There’s an important landmark occuring today in the Reds family – the 150th birthday of our very own Mr. Redlegs, which is totally not a birthday that I just made up because I wanted to write about something unrelated to Christmas this week. In honor of our moustachiest mascot, I present to you this unofficial biography of Mr. Redlegs.
On December 24, 1861, Hieronymous Mycroft Red was born to Thornycroft Byron Red and his young wife Estelle Balfour Red. The Reds never conceived another child, perhaps due in part to a difficulty in birthing that had always followed the family. (The family name was changed to Redlegs during the red-scare of 1875, there is no relation to either Mr. Red or Rosie Red.)
As a young man, he was often in conflict with his parents and extended family. While his father wished him to go into the family blogging business, young Hieronymous expressed a preference for slapstick comedy, posing for photographs, and foot races. However, the elder Mr. Redlegs eventually grew more and more comfortable with his only son’s career choices, and the rift in the family had been almost totally repaired when Mr. Redlegs graduated summa cum laude from Kent State University’s prestigious sports comedy program in 1883.
After graduation, Mr. Redlegs took his talents around the world, performing in circuses, between bouts in boxing matches, and occasionally during tea for cricket matches in the British empire. Yet, somehow, the jetsetting traveller found himself longing for home in the spring of 1890. There were actually two unrelated incidents in the summer of 1889 that precipitated this return to Ohio for Mr. Redlegs. First, his father contracted a rare case of Cranial Unravelling. While not ultimately serious, this mandated bed rest Mr. Redlegs Sr. for the better part of the year, requiring Hieronymous to come home and manage the household. Secondly, Luft “Red” Balloons, the largely forgotten mascot for the Reds during much of the 1880s, had resigned in disgrace, after a scandal erupted relating to his involvement in the (non-fatal) Great Seattle Fire of June 6, 1889. (The Reds were in town for an interleague game against the Seattle Mariners).
The Reds were more than happy to hire Mr. Redlegs, with his hometown connections and impressive resume, and the rest is history. Mr. Redlegs’ tenure with the Reds has lasted longer than any other individual’s, other than, of course, that of Zombie Harry Wright. He has seen this team win 45 World Series titles, endure 5 sex scandals, and attempt to take over the Cincinnati municipal government three times. All in all, it’s been a great 150 years, Mr. Redlegs, and here’s to 150 more.