CINCINNATI RED STOCKINGS
Josiah Keck, a successful Cincinnati meat packer, bought a baseball team set to play in the newly established National League. Even though these senior circuit Red Stockings shared the same name as the legendary Red Stockings of yesteryear, the new version was less than successful. By the end of the 1876 campaign the Red Stockings were 9-56, setting a Major League record low .138 winning percentage that still stands to this date.
The 1877 Red Stockings made changes at the helm, at catcher, in the outfield, around the horn and nearly the entire starting rotation. Nothing seemed to help and they got off to yet a horrible start, losing eleven out of their first fourteen games. On June 16, 1877, Keck, against the will of the National League, disbanded the team.
A group of eight Cincinnati businessmen rushed to reassemble the franchise and less than three weeks later (July 3rd) the Red Stockings returned to the field. During their absence players were signed by other teams and after their return newspapers around the country each seemed to handle the situation differently. Some refusing to carry their results, other's split their results, some kept them together. The bad seemed to get worse.
1878, another year, another new team. Pitcher Bobby Mitchell, utility player Chub Sullivan, outfielders Charley Jones & Lip Pike returned, but every other player on the team was new to the club. A club that has something in common with the 1972 pennant winning Cincinnati Reds, they finished with a .617 winning percentage (37-23), finishing just four games behind Boston for the pennant!
On September 24th, 1879, just one year after barely missing the pennant, the players were informed that their services would not be required after October 1. Low attendance, poor play, more than ten thousand dollars of debt, rising salaries, are all to blame and the club folded once again.
Justus Thorner bought the franchise and in the December meetings they were reinstated once again. Thorner cleaned house, keeping only a handful of former players, and the complete overhaul resulted in yet another last place finish. The franchise was dumped and replaced by the Detroit Wolverines for the 1881 season.