Winners of multiple World Series titles, the Cincinnati Reds are no strangers to championship success, but they have also experienced their fair share of controversy as well. In 1880, they were tossed out of the National League, due to their refusal to stop selling beer during games. In 1919, their world championship was marred by allegations that members of the opposing Chicago White Sox had conspired to throw the series. (The Reds maintained that they would have won regardless.) An organization that wants its fans to have fun and believes that they can beat any team at any time? It's no wonder that the team now plays its home games at a place called the Great American Ball Park.
The first-ever professional baseball team, Cincinnati was originally known as the Red Stockings. From 1869 to 1870, they rattled off a remarkable 81-game winning streak. While the brouhaha of 1880 would find the team playing in the American Association until 1889, the Reds were eventually reinstated and have been in the National League ever since. Following the Great Depression, the Reds won back-to-back National League pennants in 1939 and '40, with the latter season culminating in their second World Series championship.
In 1957, enthusiasm for the ball club reached a fever pitch. Ever-passionate Reds fans monopolized voting for the All-Star Game that year in an attempt to get all nine Reds starters into the mid-summer classic. The Commissioner's office intervened, but folks in Cincy remained steadfast. The Reds would win the pennant in 1961, but it was the arrival of the "Big Red Machine" in 1970 that would usher in a new age of Cincinnati baseball.
Led by Hall of Famers such as Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, and Tony Perez, the Reds of the '70s made appearances in four Fall Classics and walked away with the title in '75 and '76. All-Star Pete Rose was a catalyst for "Big Red" during this time, as he led the league in hits four times over the course of the decade. "Charlie Hustle" captivated fans in 1978 when he embarked on a 44-game hitting streak, and he would go on to be named manager in the '80s.
The Reds won the World Series in 1990 when the team went wire to wire in first place, and then cruised through the postseason to capture their fifth title. By this point, Cincinnati native Barry Larkinwas well on his way to a sterling career with the ball club. During his 19 seasons with the Reds, Larkin won nine Silver Sluggers and three Gold Gloves, made 12 All-Star teams, and nabbed the NL MVP in 1995. The shortstop would be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012.
These days, bleacher seats and four different mascots help give the Great American Ball Park one of the most electric atmospheres in baseball. Cincy's trademark Skyline Chili can be purchased at the stadium to give fans a warm treat on cold October nights as the righteous Reds do battle against their National League foes.