May 20, 2015

New York Giants Hall of Fame Centerfielder: Edd Roush (1916 / 1927-1929)

Edd J. Roush was born May 8th, 1893 in Oakland City, Indiana. The young Roush, grew up on a farm milking cows & played baseball so he could get away.

Quotes: Edd Roush"I didn't expect to make it all the way to the big leagues; I just had to get away from them damn cows."

He made it all the way to the big leagues & the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was one of the better defensive centerfielders of his day & a good hitter as well, winning two batting titles, while finishing second twice.

He came up with the Chicago White Sox in 1913, playing just nine games. He played two seasons in the Federal League before landing for a short time with the 1916 New York Giants. In 39 games he hit just .188 before getting traded with Christy Mathewson who was at the end of his career to the Cincinnati Reds for Buck Herzog & Red Killefer. It was with the Reds that Rousch would spend twelve years playing the best years of his Hall of Fame career.

In his second year with the Reds he won the 1917 batting title, batting .341. He would come in runner up twice once to Rogers Hornsby & once to Zach Wheat. In 1918 he led the league in slugging (.455) & sac hits (33). In 1919 he won his second batting title, hitting .321 with a .380 on base %, for the National League Champion Reds.

Post Season: This was the famous Black Sox World Series, where the Chicago White Sox were accused of throwing the Series. Roush drove in the first run of the Game #2 Reds 4-2 win in Cincinnati. In Game #5 he tripled, driving in another two runs, in the 5-0 win at Chicago. But overall he struggled batting .214 in the series (6-28). It was Roush's only World Series appearance.

Roush would hit over .300, eleven straight years, thirteen times overall. He would hit ten or more triples seven straight years, doing it eleven times in his career. With his speed he stole over twenty bases six times, was in the league's top ten five times, with a career best 36 (second in the NL) in 1920. That season he also drove in a career best 90 runs.

In 1923 he led the league in doubles with 41, he would hit thirty plus doubles, twice in his career. He was known to swing a 48 ounce bat, one of the biggest in the game during his day. Roush rarely struck out, having the best at bat per strike out ratio three times in his career. At 28.3, he is 29th all time in that category (260 strike outs in 7363 at bats).

In centerfield, he was the league's top fielder (percentage wise) three times, while leading in double plays from center field twice. He also led the league in assists in 1919 (22) & was in the top three in that category seven times. In 1927 he was traded to the New York Giants for High Pockets Kelly.

In just his third game with the Giants, he hit a bases clearing double, helping them in a 6-3 win at the Baker Bowl over the Philadelphia Phillies. The next day he drove in two more runs, in a 7-6 win over the Boston Braves. In late August he had a big series against his old Reds team mates, with five hits, five runs scored & five RBIs in a three game set at the Polo Grounds.

He hit .304 For the third place 1927 Giants, with 7 HRs, 27 doubles & 58 RBIs. The next year injuries limited him to 46 games. He came back the next year at age 36, hitting .324 with 8 HRs & 52 RBIs, playing centerfield alongside Mel Ott & Freddy Leach. He was sent back to the Reds to finish his career in 1931.

In his 18 year career, he hit .329 with 2376 hits, 339 doubles, 182 triples, 268 stolen bases & 981 RBIs with a .369 on base % in 1967 games. He played 1607 games in center (24th all time) with a .972 fielding %. He made 190 assists (third best all time) as well as 124 errors committed (also third all time) & 27 double plays turned (7th all time).

Honors: It took him 24 years, but in 1960 the veterans committee elected him to the Baseball Hall of Fame, entering with Jackie Robinson & Bob Feller. He was also elected to the Reds Hall of Fame & Joe Morgan said of him "he's the best of us all".

On June 24th, 1970 he threw out the ceremonial first pitch in the last game played at old Crosley Field in Cincinnati.

Roush insisted until his death, that even if the 1919 White Sox had not thrown the World Series, his Reds still would have won.

Passing: Roush survived until the age of 94, when he passed away in Bradenton, Florida in 1988.

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