How the Reds became the Redlegs

CINCINNATI — Since baseball exploded in popularity in the early 20th century, it has often intersected with politics. Most of the time, it’s been a positive association. But not so much for the Reds in the 1950s, when the club’s very name became a political problem. From 1953-59, the Reds

CINCINNATI — Since baseball exploded in popularity in the early 20th century, it has often intersected with politics. Most of the time, it’s been a positive association. But not so much for the Reds in the 1950s, when the club’s very name became a political problem.

From 1953-59, the Reds changed their franchise’s name to the Cincinnati Redlegs. The switch was entirely political.

A brief history lesson here: The Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball’s first professional team founded in 1869, became known as the Reds in 1881 after they were kicked out of the National League for selling beer, and reformed in the American Association. They remained as the Reds when readmitted to the NL in 1890.

Upon the end of World War II in 1945, American distrust of the communist Soviet Union and its global expansion began percolating. Joseph McCarthy, a senator from Wisconsin, exploited the fear of communism and the Soviets in 1950 by brandishing lists of potential communist infiltrators and sympathizers around the United States. By 1953, as the Korean War was waged, McCarthy had launched public hearings to investigate alleged subversion and espionage. It became known as…

Click here to read the full article at MLB - Reds >

Feedback