Cincinnati Reds and Opening Day; A Brief History

Opening Day in Baseball is a time-honored tradition. For one town it is a special time of the year and was the start for the entire league.

Cincinnati is the birthplace of America’s favorite past time (baseball) as a professional sport. The Cincinnati Red Stockings, formed in 1867, were the first team to recruit and play nationally (in 1869). They went undefeated from the start of 1869 until June of 1870, holding the only Perfect Season in Professional baseball history by going 65–0 in 1869.

Later, in 1935, Cincinnati hosted the first Night game in MLB history. This happened on May 24th, 80 years ago (1935) at Crosley field against the Philadelphia Philles. The Cincinnati Reds went on to play a night game against all other National League teams that year. The night games increased attendance by 117%, despite a dismal season.

The Cincinnati Reds got the honor, starting consistently in 1970, of becoming the first team to play in MLB by starting a day earlier than all the other Home games. This was something that had happened intermittently since 1939, but had not been a consistent theme to the league until the Big Red Machine era. It is still kicked off by the Opening Day parade, which was a much smaller tradition until 1970, but stopped being the first game of MLB league play in 2007 (due in part to an 8 year agreement with ESPN signed in 2005, which was extended in 2012).

Opening day is still basically a holiday in Cincinnati, even if we no longer get things started for the entire league. If anyone from Major League Baseball reads this: Please consider working closely with the City of Cincinnati in restoring this tradition, generations of Baseball fans in Cincinnati will thank you for it. Moving the parade to Sunday (sometimes Easter Sunday) would be a sacrifice many of us would accept, just to have that coveted first game of league play.

Best of Luck this season, MLB.

Originally published at on April 6, 2015.