Cincinnati Reds, Reds, Baseball history, baseball, Reds History, Cincinnati, Cincinnati History


Baseball Chronicle



From The Author Forward Contents Pre 1900 1900 - 1930 1930 - 1960 1960-1980



A Mean Bat And A Mean Negotiator: EDD ROUSH


There never may have been a major league baseball player tougher to sign than Edd Roush, the former Reds center fielder who is enshrined in baseball's Hall of Fame.


He always seemed to be a holdout, going to such an extreme one year that he sat out the entire season when he couldn't reach contract terms.


The 1922 season is a good example of Roush's stubbornness. The hard-hitting outfielder had batted a robust .352 in 1921 and he demanded a big raise. The Reds said no. So Roush decided he wouldn't report to spring training with the team in Mineral Wells, Texas. He stayed on his farm in Oakland City, Indiana.


Opening Day came and Roush remained on the farm. The Reds, sorely missing his explosive bat, struggled. The team won one of its first 12 games. Manager Pat Moran was getting desperate. He phoned­Roush and asked him to sign. But Roush said, "No." He remained a holdout who wanted a higher salary.


May 1, 1922, was the day that it looked like Roush was finished with the Reds. Club president Garry Herrmann announced that Roush would not be welcome in Cincinnati.


"The Cincinnati ball club," Herrmann wrote in a statement issued to Cincinnati newspapers, is definitely through with Edd Roush. We have decided not to ask him to return even on our terms, to say nothing of his. There is no place where he could really strengthen this club, as it is now made up, and he will be allowed

to stay right where he is. This is the last word. Mr. Roush will not play with the Reds during the 1922 season."

    Both parties, however, gave in. Herrmann accepted Roush back on the club and Roush agreed to sign under the Reds terms. Edd Roush returned on July 23 and played in 49 games. He hadn't had spring training, he had not played any ball in almost one year. But he still tore the cover off the baseball. He batted .352 again, an incredible testament to his batting skill.

"I never saw anyone like him," manager Moran once said. "All that fella has to do is wash his hands, adjust his cap and he's in shape to hit."


Roush was his own man, a ballplayer's ballplayer. He had a mind of his own and he often spoke it. It was because of his sharp tongue that he wound up with the Reds in 1916.


    He was playing sparingly with the New York Giants and he wasn't happy. One afternoon Giants manager Jack McGraw questioned Roush's use of a 48-ounce bat, by far the heaviest of any used in baseball.

"Don't ever let me see you at the plate with that bat again," McGraw told Roush.


"This is the first damn league ever played in," Roush snapped back to the man known as Little Napoleon, "where the manager picked your bat."


"What league did you ever hit .300 in?" McGraw challenged.

"I hit .300 in every league I was ever in, and I'd hit it in this one if you'd let me play regularly."

    That was enough for McGraw. He couldn't get rid of Roush fast enough. He traded him to the Reds midway through the 1916 season. Edd batted .287 for the Reds that year. The following year, true to his words to McGraw, he hit .300.

Continued on Page 50




The Cincinnati Reds Scrapbook Copyright 1982 - 2009 distributed by Baseball Chronicle 2009 All Rights Reserved

     Terms of Service