Edd Roush would play on the "Field of Dreams"

By Good Morning Tri-State

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

One of my biggest regrets is that I never got the chance to interview baseball's Edd Roush, the Hall of Famer who grew up in Oakland City, Ind., and continued to live there long after his diamond career ended in 1931.

Roush died in 1988, two months before his 95th birthday. He played mostly for the Cincinnati Reds and never batted lower than .321. He was instrumental in his team's World Series victory over the Chicago White Sox in 1919. That was the year of the gambling scandal that, for some, turned the White Sox into the Black Sox. Eight ballplayers were banned from baseball for intentionally losing games to the Reds.

Roush went to his grave insisting that even if the White Sox had played the 1919 series on the level, Cincinnati still would have prevailed.

I'm told that Roush often would sit on the front porch of his Gibson County home and watch the day go by.

By many accounts, he was a strong-willed fellow who had little time for foolishness.

But I'm also told he had a soft side and often did things to help people, provided they keep the kindness to themselves.

Depending on his mood, he often was receptive to folks grabbing a seat and asking him to talk baseball.

I'd like to talk with folks who knew the irascible Roush as just another resident of Oakland City.

Were there specific lodge halls or taverns he liked to visit? Did he follow a routine in his day-to-day life?

I know that Roush did some coaching. I'd love to hear from some of his former players and from those who managed against him.

I'm open to tales about the man's temper, but I'd like to balance them with stories about his compassion.

I know his neck veins stuck out at the mere mention of the 1919 World Series, but on what other subjects did he have strong opinions?

Did he ever talk about the pittance that players of his era earned, compared to the megasalaries of today's big-leaguers?

The hard-nosed Roush played for keeps. Did he ever grouse about the chumminess exhibited by opposing players these days?

Did Roush develop any hobbies in the latter years of his life? Golf, perhaps, or the stock market.

Did former teammates ever come to Oakland City for a visit?

Did Roush display his memorabilia or did he keep any bats, uniforms and baseballs to himself?

Did he have jobs in the offseason and after his playing career?

If you knew Edd Roush and want to be a part of a story I hope to write before the World Series ends, please contact me at the phone number or e-mail address at the end of this column.

Lastly, let me recommend a book about Roush written by his granddaughter, Susan Dellinger. It's "Red Legs and Black Sox: Edd Roush and the Untold Story of the 1919 World Series."

- Garret Mathews

464-7527 or mathewsg@courierpress.com



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