Monday, December 14, 2009
1891: The year Cincinnati had two major league baseball teams
I came across this trailer for a film on the 1891 Kelly's Killers of the American Association. The story goes like this. In 1891, the Cincinnati Reds of the National League were bankrupt and sold to a group that wanted to move them to the American Association (the league the Red Stockings had played in after they were kicked out of the National League for playing games on Sundays and selling beer, only to be reinstated in 1890.) The National League threatened to put another franchise in Cincy if the Reds moved to the AA, so they stayed. But the AA was left with an uneven number of teams - seven - so they put another team in Cincy, also called the Reds, but people called them Kelly's Killers to distinguish between them and the National League Reds. Mike Kelly was the captain of the team.
The team played above their ability for awhile but faded out of contention in August and then disbanded. The AA replaced them with the Milwaukee Brewers, and the league folded at the end of the season.
Many people don't realize that the American Association was a Major League and that each season, a sort of World Series was played between it and the puritanical National League. Our Reds won the AA in 1882, the first year of the AA, playing at the same site as Crosley Field. It's a shame the Reds don't really recognize these years and this pennant.
An interesting note is that Kelly's Killer Frank Dwyer went on to pitch for the Reds for eight seasons. Dwyer is eighth on the all-time wins list for the Reds.
This documentary was supposed to come out in August. Has anyone seen it? I am trying to find out more information, but the website for the Society for Cincinnati Sports Research (SCSR), the documentary's producer, is sparse. They have a website devoted to Kelly's Killers, but there is nothing about the film.