Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Donie Bush, Baseball Man Extraordinaire

Donie Bush, shortstop

Indianapolis Indians: 1908, 1926

As Manager:

Indianapolis Indians: 1924-26, 1943
Minneapolis Millers: 1934-35
Louisville Colonels: 1939

b. October 8, 1887 @ Indianapolis, Indiana
d. March 28, 1972 @ Indianapolis, Indiana

Owen Joseph “Donie” or “Ownie” Bush was one of the early “grand old men” of baseball.

Today we commemorate the 40th anniversary of his death at the age of 84.

Bush began his career in pro ball at the age of 17 with the Sault Ste. Marie (MI) Soos of the Copper Country Soo League (D) in 1905. Three years later he made his major league debut with the Detroit Tigers. A natural righty, Bush was a switch-hitter.

The 5’6”, 140-lb. infielder first joined the American Association in 1908 with his hometown Indianapolis Indians, playing shortstop in 153 games and batting .247, leading the league in runs scored with 99 to help lead the club to their second American Association championship.

Bush returned to the Indians as a manager in 1924 after a long career in the majors spent primarily with the Detroit Tigers, appearing in 1,945 games from 1908-1923. He led the American League in walks in five season.

Bush was a defensive specialist who ranked among the elite as a shortstop in numerous defensive categories throughout his career.

Bush became a principal owner of the Indianapolis club in 1942 and spent many years as a baseball executive and scout. According to Baseball Necrology he was a scout with the Chicago White Sox at the time of his death and was known at the time as the oldest man active in baseball.

The American Association ball park at Indianapolis was known originally as Perry Stadium, and was renamed Victory Field in the 1940s. In the 1960s it was renamed after Bush, and was called Bush Stadium.

Bush is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Indianapolis.

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