Cincinnati and the Big Red Machine

Robert Walker, Author Indiana University Press $19.95 (180p) ISBN 978-0-253-21370-9
This hypnotic, historical lament for the ``Good Old Days'' focuses on Cincinnatithe Queen City, the River Cityand the Big Red Machinethe Cincinnati Reds baseball team, particularly during the '70s when the Reds won two consecutive World Series. ``Town ball'' came to Cincinnati in 1860, and after the Civil War, baseball grew in popularity. ``Gentlemanly deportment'' was replaced by ``unerring play,'' and baseball became a business. Cincinnati fielded the first ``openly professional team,'' the 1869 Red Stockings. The Reds claim credit for the appointment of ``the first reporter to travel with a ballclub, and the first policy of publishing the results of games on a daily basis,'' and for the introduction of night baseball to the major leagues. In the form of the Reds, baseball gave the city civic pride and financial income, and in 1970 when Riverfront Stadium was opened, a likely case for the conjunction of professional sport and urban renewal was made. Repeatedly, the author suggests that the conservative, old-fashioned Reds represent Cincinnati in attitude, appearance and style. Extensive interviews with players, owners, managers and other germane parties are sprinkled generously throughout. All in all, this is the history of a surprisingly fascinating symbiosis, of as much interest to social historians as to baseball fans. Walker ( American Society , etc.) is a professor of American Civilization at George Washington University. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1988
Release date: 07/01/1988
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