CBA-Report-April12 - page 6

April 2012 CBA REPORT
Cover Feature
By Greg Rhodes
ince its founding in 1872, the Cin-
cinnati Bar Association can claim
many prominent Cincinnatians
and many significant accomplishments
as it celebrates its 140th anniversary.
I suspect, however, the CBA may have
overlooked one of its most lasting contri-
butions to the Queen City, and
in fact, to all of America: its
central role in the formation of
the Cincinnati Red Stockings,
the first professional baseball
club, namesake of today’s Cin-
cinnati Reds.
The Red Stockings were
formed by a group of young
attorneys in 1866. One of the
club’s founders, attorney Aaron
B. Champion, noted at the
first organizational meeting
on July 23, 1866, that several
distinguished members of the
Bar had gathered to form the
club. Recalling this meeting
years later in an 1887 maga-
zine article, Champion joked
that most were distinguished
by their lack of clients. But
some of them were among the
founding members of the CBA
in 1872, and many other members of the
Bar were also supporters of the club.
The Red Stockings, one of several
ball clubs formed in the city in the years
immediately after the Civil War, was
a club primarily dedicated to exercise
and camaraderie, with little attention, at
first, to excelling at a national level. The
first name of the club was not the Red
Stockings, it was the “Resolutes.” The
players donned red caps, white shirts and
blue pants, and played their games in the
Millcreek Bottoms, in the flat land that
bordered the Millcreek at what was then
the western terminus of Eighth Street.
There are familiar names among
that group of young ballists, many of
whom had attended Harvard and Yale in
the late 1850s and early 1860s, and had
learned the game while at school. (There
was no organized baseball in Cincin-
nati until after the Civil War.) The list
included Alfred Goshorn, Drausin Wul-
sin, Rufus King, Nicholas Longworth,
Bellamy Storer, J. William Johnson, and
Charles Callahan. Some were players.
Others supported the club with their
time and financial contributions.
In those halcyon days, recalled with
much nostalgia decades later, players
remembered the injuries, the fantastic
plays at bat and in the field, and rising at
4 a.m. to play a few innings of ball at sun-
rise, before dressing and heading off to
work. Champion wrote in his 1887 arti-
cle, “One can yet see the gallant Wulsin...
and the elephantine Cham-
pion flying around after
the ball in the weeds of the
Millcreek in that uniform —
pictures of ‘Resoluteness’ in
pursuit of health, happiness
and a baseball...”
In its first two seasons,
the club played other local
teams, including clubs from
Kentucky and as far away
as Louisville. A few of the
other Cincinnati teams were
also organized around a
common business or profes-
sional bond; there were
teams of printers and book
binders, of bankers, and
insurance men. Neighbor-
hood nines joined in; there
were clubs from Avondale,
Clifton, Fairmount, Walnut
Hills and the East End.
But the club that was to become
preeminent was the legal nine, although
they were no longer the “Resolutes.”
They changed their name to the Cincin-
nati Base Ball Club in 1867, and with the
rapidly increasing interest in this young
sport, the club moved to improve its for-
tunes. Relying on its numerous business
connections and a growing membership,
the Cincinnati Base Ball Club raised
money to lease a new field (location
Grounded in Legal Community
The Cincinnati Base Ball Club opened this grandstand, called Union Grounds,
in 1867 and the Red Stockings played here through the 1870 season. Today, the
ballpark site is occupied by the fountain and esplanade in front of Union Terminal. 
Re s Hist ry
Photos courtesy of the Cincinnati Reds Museum and Hall of Fame.
1,2,3,4,5 7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,...36
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