Today marks the 50th anniversary of the final game ever played at Crosley Field. But when the ballpark first opened up it wasn’t Crosley Field, it was Redland Field and it opened up in April of 1912. 26,336 fanatics shows up to celebrate opening day at the new ballpark and watched the Cincinnati Reds come from behind to beat the Chicago Cubs, 10-6.
First Game Fun Facts
Now, we just learned that the Reds beat the Cubs that day, but let’s talk about some other fun facts from that game. Baseball was a bit different in 1912 than it is today (for example, THEY ACTUALLY PLAYED BASEBALL). During the first game played at Redland Field there were SEVEN triples hit in the game – four by Cincinnati and three by Chicago.
The game lasted just 2:23, which would seem like an incredibly fast game today, but was actually the Reds 10th longest game of the year. Only one game in 1912 played by Cincinnati was more than 2:40 – a 13-inning win over St. Louis on May 1st. The shortest game of the year was on September 12th in the first game of a double header against Brooklyn that was played in 1:10.
The Final Game at Crosley Field
June 24, 1970. The San Francisco Giants were in town to take on the Cincinnati Reds. Much like the first game at the ballpark, a comeback was in store for the hometown team. Trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the 8th inning the Reds got back-to-back solo home runs from Johnny Bench and Lee May to take the league, one they’d hold onto, for the win.
Final Game Fun Facts
Hall of Famer Juan Marichal started for San Francisco and he also gave up those home runs in the 8th inning to take the loss. Marichal missed being named an All-Star for the first time since 1961 that season. He made the team again in 1971, though that was for the 10th and final time in his outstanding career.
The game featured five future Hall of Famers. Marichal was joined by Willie McCovey who started the game at first base, and Willie Mays out in center field. On the Reds side it was Johnny Bench, who went 3-4 on the day, and Tony Perez who got the start at third base. Perez went 0-4 that day, but finished the game hitting .357/.437/.696 on the year to that point.
Bobby Bonds stole the only bag of the game – his 23rd of the season. He’s eventually steal 48 on the season and go on to swipe 461 in his career.
There were 28,027 fans at the game and they watched Cincinnati put a win in the books in 2:38.