By DAVE JOHNSON, Executive Sports Editor
April 29, 2006
It's been 75 years since Edd Roush patrolled center field, 44 years since he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and 18 since he died.
Roush may be gone, but he's not forgotten - thanks in part to his old team, the Cincinnati Reds, and a new book written by his granddaughter.
The Reds' Hall of Fame and Museum at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park will open an exhibit, "Edd Roush and the 1919 World Series," on May 13. Roush, who was from Oakland City, Ind., spent most of his 18-year big-league career with the Reds. He led them to their first National league pennant and won two NL batting titles with them. The exhibit, which runs through the 2006 season, will feature about 80 artifacts from the 1919 season and Roush's career, plus rare video footage of the Series and the players.
Much of the memorabilia is on loan from Susan Dellinger, Roush's granddaughter and the author of a new book, "Red Legs and Black Sox." Included are the diamond-studded stickpin and Rookwood vase Roush received for helping the Reds win the 1919 Series, his Hall of Fame ring and a presentation clock he was given when he was named to the Reds' all-century team in 1969.
Greg Rhodes, director of the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, said most of the artifacts have never been on public display. "We wanted to come up with a special exhibit for this summer and we discussed doing something on the 1940 world's championship team or the Big Red Machine teams (of the 1970s)," he said. "But then we began working with Susan, when she was writing her book, and decided to do this."
The 1919 World Series is the most infamous in baseball history. Eight Chicago White Sox players conspired with gamblers to lose the Series to the Reds in what became known as the "Black Sox Scandal." Dellinger's book focuses on the Reds' perspective and points out the gamblers tried to get to their players, too.
Roush, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1962, was an outstanding hitter and the best defensive center fielder in the league. He won batting titles in 1917 and 1919 and came in second in 1918. He died in 1988 at the age of 94. Bats used by Roush and seven of his 1919 teammates will be included in the exhibit, along with outfielder Rube Bressler's glove and outfielder Sherry Magee's cap.
Another highlight of the exhibit will be the last ball used in the final game of the 1919 Series. It is on loan from an Indiana collector who obtained it from the family of Hod Eller, the Reds pitcher who won the fifth and eighth games. The World Series was played under a best-of-nine format then.
"A couple of local collectors who specialize in the 1919 World Series loaned us several things," said Rhodes. "And just last week, somebody donated a baseball that (Reds manager) Pat Moran autographed for (owner) Garry Herrmann on the very day the Series ended.
"It's amazing how much really neat stuff is out there."
Dellinger will make several stops next month to promote her book. The schedule:
May 14: Book signing at the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in Jasper from 2 to 4 p.m.
May 17: Signing at Barnes & Noble Booksellers on Green River Road in Evansville, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
May 18: Presentation and book signing at the Oakland City Public Library, 6:30 p.m.
May 19: Book signing at Evansville Otters game, 7 p.m. at Bosse Field.
# The Otters will give away Edd Roush figurines to the first 800 ticket-holders at a game this summer. Tentative date for the event, sponsored by The Book Broker, is Aug. 13.
Roush played for Evansville's minor-league teams in 1912 and 1913, when they were members of the Kitty and Central leagues. They went by various nicknames them, including Punchers, Yankees and River Rats.