July 4, 1969: The famous nickname “The Big Red Machine” is used for the first time, as the Reds defeat the Dodgers 4-1, in LA. The name was placed in print by LA Herald Examiner reporter Bob Hunter, who in his account of the game which appeared in the July 5th edition, wrote, … Bristol, the boy manager of the Big Red Machine, took (Tony Cloninger) out with two on and one down in the ninth.” Previously, Hunter had called the Reds, “The Big Red Team” in articles printed in the paper on April 8 and April 24.
It seems appropriate that the BRM nickname was invented on the 4th of July during the 100th anniversary season of the 1869 Reds Stockings. The first Cincinnati writer to user the nickname was Bob Hertzel of the Cincinnati Enquirer, in his front page story on the Reds on August 3, after the 19-17 win over the Phillies; “The Big Red Machine is what they call it and today they are also calling something else: the No. 1 team in the Western Division of the NL.” The nicknamed received national recognition when the passage “Dave Bristol calls his team the Big Red Machine..” appeared in the August 18, 1969 edition of Sports Illustrated.
All “Reds trivia” posts come from Greg Rhodes and John Snyder’s fabulous book, “Redleg Journal” (see link for purchasing) and are used with Greg’s permission.
Thanks again to Greg Rhodes for permission to use his material.