I have a request, you guys, all the way from Hhhhhhavvvaaaahhhhhd, as if you needed further confirmation that I am in fact a great big deal. A graduate student is seeking information about the Reds temporarily changing the team name to the Redlegs in the 1950’s. He was researching local reaction to the issue, which led of course to Ruth Lyons. He stumbled upon this post here in our gentle flyover state site.

He says that our Miss Lyons objected to the name change, and wanted to know what I knew about that. Apparently Ruth Lyons and The 50/50 Club attracted the attention of the Ohio Un-American Activities Committee by doing so.

Do you any of you remember any of this? Speak up in the comments if so, comrades.

Bob Braun and Bob Braun’s hair, undercover Communists. I would imagine that if there actually was such an investigation, it took precisely five minutes, because there was no better representation of big bouncy American capitalism in the history of Cincinnati than Ruth Lyons.

I sent our Boston guest a 2500 word reply telling him that no, this was the first I’d heard about such an event.  What I did in the other 2499 words was discuss the fact that Ruth Lyons kept her mouth shut about nothing else on her planet but her personal politics. Imagine a talk show host pulling an outrageous stunt like this in 2019. She’d be destroyed in a single Twitter news cycle. She’d be run right out of the local entertainment business on a cheese coney.

From what I know of Ruth Lyons, if she thought that temporarily renaming the Reds as the Redlegs was stupid, she said so for no other reason than she thought it was stupid. She probably would have joined Marty Brennaman in his categorization of Hamilton County’s stance regarding “And this one belongs to the Reds” placed on the side of GABP as “ridiculous.”

“My definition of honesty,” she wrote in a three-page letter to a disgruntled viewer demanding that she out herself as either a Democrat or Republican, “includes the importance of preserving the dignity of the individual, in regard to political interpretation, religious belief, the right to a personal approach to solve one’s own problems, and assist those less fortunate than oneself; in short, to live as much as possible by the ‘Golden Rule,’ not spasmodically, but daily.” In other words:  Step off.

If mic-dropping were a thing in 1952, she would have clattered her bouquet-covered one to the floor with that. Ruth Lyons’ diligence in trusting the intelligence of “her ladies,” as she called them, is what helped her build a sterling reputation as a no-nonsense dispenser of Opinions, but Opinions which were independently formed.

This is the kind of reputation Ruth Lyons earned and weilded– a sterling one. A hard-won one which she applied in charitable and civic causes as she saw fit.

And to everyone’s everlasting benefit. Ruth Lyons drew on her public credit to help save the Reds in the 1960s. As one of the founding members of the Rosie Reds, she helped rescue the team from a fate worse than last place; rumor had it the franchise was on the move. We all know how that turned out.

I wish I had this woman’s self-discipline. I wish most of the population did. Imagine how much less we’d despise each other. We’d have so much more energy for more important things, like making pudding, and ridding the world of JarJar Binks merchandise. Bless this woman’s memory.

Bless her occasionally pursed lips.

****

This is, of course, the optimum moment to announce that I’m shutting up even less. Some of you have honored me with the request to write on the Reds more often. As I mentioned yesterday, that’s now happening at Game Day Therapy, where I write every day the Reds play and three times a week in the off season. It’s a Patreon site, but the first three posts are unlocked for Redleg Nation readers. For far less than the cost of one GABP beer a month, you can support me in my English majorness.

Thank you for giving me the audacity to even think I could do such a thing.

UPDATE: I see in the comments there has been objection to the “commercial nature” of the final paragraph in this post and the practice of paying to read websites in general. I’ll repost my reply here:

The only reason I began Game Day Therapy is that kind and encouraging people here mentioned they would buy my second book and that I should pass the hat so I can concentrate on my writing more. So I’m honestly shocked at negative reactions to beginning such a venture, because it’s what people told me they wanted.

We writers at RN are not paid for our work here. We all have day jobs. The ads you see pay for the maintenance of the site alone.

I have earned a grand total of $64.00 at BlondeChampagne.com over a course of four years via advertising. I can’t afford to spend much time on it. For a site to make money, it needs monster numbers and a rush of popup and in-text ads. Your nearest news or major network site is more ads than copy for a reason. Patreon is a way for us creators to concentrate on our work and work freely without worrying about sponsor influence or threats– and even then, very few users make a full-time living on it.

Thanks for reading.

29 Responses

  1. jreis

    thank you Mary Beth. I was a kid at the time and I remember my teachers in school generally agreeing with the decision to change our name to redlegs. I remember my father and my friends fathers all believing it was a stupid idea though, but like Ruth Lyons, never really gave a reason.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Thanks for sharing that. I enjoy hearing what the reaction was at the time.

  2. TR

    At the time, I thought Redlegs was a good appellation since it directly referred back to the original Cincinnati baseball franchise of the Red Stockings.

  3. Seat101

    I’m sad that another great site is linking to Patreon. I still do PayPal for reds minor leagues.

    Edited: Seat, your link gets into the political aspect of things, and I’m just not going to let the comments section even think it’s going to go down that road. I hope you understand. – Doug

    • Seat101

      I understand. They are your blogs. I have not brought politics into either of your sites before this. Nor have I responded to any.

      I figured since I was responding to the commercial aspect of this post rather than the baseball post it would be acceptable.

      Nonetheless I admire and enjoy your sites too much to wish to see politics tear it apart.

      It was a mistake. I apologize.

      When you get some free time, could you please explain the difference between a sprain in a tear?

      • Doug Gray

        There’s no difference between a sprain and a tear. A sprain is a tear. A sprain involves ligaments. A strain, which often gets used in place of the word sprain (and the other way around), is a stretching/tearing of a muscle or tendon. They are similar, but they are also different.

        I understand the linking and what you were attempting to do. But I think we both understand the road that it could lead down, and I just don’t want to have to worry about that one.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Hello, Seat. I missed your original comment, but I take it that you objected to me mentioning and linking to a paywalled site.

      First, thank you very much for supporting Doug’s important work. The only reason I began Game Day Therapy is that the kind and encouraging people here mentioned they would buy my second book and that I should pass the hat so I can concentrate on my writing more. So I’m honestly shocked at the negative reaction here, because it’s what people told me they wanted.

      We writers at RN are not paid for our work here. We all have day jobs. The ads you see pay for the maintenance of the site alone.

      I have earned a grand total of $64.00 at BlondeChampagne.com over a course of four years via advertising. I can’t afford to spend much time on it. For a site to make money, it needs monster numbers and a rush of popup and in-text ads. Your nearest news or major network site is more ads than copy for a reason. Patreon is a way for us creators to concentrate on our work and work freely without worrying about sponsor influence or threats– and even then, very few users make a full-time living on it.

      Thanks for reading.

      • Seat101

        Ashley, please understand I meant no risk disrespect to you. I enjoy and respect your writing very much and I understand you do it out of love and not for money. I wish you nothing but the best.

        In fact, I would be very happy to support you on PayPal. Is that an option?

        Most importantly I enjoy your writing very much. Your precaps are a treat. You’re in game repartée is a blast.

        Can we still be friends?

      • Mary Beth Ellis

        We never stopped being friends! No offense taken at all, just offering some background.
        Yes, PayPal is an option: https://www.patreon.com/join/gamedaytherapy?

        Either select a tier and choose PayPal as a payment option, or scroll down to “Make a Custom Pledge” and follow the prompts from there. If you make a custom pledge, please message me an address where I can (gently) throw my first book at you.

        I greatly appreciate your kind words and presence here, whether you join us at Game Day Therapy or not. Go Reds.

  4. Jim Walker

    Ruth said what she believed and let the chips falls where they would. I think she believed to her core and was guided by those high sounding principles in the Declaration of Independence and that they applied to everyone regardless of who they were, where they came from or what they believed.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      She was an independent voice to be treasured. I’m sad I missed her.

  5. Joe Shaw

    My Grandma, who had an unabashed THING for Big Klu back in the day, used to jokingly say that their official name was The Redlegs because, as she put it, “Some ‘people’ think having a preference for a color makes you a Commie.”

    Grandma never minced her words.

    Her daughters – my mom and her 5 sisters, all of whom had an unabashed THING for John Franco’s hindquarters (not John Franco his owneself. Just his hindquarters) – all remember her having said the same thing, and that the idea was stupid.

    No one can corroborate anything, though. Mostly because they have a THING for Joey Votto now.

    Grandma may never have minced her words, but that doesn’t mean you can quote them here. No cursing.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      It’s strange that I can’t find anyone to collaborate what Miss Lyons may or may not have said on the air. She was unnerved by Paul Dixon’s posthumous reruns, though, and very few recordings of her show survive.

  6. daytonnati

    I recall (barely) that, in Dayton, this “Reds v. Redlegs” conspiracy seemed to be linked with the belief that Yellow Springs was Ground Zero in the coming Communist takeover. I remember my Dad taking the family on a Sunday drive out to Antioch and concluding that there wasn’t anything to worry about. I felt safer. 🙂

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Antioch looks like a cute little town– I’ve only driven through it. I was forbidden to so much as apply to the college there, though, because “that place is crazy.” Worked out for me!

    • Jim Walker

      A decade or so ago my wife and I were into riding the bike trails of Greene County. Cycling into Yellow Springs on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon was somewhat akin to riding into a time warp and emerging back into the 19070’s. But sadly then we had to turn around and go back where we came from in 2000’s

    • greenmtred

      I grew up in Yellow Springs, and think it’s likely that my home town was a factor in the name change–a passive way to stop the spread of Communism. Walking downtown on a weekend day, with a stream of tourists in cars viewing the Other gave me insight into how animals in the zoo must feel. I’m an Antioch grad, Mary Beth, but can’t weigh in on its craziness rating. Lots of distinguished grads–excluding me.

  7. Eric Reed

    I actually just looked up Bob Braun’s Wikipedia article to see if there was some sinister side of him (or his hair) that I didn’t know about.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      That man did not age. That was the sinister part.

  8. Scott C

    I was still a child at the time, but I do remember Bob Braun when I lived in Cincinnati during my grad school days. Bob was certainly no communist but his hair might have been.
    MBE, I enjoy your writing tremendously, I hate to pay to read websites but I might just have to do it this time.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I appreciate the kind sentiment. I have a vague memory of Bob Braun and his hair coming out from a grey curtain on his afternoon TV show, but that’s about it.

      Thank you very much for considering visiting me at Game Day Therapy. And thank you for supporting Doug’s important work.

      As to paying to read websites, I’ll just repeat my earlier comment to Seat…

      The only reason I began Game Day Therapy is that the kind and encouraging people here mentioned they would buy my second book and that I should pass the hat so I can concentrate on my writing more. So I’m honestly shocked at the negative reaction, because it’s what people told me they wanted.

      We writers at RN are not paid. We all work day jobs. The small ads you see here pay for the maintenance of the site alone.

      I have earned a grand total of $64.00 at BlondeChampagne.com over a course of four years via advertising. I can’t afford to spend much time on it. For a site to make money, it needs monster numbers and a rush of popup and in-text ads. Your nearest news or major network site is more ads than copy. Patreon is a way for us creators to concentrate on our work, and even then, very few make a full-time living on it.

  9. Seat101

    Why does my AutoCorrect call you “Ashley”?