The Riddle of 27

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It was one of the great unanswered questions of Cincinnati Reds lore, a Big Red Machine–era mystery on par with Pete Rose’s haircut. In 1968, shortly after Cincinnati Enquirer publisher Francis Dale became team president, the Reds unveiled a new-look Mr. Red “Running Man” logo sporting No. 27 on his uniform. “There was never any reasonable explanation for it,” says Todd Radom, a graphic designer and self-described visual historian. “It was just hanging out there, and the answer kind of fell into my lap.” In an early February post on his blog, Radom Thoughts, Radom reported information received from an unnamed source (“unimpeachable” and with “first-hand knowledge”) that the No. 27 was also worn by Dal Maxvill, an infielder for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1960s…and favorite player of Francis Dale’s son. “The logo was associated with such an era of excellence with the Big Red Machine,” says Radom. “This was a little Easter egg within that.”

Originally published in the March 2014 issue.

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