of players from my childhood! Big Klu, Johnnie Temple, Roy Mc Milan, Ray Jablonski, Frank Robinson, Gus Bell, Wally Post,Rockie Bridges,Bob Thurman, George Crowe,Elio Chacon and those whose faces I can still see, but whose names escape me now! I’ m 78 and grew up in Price Hill.Ah the memories.

    • greenmtred

      I saw them all, too. I loved Crosley Field. And those uniforms weren’t stupid, Mary Beth.

    • greenmtred

      Ed Bailey and Smokey Burgess. I remember hearing a game on the radio when one of Big Klu’s hands slipped off of the bat and he STILL hit a homer!

  4. Mark Moore

    Massive heroes from a bygone era. And McMillan wearing “11” and manning SS didn’t escape me. The “hit the laundry” was a new phrase for m.

    Now, from a VERY LOYAL reader, MBE … don’t start with the “family” or I’ll have to march up there to Cincy myself and buy you a beer and some Skyline … 😀