7A. ATHLETIC SPONSORSHIPS
- 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its beer, Bavarian sponsored amateur teams in these athletic endeavors, especially shortly after Prohibition was repealed in the late 1930s. 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 supported. The following provides some description of the teams that Bavarian Brewing Co. sponsored.
Northern Kentucky Baseball
Ordinarily, the main baseball field in Covington was Covington Ball Park, which existed from 1900 to 1958. The Bavarian semi-pro teams in the Buckeye League played some of their games at this ballpark. This league was essentially similar to Minor League A baseball, before Major League Baseball had the extensive level of minor leagues and teams, which exist today. During the late 1940s and early 1950s some games would have up to a few thousand people in attendance. Occasionally some teams occasionally included players that had played, or would play, in the majors. Bavarian continued to support its semi-pro team into the early 1960s. The Covington Ball Park 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. These murals are located next to the former site of Federal Ball Park used for the Covington Blue Sox that were partly owned by William Riedlin with Bavarian, and that were in the professional Federal League in 1913. (See 4B. Community Involvement.)
Beginning with the brewery founder and owner, William Riedlin, Bavarian continued to be very committed to baseball. The Stanley Bavarian and Bavarian's teams that were co-sponsored and sponsored by Bavarian Brewing Company had one of the best teams in the Buckeye League and won various championships. A photo of a jersey, jacket and mitt used in the 1950's, are shown on the side and below. The photo in the bottom right is the 1954 Bavarian baseball team.
The photos to the side, left to right, 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. Afterwards, the Stanley sponsorship was dropped and Bavarian Brewing Co. sponsored a team in the Buckeye League just known as Bavarian's.
On the left is a scoreboard made around 1956 for Bavarian's by Kay Inc. in NYC. It could be displayed in a tavern and allow some of the patrons to follow the game on TV or radio and insert the scores as the game developed. It would then allow someone coming into the tavern during or after the game to get caught up with the score. It was not dedicated to a particular team, so that it could be used with any local or regional teams as well as the Cincinnati Reds.
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.
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 on the side 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.
Below the photo described above, 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.