CBA-Report-April12 - page 7

April 2012 CBA REPORT
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7
Cover Feature
today: the esplanade and fountain in
front of Union Terminal), build a sizable
grandstand, and hire a club manager,
Harry Wright.
The club membership roster grew
to include a list of 300 or more. It reads
today like a “Who’s Who” of 19th
century Cincinnati, and its backbone
was the legal community. The club was
not a money-making enterprise. It was
organized more along the lines of how a
country club would be set up today. Most
members joined for the exercise and to
support the club, although only a few
were good enough for the top club teams.
There was even a clubhouse reserved for
members on the grounds of the ballpark,
just behind third base. It was a social
area, not a locker room. Players ar-
rived to play in uniform, but they would
convene in the clubhouse before and after
the games.
Although the club began with no
illusions about competing with the top
clubs on the East Coast, by late 1867 the
Cincinnati club had become the strongest
team west of the Alleghenies. Club man-
ager Wright, who was from New York
and had many friends back East, began
to recruit some of the top players to join
the Cincinnati nine, players we would
think of as “ringers” today. Then, another
significant change: in 1868, Wright
introduced a new uniform style featuring
short, knicker-style pants which required
the players to wear long stockings. Had
Wright picked blue or white, the current
Cincinnati team might be known as the
“Blue Sox” or the “White Stockings,” but
Wright picked red, his club soon became
known as the Red Stockings, and we
remain the “Reds” to this day.
With the encouragement of his club
officers, and the support of his member-
ship, Wright began to assemble a talented
roster, and the 1868 Red Stockings
featured some out-
standing national
players, players who
might be considered
“All-Stars” today,
including pitcher
Asa Brainard and
third baseman Fred
Waterman.
This was also the last season the club
featured members of the Bar in its start-
ing lineup. Attorneys J. William Johnson
and Rufus King played outfield, and both
later became members of the CBA.
Johnson and King had to have
been good players to take their places
alongside the powerful club Wright was
assembling. The Red Stockings solidified
their rank as the best club in the “West,”
and turned their sights on the eastern
powerhouses. The club completed the
season with 41 wins and seven losses, but
all seven defeats came at the hand of the
top clubs from New York, Philadelphia
and Washington, D.C.
Prior to the 1869 season, the gov-
erning body of baseball at the time,
the National Association of Base Ball
Players, changed its rules to allow the
teams to employ “professionals,” and
club president Champion and Wright
saw this as their opportunity to lure
other top players to Cincinnati. For many
reasons, the eastern clubs decided not
to take advantage of this rule (although
they had already been paying many of
p
The 1868 Red Stockings included two future members of the
CBA, outfielders J.William Johnson (back row, second from left)
and Rufus King (back row, second from right).
u
Rufus King played center field for the 1868 Red Stockings and
was a founding member of the CBA in 1872.
p
The undefeated 1869 Red Stockings, baseball’s first openly
professional club, was captained by Harry Wright (back row,
center) and led by his younger brother George (back row, second
from right), the nation’s best ballplayer.
u
Alfred Goshorn, an original member of the CBA in 1872, was
president of the Cincinnati Base Ball Club in 1866 and 1867.
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