Reakirt Auditorium at Cincinnati Museum Center Cincinnati Union Terminal 1301 Western Avenue Cincinnati,, OH 45203 Driving Directions
The evolution of baseball and all professional sports took a huge leap in Cincinnati in 1869 when the Cincinnati Base Ball Club decided to support a professional team, signing all players to contracts and guaranteeing them a salary. A change in the rules in 1869 permitted clubs to employ professional players in for the first time, and the Cincinnati club was the only one in the country to take advantage of the opportunity.
The Cincinnati team, the Red Stockings, played coast to coast (the first team to ever do so), defeated every opponent (57-0), broadened the popularity of the game and established the superiority of the professional system. The first professional league formed two years later and professional team sports have been a part of the American landscape since.
A native of Richmond, Ind., Greg Rhodes is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up rooting for the Reds of the 1950s and 1960s, listening to the play-by-play and stories of former Reds announcer Waite Hoyt. Rhodes was named the executive director of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum when it opened in 2004 and served in that capacity until retiring from the position in July 2007. Rhodes has continued to serve as team historian and remains active in speaking engagements regarding the history of Reds baseball. He is the host of the Reds Hall of Fame highlight moments heard prior to each Reds game on the Reds Radio Network pregame show.
He has co-authored six books on the Cincinnati Reds, including Redleg Journal and Reds in Black and White, both winners of the The Sporting News-SABR Baseball Research Award. A former social studies teacher, Rhodes worked for the Cincinnati Historical Society from 1987-'92, helped plan the creation of the new history museum at the Museum Center, served as a former president of the board of Historic Southwest Ohio, been the chairman of the local chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and is past-president of the Cincinnati Red Stockings vintage baseball team.