Visitors to Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati may find a delightful surprise beyond the baseball game that will be played on the field. The venue is host to a museum that stands out as the best team-operated Hall of Fame in professional sports.
The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum is a can’t-miss experience if you have tickets for a Reds game. Or even if you don’t.
Currently, according to Google Reviews, the museum has a 4.8 rating out of 5. It’s a delightful experience for fans of baseball, or anyone interested in the history of Cincinnati, which has a special connection to the National Pastime.
What Is The Reds Hall of Fame and Museum?
The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum is operated by the Cincinnati Reds and employs a full-time curatorial staff. It’s easily the best museum of its type in North American sports that is dedicated to one team.
Any Reds fan will go crazy visiting the museum.
The Hall of Fame was established in 1958 as a way to honor people important to baseball’s oldest franchise, but it didn’t have a home until the late 1960s when the team hung plaques at Crosley Field honoring the men inducted. A “museum” opened in 2004, in a 15,000-square-foot space adjacent to Great American Ball Park. There are two floors of exhibits and a gallery honoring the 81 inductees (through 2021).
The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum is open during all home games, and on non-game days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a fee. The cost is $12 dollars for adults. Seniors and students get a discount. Kids under 12 get in free, and veterans or active duty military can get in free with ID.
Visitors can also join a museum membership program to help support the institution, which strives to preserve the history of the franchise and educate people through baseball.
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Exhibits At The Reds Museum
The centerpiece of the exhibit space is a timeline exhibit that guides the visitor through Reds history, beginning in the 1860s when the team was the best professional club in the world, to modern times.
The Players Gallery
This space features exhibits honoring Reds who won awards and did other special things like throwing a no-hitter (Tom Seaver and Tom Browning, for example). It has a nice exhibit for Johnny Vander Meer, who threw back-to-back no-hitters for the Reds in 1938. Yes, really.
View the history of the ballparks that have served as the home of the Reds, dating back to before the Civil War, through the state-of-the-art Riverfront Stadium of the 1970s, and on to Great America Ballpark, which many consider the best park in use today.
One of the most interesting ballparks ever to host MLB was the “Palace of the Fans,” a neo-classic designed venue reminiscent of Chicago’s famed World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. The Palace opened in 1902 and was just the second ballpark built of concrete. It featured a beautiful façade with 22 stunning hand-carved Corinthian columns with ornate details and etchings. In a move that predated later “luxury suites,” the ballpark was built on top of carriage stalls that enabled wealthy ticket holders to drive directly to the venue, park, and conveniently stroll to VIP seating sections.
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Reds Baseball Then & Now
See how baseball has changed by examining the changes in gloves, the baseball, bats, and more. This exhibit has great displays of Reds uniforms across the years.
The First Nine
Honors the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, considered by many historians as the first “major league” baseball team. See photos and equipment and artifacts from that era and famous team.
Los Rojos: A Celebration of the Latino Impact on the Reds and Major League Baseball
This current exhibit looks at Latinos in the history of the Reds and throughout baseball. One of the first great pitchers the Reds had in the 20th century was Dolf Luque, a light-skinned Cuban who won 154 games for Cincy from 1918 to 1929, including 27 in 1923. Later, Latin stars like Tony Pérez, Dave Concepción, and José Rijo became fan favorites in the Queen City.
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Pursuit Of A Dream
An exhibit about Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in segregated major league baseball.
The George and Kim Vincent Baseball Card Archive
See thousands of Reds baseball cards dating back to the early 20th century, including cards that were included in packs of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco in the early 1900s.
Listen to iconic Reds moments from the voices of Cincinnati baseball over the years. Former outfielder Harry Heilmann and Joe Nuxhall were staples on the radio for the team for decades.
Hall of Fame Gallery
This is where you get to see the players, managers, and executives inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame. The museum does something special. Instead of plaques, there are busts made of each inductee.
Some of the legends in the Reds Hall of Fame:
- Johnny Bench
- Frank Robinson
- Barry Larkin
- Tom Seaver
- Joe Morgan
- Ken Griffey Jr. (and Sr.)
- Tony Pérez
- Sparky Anderson
- And yes, Pete Rose
Speaking of Rose, who was infamously banned from baseball for gambling when he was manager of the Reds, the museum doesn’t sidestep his controversial career. There are several exhibits honoring the former MVP, World Series champion, and all-time hit king. At one point, the museum had a wall display that held 4,256 baseballs, representing the record number of hits made by “Charlie Hustle.”
Williams Family Champions Gallery
This tribute to Reds championship teams contains highlights from those magical seasons, as well as artifacts, such as the World Series trophies. You can also view a looping video of the final outs from Reds championship clinching games. The franchise won World Series titles in 1919, 1940, 1975, 1976, and 1990.