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Cincinnati Reds : Gapper

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Standing at 5'7", Gapper is the official mascot of the Cincinnati Reds, a Major League Baseball team based in Cincinnati, Ohio. They are in the Central Division of the National League. The original Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball's first openly all-professional team, was founded in 1869. The Red Stockings won 130 games in a row between 1869 & 1870, before the Brooklyn Atlantics defeated the Red Stockings.

Early stars for the Red Stockings included the Wrights, George and Harry. The Red Stockings were a charter member of the National League in 1876, but was expelled from the league later, in part for violating league rules by serving beer to fans at games. When the American Association, a rival league, began play in 1882, it included a team from Cincinnati, which was also called the Red Stockings. By some accounts, the AA team switched leagues in 1890; by other accounts, the AA team folded the same year the new NL team started, and the new team simply signed many of the AA team's star players.



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The Red Stockings wandered through the remainder of the 1890s signing local stars and aging veterans. At the turn of the century, the Reds (shortened from the Red Stockings so not to be confused with the Boston AL entry, now shortened to Red Sox) had hitting stars like Sam Crawford and Cy Seymour. Seymour's .377 average in 1905 was the first individual batting crown won by a Red. In 1911, Bob Bescher stole 81 bases which is still a team record. The home ballpark of the Cincinnati Reds is the Great American Ball Park, and is located in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio on the Ohio River.

The downtown park opened on March 28, 2003 for an exhibition game with the Cleveland Indians. It hosted its first regular season game on Opening Day, March 31, 2003 as Former U.S. President George H. W. Bush threw the ceremonial first pitch, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Reds, 10-1. During construction, the new stadium was "wedged" into the space between multi-purpose Cinergy Field (formerly Riverfront Stadium, opened 1970) and the adjacent downtown arena.


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Cinergy Field was demolished after the 2002 MLB season, and the ballpark is part of an almost entirely revised downtown riverfront, along with Paul Brown Stadium (home of the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals, opened 2000) and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (opening 2004). Although not readily apparent, this facility bears a corporate name. The naming rights were acquired by the Great American Insurance Group. When Gapper first got to Cincinnati, he didn't have a name. At Redsfest 2002 a contest was launched and the Reds left the naming up to the fans. With over 6,000 submissions during the month of December, the response was overwhelming. After sifting through all the great names, the Reds decided that the name that truly fit was "Gapper". The winner of the Name the Mascot contest received season tickets for the inaugural season in Great American Ball Park.

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