Hello! Today is October 8, 1940 and my name is Ernie Lombardi. I play Catcher for the Reds. I am just relaxing in this great seat at Crosley Field in Cincinnati. I have seen a lot of things here at this beautiful stadium in the heart of Cincinnati, but in my 9 years with the Reds, nothing has been greater than today. Today was a heck of a day for this stadium for the Reds and the great fans of Cincinnati. Today we beat the Detroit Tigers 2-1 and won Game 7 of the World Series.
Last year, we had a great season and also won the National League pennant. We made it to the World Series but lost the first two games at Yankee Stadium. We travelled home here to Cincinnati and Crosley Field where we thought we could turn things around. Unfortunately, we lost the final two games and the Series to a tough Yankee team.
This year’s World Series was a hard-fought battle. That Tiger team was loaded with talent, including that great hitter Hank Greenberg! Bobo Newsom pitched great and won 2 games for them, but we were able to beat him today. I was a little banged up for this series, but Jimmie Wilson filled in great at Catcher. This Reds team is tough and they sure came through today!
Beautiful Crosley Field has been my home for nine years and it is a great place to play. The fans here are fantastic and I have had a good run here as Catcher for the Reds. I was league MVP in 1938 and that same year we hosted the All-Star game. So far, I have been lucky enough to be one of those All-Stars 5 times. I once hit a home run out of Crosley that landed in the back of a pick-up truck. I am told that the truck travelled another 30 miles and those baseball writers still call it ‘the longest home run in history’.
The stadium was called ‘Redland Field’ when I first got here in 1932, but the name changed to Crosley in 1934. We had some pretty bad teams back in those days, but after Mr. Crosley bought the team, things began to change. They tell me that there has been baseball here on the corner of Findlay and Western since 1880. First was League Park, but it burned in 1901. Then the Palace of the Fans was built in 1902, but it was also damaged by fire in 1911. They built this great ballpark in 1912. It is one of the classic steel and concrete ballparks constructed during the ballpark boom era of 1909–1923.
The stadium has what they call ‘The Terrace’ in Left Field. The field rises at an angle to meet the outfield wall. Most teams really don’t like this, but I am a Catcher so I don’t really mind. Last year, the upper decks were extended down the first and third base lines. This puts many more fans in seats just like the one that I am sitting in.
We have also had some other great events and some not so great events here in Cincinnati. The first night game in the major leagues happened here on May 24th, 1935. President Roosevelt even pushed the button from the White House and before you know it we were playing under the lights. That flood in 1937 was not so great though. The river was a record setter and it flooded Crosley Field. It was so deep that my teammate Lee Grissom floated a rowboat right over the outfield wall. Luckily, this happened in January.
What a year it has been. I hope to spend a few more in this great ballpark playing for the Reds. Well, you can go about your business, I am just going to sit here and relax a bit longer. Thanks for stopping by and have a great evening!
Some fun facts about Crosley Field:
Alternate name: Redland Field 1912-1934
Location: Findlay Street & Dalton Avenue – Cincinnati, OH Baseball Team: Cincinnati Reds
Negro League Teams: Cuban Stars, Cincinnati Tigers, Cincinnati Clowns
First Game: April 11, 1912 (Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs) Last Game: June 24, 1970
Building Cost: $225,000 ($6,039,927.84 in 2020)
Architect: Harry Hake Original Capacity: 20,696
Final Capacity: 29,488
Notes: Crosley Field was the site of the first MLB night game on May 24, 1935
2 All Star Games: 1938 & 1953
4 World Series: 1919, 1939, 1940 and 1961