CBA-Report-April12 - page 8

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April 2012 CBA REPORT
Cover Feature
Offices in Cincinnati, Ohio, Dayton, Ohio and Denver, Colorado
At Freking & Betz, we are avid fans of the
Cincinnati Reds and celebrate Opening Day as
one of our favorite annual holidays! We will be
closed the afternoon of April 5. Play ball!
Freking & Betz, LLC is Cincinnati’s premier team of litigators helping
individuals overcome wrongs in employment-related and personal injury matters.
Call 513-721-1975 to speak with a Freking & Betz attorney about your referral.
their stars “under the table”), and so it fell to the
upstarts from the West, only in their fourth year
of operation, to be the first to employ an openly
all-professional nine. Among the new Cincinnati
recruits was Harry Wright’s younger brother,
George, who at 22 was already regarded as the
top player in America.
The decision to pay players and the club’s
ability to attract top talent spelled the end of
lawyers as active players on the Red Stocking
club. However, the leadership and membership
of the club continued to be dominated by the
legal community. And as the 1869 Red Stockings
piled up win after win, the city of Cincinnati
rallied around its winning nine. Festive crowds
made their way to the ballpark, filling all the
seats and standing along the foul lines to watch
the Red Stockings. When one of the East Coast
clubs came west, the crowd could swell to 8,000
and more.
The Red Stockings won every one of its 57
official games in 1869. The team traveled from
New York to San Francisco, from Washington,
D.C., to Milwaukee, to take on all rivals. Their
excellent play and gentlemanly behavior helped
spread the gospel of the new national pastime
from coast to coast.
In 1870, the club hired back the same players,
but many other teams, having seen the success
of the Red Stockings, also put players under con-
tract. The Red Stockings still dominated play, but
not quite to the extent of its 1869 triumph. The
winning streak finally ended after 81 victories in
a row, and the season ended 67-6. Unfortunately,
the team’s finances did not do as well. After two
seasons of professional ball, the club had failed
to break even, and with their players being heav-
ily recruited by other teams, the leadership was
reluctant to further assess its members to keep
the enterprise afloat. And so, in 1871, the first
professional league was launched, but the team
that had made it possible was not a member.
There was no professional baseball in Cincinnati
until 1876, when new owners put up an entry in
the new National League. The “Red Stockings”
were back, and with the exception of one season,
we have had professional baseball in Cincinnati
since, a legacy that owes its beginnings to that
small band of lawyers from 1866, seeking out a
little exercise and fellowship with a ball and bat
in hand.
Rhodes served as the founding director of the Cincinnati Reds
Hall of Fame and Museum. He continues to work for the club as
the Reds team historian, and as a member of the club’s speakers’
bureau. He has authored six books on the Cincinnati Reds,
including books on Crosley Field, the Big Red Machine and the
Red Stockings of 1869.
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