The Reds will wear the jersey at selected games. “We’ll use it throughout the season at home games, with exact dates not determined,” said Phil Castellini, Reds chief operating officer. “We might also do it on the road, for example, if we’re in Milwaukee at the same time they’re doing their Hispanic Heritage night.”
This jersey will only reflect a uniform change and not a name change. The franchise has been known by different names in its history including: the Red Stockings (19th century) and the Redlegs (1953-60).
The team officially became the Redlegs in April, 1953 because of the fear of Communism in the 1950s where the organization did not want to be associated with the “reds” as communists were derogatorily referred to. There was great fear that the headline “Reds beat the Yanks” would have a denigrating effect on the American psyche.
In an AP article of April 9, 1953 entitled “Red Stockings Become Redlegs in Cincinnati”, the team officially announced that Gabe Paul, the team’s GM, preferred the team to be called “the Redlegs.” The article continued to point out that fans and writers hold to the habit calling them “the Reds.”
The story closed by stating, “The political significance of the word “Reds” these days and its effect on the change was not discussed by management.”
Fortunately, Cincy did not reach the World Series until 1961, which they lost to New York so that headline writers could comfortably declare, “The Yankees defeat the Red Manace!”
The Redlegs made another change with an announcement in February, 1956 that their uniforms would be the first in the majors to be completely made of elastic knit nylon and durene. That season they also rolled out the vest uniform that is most prominently associated with showing off Ted Kluszewski‘s muscles.