Ohio - Sports



There are eight major league professional sports teams in Ohio: the Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Reds of Major League Baseball, the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League, the Cleveland Rockers of the Women's National Basketball Association, and the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association. In fall 2000, the Columbus Blue Jackets began playing in the National Hockey League.

The state is also home to Triple-A minor league baseball teams in Columbus and Toledo, and a Double-A team in Akron. A new team, the Lake County Captains, began play in 2003 and are a Single-A affiliate of the Indians. The state also fields a team in the Midwest League and the New York Penn League. A professional indoor soccer team, the Force, makes its home in Cleveland. The club was formerly known as the Crunch. In addition, there is minor league hockey in Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Toledo.

The Cincinnati Reds (traditionally short for Redstockings) were the first professionally organized baseball team, playing their first season in 1869. Their record was 64–0. The Reds won the World Series in 1919, 1940, 1975, 1976, and in 1990. The Indians won the World Series in 1920 and 1948. In 1995, the Indians won their first American League pennant since 1954, but lost to the Atlanta Braves in the World Series. They returned to the Series in 1997, this time losing to the Florida Marlins. The original Cleveland Browns, who moved to Baltimore in 1995, won four NFL titles, football's championship prior to the Super Bowl, the last in 1964. An expansion or relocation NFL team began play as the Browns in a new stadium in Cleveland beginning in 1999. The Bengals won the American Football Conference Championship in both 1981 and 1988, but lost each year's Super Bowl.

Akron has been headquarters for the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) since its founding in 1958. The PBA's top tournament is played there each year, and the PBA Hall of Fame is also located in Akron. The NEC Invitational is played annually in Akron, and the Memorial Golf Tournament in Dublin.

Major horse-racing tracks include Cleveland's Thistledown, Cincinnati's River Downs, Columbus's Scioto Downs, and other tracks at Toledo, Lebanon, Grove City, and Northfield. The Cleveland Gold Cup race is held annually at Thistledown, as is the Ohio Derby. The Little Brown Jug classic for three-year-old pacers takes place every year at the Delaware Fairgrounds, and the Ohio State race for two-year-old trotters is held during the state fair at Columbus.

Several new facilities have been constructed, including the new Cleveland Browns Stadium in 1999, Jacobs Field in 1994 (home of the Indians), Columbus Crew Stadium, and most recently, the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati (2003). The Cincinnati Reds make it their home park.

In collegiate sports, Ohio State University has long been a football power, winning over 25 Big Ten titles. Ohio State won the Rose Bowl in 1950, 1955, 1958, 1969, 1974, and 1997. The Buckeyes were named national champions in 1942, 1954 (with UCLA), 1957 (with Auburn), 1968, and in 2003 after upsetting Miami (Fl) in the Fiesta Bowl. Ohio State also has won NCAA championships in baseball, basketball, fencing, golf, gymnastics, and swimming, while Cincinnati and Dayton universities have had highly successful basketball teams. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton, where the sport was first organized professionally in 1920.

Other annual sporting events include the grand tournament of the American Trapshooting Association in Vandalia, the Grand Prix or Cleveland Indy car race, and the All-American Soap Box Derby in Akron, a nationally covered event in which 9- to 15-year-olds compete.