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Exactly a Century Ago a Star Baseball Player Was Ejected For Sleeping

Updated on June 9, 2020

Big Edd Was Not Easy To Rouse That Day


Undoubtedly the 2020 baseball season will be a strange one, assuming it is even played at all. Now in the second week of June, the owners and players association seem to be far apart on how to proceed with the games.

Depending on the settlement, a team could actually earn the best record in the league just by winning thirty games. Attendance for each of those wins, and the losses as well, the attendance will most likely be zero.

Granted, those numbers seem quite odd, a clear reflection of the upheaval of our lives because of the coronavirus. Social distancing requirements have made it almost impossible for baseball to allow fans in the stadiums, which will certainly seem odd to the players as well as the fans watching on TV.

What fans saw exactly one hundred years ago, decades before they could watch a game on TV, must have seemed as odd to them as empty parks might to us. After all, it is not often that a Major League player falls asleep on the field.

Edd Roush of the Cincinnati Reds did that very thing in the Polo Grounds during a June 8 game in 1920, when the outfielder fell into slumber during a long argument in the infield. If there is any solace, it comes with the fact that Roush came within just an out of two from making it through the game.

Reliever Rolf Douque had just entered in the bottom of the eighth of the 4-4 contest, immediately surrendering a double to George Burns of the New York Giants. When a few pitches later Burns came home to put his team up, the Reds began a long argument in dispute of the run.

It was during that lengthy conference when Roush fell asleep, a state he remained in until Heinie Grove walked over from right field to awaken him. Once aroused, however, Roush was ejected by umpire Barry McCormick for delay of game.

The Reds had a chance to tie it back up in the ninth, since the heart of the order was due up. Those three hitters had been responsible for most of the offense that afternoon, including an RBI by Roush.

Unfortunately, he had been replaced after his ejection. So instead the Reds had San Crane hitting with two outs in the ninth, representing the tying run.

Crane mustered only a harmless groundout, thereby allowing New York to hold on for the 5-4. Had Roush not been ejected, he would have had a dramatic opportunity to atone for the nap he had taken the previous inning. He was at time among the league leaders with a .335 batting average and 24 RBI as the Cincinnati cleanup hitter.


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