Season-long tribute planned to pioneering 1869 Red Stockings

The Cincinnati Reds are fashionably celebrating the 150th anniversary of the professional baseball-pioneering Red Stockings team.

Joey Votto and crew will play games in 15 sets of throwback uniforms, including a navy blue and a red-pants “Palm Beach” version, during a season-long celebration of the city’s baseball heritage highlighted by the undefeated 1869 Cincinnati team that barnstormed coast to coast in post-Civil War America. Baseball’s first openly all-salaried club, the Red Stockings popularized eye-catching uniforms with knicker-style pants and bright red socks while elevating the sport with a variety of innovations.

“From a historical point of view and in the evolution of baseball as the national pastime, the 1869 Red Stockings were the cornerstone,” said Greg Rhodes, the Reds’ team historian and co-author of “The First Boys of Summer.” “It’s hard to imagine the modern game of baseball without the Red Stockings.”

All Major League Baseball teams will wear uniform patches marking 150 years throughout this season, and there will be special patches for caps for their Opening Day games, said Barbara McHugh, MLB senior vice president for marketing. There will also be season-long special content on MLB’s social-media channels, and McHugh said Commissioner Rob Manfred will be in Cincinnati for the March 28 Opening Day festivities and will take part in the annual pregame parade through the city.

The Reds, meanwhile, will have their own commemorative patches, with different versions for home and away uniforms.

And that’s just for starters.

“You don’t do it in one day or in one homestead or even in a month, so we’re really taking the entire season to celebrate that and tell you about the history a little piece at a time,” said Phil Castellini, the Reds’ chief operating officer.

The uniforms will represent historic events, such as baseball’s first night game in 1935, and the best Reds teams such as the 1976 “Big Red Machine” team that swept the postseason. The 1911 blue road uniforms and 1930s lightweight “Palm Beach” style with red pants are examples of unusual styles. There will be no 1869 throwbacks, because that early, bulky style could hinder players, Castellini said.

New Reds manager David Bell is looking forward to the throwbacks, particularly a 1956 version. That’s the year his grandfather Gus Bell helped Cincinnati tie the then-MLB record for home runs with 221.

“Wearing a uniform like that is an honor,” said Bell, whose father, Buddy, also played for the Reds. “You think about all the great players, the great people who wore those uniforms. It really means a lot.”

Cole seeks $13.5 million: Pitcher Gerrit Cole has gone to arbitration with the Astros, asking to be given $13.5 million rather than the team’s offer of $11,425,000.

Cole made $6.75 million last year, when he earned his second All-Star selection and went 15-5 with a 2.88 ERA. He earned $6.75 million.

Players and teams have split six decisions, including a victory for Houston shortstop Carlos Correa. The case of Cleveland pitcher Trevor Bauer is pending.

Briefly: The Pirates announced their minor-league contract with outfielder Melky Cabrera, who will report to major-league spring training. … Left-hander Zach Duke, 36, signed a $2 million, one-year deal with the Reds. … Brad Brach and the Cubs finalized a one-year contract that guarantees the reliever $3 million and could be worth $8 million over two seasons.

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