|The Cincinnati Red Legs were the first professional baseball franchise. A professional team has been playing in the Queen City since at least 1876. The original Red Legs were famous as they traveled the Midwest beating virtually every team they came across.
The modern National League Reds have known their success as well, winning World Series titles in 1919, 1940, 1975, 1976, and 1990. Four times they won NL pennants:1939, 1961, 1970, and 1972. The best Reds player of the first twenty years of the 20th century was center fielder Edd Roush - a Hall of Fame member. Roush battled with the front office and refused to attend spring trainings, but he was a fan favorite. He won two batting titles with Cincinnati, and just missed winning another.
The Reds were unwittingly involved in the infamous Black Sox World Series of 1919, in which eight White Sox players conspired to throw games. Implicated in that scandal was Chicago star outfielder Joe Jackson. Several Reds players insisted that they would have beaten the Sox anyway, but history remembers the series for nothing else than the scandal.
In the 1930s the Reds returned to prominence, largely due to a solid pitching staff built around Paul Derringer and Bucky Walters. Offensively, beanpole first baseman Frank McCormick paced the attack. McCormick twice led the NL in hits.
The 1970s Cincinnati ball clubs were called The Big Red Machine, becoming the first NL team since the 1922 Giants to win back-to-back World Series titles. In 1990 they shocked the baseball world by not only beating the heavily favored (and defending champion) As, but sweeping them. Thus the Reds own the last two World Series sweeps by NL squads.
The greatest Reds players have been Roush, Dolf Luque, Ernie Lombardi, Derringer, Walters, Ted Kluszewski, Frank Robinson, Vada Pinson, Pete Rose, Tony Perez, Johnny Bench, Dave Concepcion, Joe Morgan, George Foster, Eric Davis, and Barry Larkin.
In 1975 the Reds played the Red Sox in one of the most exciting World Series in history. Several key figures from those two teams have since been inducted into the Hall of Fame, including Perez, Bench, Morgan, Sparky Anderson, Carl Yastrzemski, and Carlton Fisk.
Prior to the 2000 season Ken Griffey Jr. was acquired from the Mariners in a blockbuster deal. One of the best (and most popular) players in baseball, Griffey's father, Ken Sr. had been a star outfielder for the Big Red Machine teams of the 1970's. Griffey's arrival failed to spark the Reds, who finished a distant second in 2000 and got off to a terrible start in 2001 while Junior was injured.
In 2004 the Cincinnati Reds finished 4th in the 6-team National League Central Division with a 76-86 record.
In 2006 the Cincinnati Reds finished 3rd in the 6-team National League Central
Division with a 80-82 record.