Re: Reds Attendance - A History
I just fininshed reading the aforementioned Jim Brosnan's diary of the 1961 season Pennant Race and he made some allusions to attendance in there as well. This entry is about a game played around the end of April or the 1st of May.
"On this cold Monday night with Philadelphia in town and the game being televised locally, nobody expected a crowd. (The Phils were a last place team that season) Gene Mauch, the Phillies' manager, claimed he had a young, exciting ball club but only two thousand people cared enough to come see them."
Here's another passage from, I'm guessing, Monday May 22nd and the Dodgers were the opponent.
"The crowd couldn't have numbered 4,500 and they were as quiet as our bats."
This is from June 20:
"With the Cardinals and Stan Musial in town, and a first place club with a five game winning streak to attract them, 32,000 fans packed Crosley Field."
A couple of days later with the Dodgers as the opponents again:
"The message chalked on the scoreboard at the clubhouse entrance read: 'We are sold out tonight and Sunday....'"
Tuesday, July 4 against the defending World Champs Pittsburgh:
"'Lousy fans. Where are they?' asked Zimmerman. 'Here we are leading the league!'
'It's a beautiful, sunny, holiday day. Would you go to a ball game?' I asked. 'Besides, the game's televised. They're probably all at picnics.'
'Where?' he asked.
'In the parking lot, stupid!'"
From later in the month with San Francisco in town:
"A brief but violent thunderstorm presented the Cincinnati front office with a chance to cancel the July 21 game. A sellout crowd was advised at six o'clock that there would be no game. At eight o'clock the skies cleared, the moon shone, and the Giants screamed."
August 3 with Philly in town again:
"The only thing that could have interrupted me was a blonde asking me to autograph a copy of my book (The Long Season). Most book readers have less pleasing smiles.
'That's all right, Broz,' said Jones. 'You go first class, man!'
'But, Road, I don't even know her!' I protested.
'Cool it. Thirty thousand people seen it.'"
August 20 with St. Louis in town:
"The Cardinals scored runs in the first, fourth, and fifth innings, while O'Toole griped about his support, the batters (complained) about Plate Umpire Venzon's decisions, and 27,000 fans drank beer. Three-two beer. Nauseating."
Last home game of the regular season with the Giants in town:
"For our final regularly scheduled game of the season at Crosley Field September 24, the S.R.O. sign was hung up early in the day."
1961 wasn't any different than any other season after that when the Reds weren't expected to do well and over the course of the summer people found out they had a good team. You are going to have to give fans here a damn good reason to come out in April and May if the team is just mediocre. The weather isn't always good and kids are still in school. There seems to be some parallels between 1961 and 1999. I think the Reds started off better in 1961 and were more consistent. Nevertheless both teams played their way into the hearts of Reds fans and gave them summers to remember.