DETAILS
 
Name Cincinnati Reds II
Operated 1875 to 1880
Leagues None (1875)
  National League (1876-80)
Ballparks Avenue Grounds (1875-79)
Bank Street Grounds (1880)
Championships None
 
STATISTICS
 
SEASON LEAGUE GP W L T WP RANK    
                   
1875 None           -    
1876 Nat. Lea. 65 9 56 0 .138 8    
1877 Nat. Lea. 58 15 42 1 .263 6    
1878 Nat. Lea. 61 37 23 1 .617 2    
1879 Nat. Lea. 81 43 37 1 .537 5    
1880 Nat. Lea. 83 21 59 3 .263 8    
 
 
None
 
 
1875 1876 1877 1878 1879
1880        
 
 
1875 1876 1877 1878 1879
1880        
 
 
 
 
 
Cincinnati had lost its professional status when the original Red Stockings players disbanded after the 1870 season concluded. In 1875 John Joyce, who was an organizer of the Red Stockings, decided to establish a new professional club. So in 1875 he organized a new professional nine that played local amateur clubs. Joyce then turned around and sold his newly established club to wealthy Cincinnati meat packer Josiah "Si" Keck during the winter. When the National League was formed on February 2, 1876 at the Grand Central Hotel in New York City, eight cities were selected to compete in the new major league: St. Louis, Hartford, Louisville, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston and Keck's Cincinnati club.

Keck was hoping to cash in on the success of the original Red Stockings team from five years earlier. He secured the services of two of the original Red Stockings players : first baseman Charlie Gould & second baseman Charlie Sweasy, with Gould also serving as manager of the new team. The team played at Avenue Grounds, a ballpark conveniently located near Keck's own meat packing plant and the stock yards.

Although Keck's team had a couple players from the Red Stockings of old, it was not enough. His 1876 club won only four of twenty-six games played by the end of June. The Reds went on to finish the season with a woeful 9-56 record, which remains the second worst winning percentage of any major league team to play in more than 70 games. The club is also the only major league team to post single digit wins for the season. The Cincinnati Reds finished a distant 42½ games behind the pennant winning Chicago White Stockings, and the poor play on the field resulted in poor attendance.

The 1877 club didn't show much improvement from the previous season. Not only was the club performing poorly on the field but financial setbacks by owner Josiah Keck resulted in the team disbanding on June 19th. Three weeks later the Reds were reorganized under the ownership of J. Wayne Neff, who played second base for the 1876 Cincinnati Reds. When the club returned for action, newspapers around the country each seemed to handle the situation differently. Some newspapers refused to carry the game results, other papers split their results while some kept them together. The change in ownership midway through the season did little to help. Neff's Red Stockings finished dead last in the six-team National League, and the club played so badly that the National League waited until December before deciding to incorporate their final statistics for the season.

Prior to the start of the 1878 season, Reds owner J. Wayne Neff created a season ticket plan where fans could buy a book of 20 coupons for $10. Also during the off-season, Neff reworked the entire Cincinnati roster. Only Charley Jones, Bobby Mitchell and Lip Pike were retained from the 1877 club. The off-season moves apparently worked because the Reds nearly won the National League pennant. Cincinnati managed to stay in first place for the first half of the season, but the club eventually faded down the stretch finishing second in the standings. The 1878 Reds had a .617 winning percentage, which would equal 95 wins in a modern day schedule.

After the great 1878 club, many felt that the 1879 Reds would be a viable contender for the National League pennant. However, due to poor defense the Reds never really challenged for the league championship. To make matters worse, the Red Stockings' clubhouse became polarized. Reds' stars Ross Barnes, Deacon White and Cal McVey each made $2000 per season while the rest of the team only made $800 apiece. Resentment arose from the rest of the team over the stars' attitudes and salaries.

Attendance was also terrible in 1879. When financial losses reached $10,000, Neff pulled the plug on the team. On September 24th, Neff informed his players that their services would not be required after October 1st. In the interim, the NL owners passed the first reserve rule in an attempt to curb out-of-control player salaries, as had been evidenced by Cincinnati's financial trouble. To top off a terrible year, the Cincinnati Reds officially resigned from the National League. Justus Thorner, the president of the semi-pro Cincinnati Star Base Ball Association, bought the troubled club on October 24th and applied to the National League for reinstatement. Reinstatement was approved on December 3, 1879.

Thorner's first order of business was to clean house. Rather than keep most of the players that contributed to the two successful seasons, Thorner simply replaced them, keeping only Deacon and Will White plus outfielder Blondy Purcell. Thorner also moved the Reds out of the Avenue Grounds to a new ballpark located on Bank Street. Avenue Grounds was considered just to far from downtown Cincinnati and the new site was much closer. In an effort to bring in additional revenues, Red Stockings owners rented out the Avenue Grounds for use by non-league teams when the Reds weren't playing. The rentals were mainly for Sunday games at which the sale of beer was permitted. Even though the club raked in large profits from these activities, the National League frowned upon it.

On the field, the 1880 Cincinnati Reds stumbled through the season, finishing a woeful 44 games behind the National League champion Chicago White Stockings. Not only did the team fail to make positive strides, but the board of directors of the team failed on all levels also. There was constant infighting amongst the members, and the presidency of the team changed three times before the close of the season. Justus Thorner was replaced by clothing manufacturer Nathan Menderson who was then replaced by insurance agent John Kennett.

The club eventually ceased to exist after a battle took place between the Cincinnati media and media from other League cities, such as Troy, Providence and Worcester. At a special league meeting in October of 1880, the other seven clubs passed a rule prohibiting the sale of alcohol at league parks, even at non-league games, and use of the park on Sundays. Failure to comply would mean termination of the franchise. These new rules were directed squarely toward Cincinnati. Unlike the other league cities whose population was rooted in old English puritanical leanings, Cincinnati consisted of a heavy beer-drinking German population. It was customary for Cincinnati's German immigrants to serve beer at all gatherings, and the revenue generated by beer sales was vital to the Reds. When Reds ownership refused to sign the pledge, Cincinnati was unceremoniously dumped to be replaced by the Detroit Wolverines for the 1881 season. Cincinnati's first National League team was disbanded.

19th Century Cincinnati Base Ball  •  Society For Cincinnati Sports Research  •  Contact Us
© 2011 - 2013