Cincinnati Kelly’s Killers

First Game Played April 8, 1891 Last Game Played August 17, 1891

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1891: When the American Association was founded in 1882, a big part of the league was the Cincinnati Reds, who were baseball’s first professional team. The Reds played in the AA between 1882-1889, after being expelled from the National League for selling beer. The Reds returned to the National League in 1890, but toyed with returning to the American Association in 1891. After plans fell through, the AA decided to add a new Cincinnati Reds franchise on the East End of the city. The new Cincinnati team was able to land one of baseball’s biggest stars Mike “King” Kelly, leading the newspapers to dub the team Kelly’s Killers. With the National League Reds already well established in Cincinnati, Kelly’s Killers had their work cut out for them in drawing fans. Looking for a place to play became on obstacle as they settled for a small portion inside Pendleton Park, which was dubbed East End Park. The park was not easy to get to, as many fans need to use Steamships to reach it. Cincinnati Kelly’s Killers started slowly as several players were bitten by the flu bug, while completion of their ballpark was delayed. At the time the National League outlawed games on Sunday, the American Association used this to their advantage and played. However, Cincinnati Blue Laws strictly at the time, which led to the entire team and players from the visiting squad spending time in jail. Despite the presence of future Hall of Famer King Kelly, the Killers struggled holding a record of 43-57 after 100 games in August. By then the team with its hard to reach ballpark was drowning in debt and decided to fold with 36 games left on their schedule. They had plans to return in 1892, but the American Association would fold following the season. The Milwaukee Brewers of the Western League filled in for the Kelly’s Killers, going 21-15 while not officially being part of the league. King Kelly would go on to play with the Boston Reds, before returning to the Boston Beaneaters were he spent a bulk of his career. Kelly was Cincinnati’s leading hitter with a .297 average, while Ed Crane led the team with 14 wins.

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Page created on June 14, 2017. Last updated on June 14, 2017 at 11:45 pm ET.