- Baseball & Bowling
SPONSORSHIPS OF ATHLETIC TEAMS BY BAVARIAN BREWING CO.
The Tri-State area of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana has had a long tradition of sports. To support Greater Cincinnati's interests in particularly baseball and bowling and promote its beer, Bavarian sponsored amateur teams in these athletic endeavors. This was also done mostly by the other breweries, but also some cafes and other businesses. The scores and league rankings for these baseball and bowling teams would be posted in the local papers and were followed by many local area residents. These teams were not only competitive by nature, but they also wanted to perform well for the brewery or other entity that was supporting them. And, the sponsoring company also didn't want a team that didn't perform well. The area also was very proud of the Cincinnati Reds, which Bavarian and some other brewers also sponsored. However, first it's helpful to have some understanding of the passion for baseball in the city where Bavarian was located, Covington, KY, and the early involvement Bavarian had with its city's professional baseball team - the Blue Sox.
In Northern Kentucky
The Cincinnati area, including the city across the Ohio River, Covington, KY, has been a bedrock of baseball. People from Covington could use the Roebling Suspension Bridge (see The Beginnings) via a street car to easily cross the river to watch the Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first professional baseball team in the late 1860's. After the Red Stockings disbanded in 1870, the Covington Stars were formed along with another team in Ludlow. In 1875 Cincinnati formed the Reds and played teams in Covington and Ludlow, attracting large crowds. However, the following year in 1876, the Reds were admitted to the National League with the "five mile rule." This prohibited pro teams from playing in Covington and Ludlow, even if they were in different states. It caused the KY teams to disband. However, another pro-baseball team was formed for a short time called in the 1880's called the Kentons.
A Covington Blue Sox Video
By Cam Miller
The Blue Sox played at Federal Field, a/k/a Riverbreeze Park, located off south of Second Street between Scott and Madison streets. The ballpark had a capacity of 6,000, but the outfield depths were quite short, from 194 feet in right to 267 feet in center. As the season entered the summer, attendance especially during the weekdays, declined. With a population of 55,000 at that time, Covington simply wasn't large enough to support a professional baseball team. The Blue Sox moved to Kansas City during its first year at the end of June, and were renamed the Packers. The Federal League was short lived dissolving in 1915.
Covington Blue Sox
The video above is a documentary briefly mentions the Covington Stars mentioned above, but is primarily about the Covington Blue Sox. They were formed in 1913 by joining the new pro-baseball Federal League. William Riedlin, the owner of Bavarian Brewing Co., was a Director and major stockholder in team. The brewery was a sponsor of the Blue Sox with a stadium billboard for Bavarian Beer. (See the picture below left.) The season started with a sellout crowd home game on May 6th and much enthusiasm. There was even a song made in their honor. Please select the audio on the side and the images below.
Ordinarily, the main baseball field in Covington was Covington Ball Park, which existed from 1900 to 1958. The Bavarian team played some of their games at this ballpark. It was also a field used by the 1939 World Campion Nick Carrs Covington Boosters. Illustrations of the field and the noted team below were taken from illustrations on the Roebling Murals, located on the flood wall next to the Embassy Suites Hotel in Covington, KY. This was the former site of Federal Ball Park.
Starting with the brewery founder and owner, William Riedlin, Bavarian continued to be very committed to baseball. Ordinarily, For decades Bavarian sponsored an amateur / semi-pro team that played in the Buckeye League. It was one of the best teams in the league and won various championships. A photo of the 1956 team, along with a jersey, jacket and mit used in the 1950's, are shown on the side and below.
The Cincinnati Reds
The brewer was a long time sponsor and supporter of the Cincinnati Redlegs, now known as the Reds, selling beer, advertising at Crosley Field on a billboard and in programs, besides sponsoring baseball radio broadcasts. (See Ads 1946-1956 and 1957-1966 and the background of this page for an image of Crosley Field and a Bavarian's billboard sign.) Bavarian's also published a Reds baseball schedule in a convenient small size, as shown below.