The original Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball's first all-professional team, was founded as an amateur club in 1863 and became fully professional in 1869. The Red Stockings won 130 straight games between 1869 and 1870. Crosley Field became the host of the first night game in 1935. Johnny Vander Meer became the only pitcher in major league history to throw back-to-back no-hitters in 1938.
Starting in the early 1960s, the Reds' farm system began producing a series of future stars, such as Jim Maloney, Pete Rose, Tony Pérez, Johnny Bench, Lee May, Tommy Helms, Bernie Carbo, Hal McRae, Dave Concepcion, and Gary Nolan. The Reds' final game at Crosley Field, home to more than 4,500 baseball games, was played on June 24, 1970, a 5-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants. In its place, a new stadium and a new Reds dynasty emerged. The Reds embarked upon a decade of excellence, with a team that came to be known as "The Big Red Machine."
Great American Ball Park opened on March 28, 2003. Among its many features is a 35' (11 m) wide break in the stands between home plate and third base called "The Gap," which is bridged by concourses on each level. Aligned with Sycamore Street, it provides views into the stadium from downtown and out to the skyline from within the park. In right-center field, two riverboat-inspired smokestacks flashlights, emit smoke and launch fireworks to incite or respond to the home team's efforts. When the Reds strike out a batter, smoke blows out of the stacks. When the Reds hit a home run, fireworks are launched from the stacks.
The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum is home to 71 inductees, which include players, managers, announcers, executives, and other contributors to the Reds' legacy.
The Hall recently opened a Pete Rose Exhibit, focusing on the playing career of baseball's all-time hits leader. Artifacts include the bat and ball from hit 4192; balls from hits leading up to 4192; artifacts from the Crosley and Riverfront/Cinergy years; gloves that Pete wore playing outfield, 2nd base, 3rd base, and 1st base; a uniform shirt from Pete's High School (Western Hills - also the alma mater of major leaguers Don Zimmer, Eddie Brinkman, Russ Nixon, and others); baseball cards from Pete's career; Sports Illustrated covers of Pete; the "wall of balls" representing all 4256 of Pete's hits; and other items.