- 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 ofa 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.
The team above right is the 1954 Bavarian baseball team. The photos to the side l. to r. are: the 1944 Championship Slow Pitch Bockweg Bavarian team and the Stanley's Bavarian's baseball team. The bottom row is the 1955 Bavarian's Buckeye League championship team with jackets at the Bavarian Brewery (with a large "Man that satisfies..." wall poster), and the 1950 championship Stanley's Bavarian team. It seems that the Stanley Bavarian teams played in the late 1940s, and then in the early 1950s, the Stanley sponsorship was dropped. They were then just sponsored by Bavarian Brewing Co. and known as Bavarian's.
Bavarian's Baseball Schedule
A shirt pocket size schedule for the Cincinnati Reds was made for Bavarian's Old Style Beer. Shown on the left is one from 1949. It provided a seating diagram Reds home stadium, Crosley Field, along with a monthly schedule of the games. Shown are just a couple of the monthly schedules. In 1950, the year was added to the front of the schedule and the contents were similar. However, someone added the Red's roster inside the front cover for this year. Similar schedules were likely made for Bavarian's Old Style Beer for other years. Besides these schedules, Bavarian's also had ads in the Programs sold at the stadium, Bavarian's Beer was served at the games and Bavarian sponsored radio broadcasts about baseball.
The home field for the Reds, Crosley Field, existed for 86 1/2 seasons, from 1884 until mid-year 1970, when they moved to Riverfront Stadium. It had some historical achievements. Games were played here during the infamous 1919 World Series when the Reds won over the Chicago Cubs. It was the first Major League stadium where baseball games were played under lights. This occurred during the Great Depression in 1935 when the lights were turned on remotely by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The site now is now improved with industrial buildings, but the site is identified by the wall painting shown on the right.
To commemorate Crosley Field, the above painting is on the side of an building that was constructed on the site of Crosley Field. Please note that the sign with Bavarian's Beer sign is the largest one.
Association with Red's Players
It appears by being a sponsor of a program of sport programs on various radio stations, Bavarian was associated at times with some of the Reds players. One was an All-Star player for the Red's, Ewell Blackwell. Shown below is a photo with Ewell in the middle, a WSAI sports broadcaster on the left, and the owners of Bavarian, the Schott Family, with Lou (far left), and on the far right, Bill (Wm. R.) and Will (Wm. C.). It was taken on April 14, 1947, the start of Ewell's best year in baseball, winning 22 games along with 16 complete games. Beside the photo below is a 1952 Topps Reprint baseball card, showing Ewell's picture and stats. Ewell, a/k/a "The Whip," is one of only a dozen players conducted into the Red's Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, due to WWII and some illnesses, Ewell would have had an even more accomplished career. For more information about Ewell, please click here.
BAVARIAN BEER BOWLING TEAMS
Baseball isn't exactly a year round sport in Ohio and Kentucky. An alternative indoor activity during those winter months in these states, as it is in most northern states, is bowling. Bowling is extremely popular in Cincinnati and is home of the Hoinke Classic, which began in 1943. It's a major bowling tournament that attracts bowlers from around the country and even foreign countries. Bavarian sponsored bowling teams with employees who competed in league play. Shown below are three bowling shirts that range from the early mid 1950s to the early 1960s. These shirts and manual below belonged to one of Bavarian's employees who had a successful bowling team, Joe Schmeh. They were allowed to be photographed by his son, Gary Schmeh. (Please see Patches/Pins for and Post WWII for a photo of Joe as a Bavarian's Delivery Driver and Salesman. ) The scores for Bavarian's bowling teams would be posted after each game in the local papers, as it was for the Bavarian's baseball team.
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 Embasy Suites Hotel in Covington, KY. This was the former site of Federal Ball Park.
The background photo is a former home of the Cincinnati Reds, Crosley Field, taken in 1958.