"If it's a ground ball, I can field it," said the rookie shortstop in 1922 when asked
if he could adjust to playing third. He spoke truly. Bluege (pronounced Blu-ghy)
held down third base at Washington for much of the following 17 years. His numbers
were modest, but he was consistent and mild. He neither smoke nor drank, and was
an accountant in the off-season, with Washington's best hotels among his clients.
Clark Griffith, the Senators' frugal owner, feared that poring over figures would
ruin Bluege's batting eye, and ordered him to quit. As he never earned over $10,000,
Bluege couldn't afford to.
Bluege was Griffith's organization man. After playing,
he was a Senator coach (1940-42), manager (1943-47, including two well-handled second-place
finishes), and farm director (1948-56). From 1957-71, for the Senators and Twins,
he was club comptroller. Ossie's younger brother, Otto, or "Squeaky," had one season
plus one game as a Cincinnati shortstop.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»May 19, 1923: At Chicago, the Senators edge the White Sox, 6–4. Walter Johnson slams a decisive two run single in the top of the 9th, then allows three runs in the bottom of the 9th before getting relief help from Allan "Rubberarm" Russell. Johnson fans 6. Ossie Bluege homers for Washington.
»May 23, 1929: In Philadelphia, the A's win a pair from the Senators by 9–8 scores In game 1, they spot the Senators eight runs in the 1st two innings and then come back to win. The win goes to Howard Ehmke, the A's 4th pitcher. Rube Walberg goes all the way to win the nitecap. Ossie Bluege has a home run in each game for the Nationals. The first-place A's will sweep the series with the Nats
»April 26, 1931:
Dusty Cooke, Yankee RF, is hurt diving for a fly
ball off the bat of Ossie Bluege of Washington. 1B
Gehrig winds up playing the ball, which becomes an
inside-the-park HR. With Babe Ruth still sidelined,
the shorthanded Yankees send P Red Ruffing to
the outfield. The game's most significant
play comes with Lyn Lary on base when Lou Gehrig's
drive into the CF stands at Washington bounces back
and is caught by CF Harry Rice. According to the rules,
this is a home run, but when Lary sees Rice catching
the ball, he thinks it's the final out of the
inning. Unnoticed by Joe McCarthy, coaching at 3B,
Lary heads for the dugout after crossing 3B. Gehrig
circles the bases. He is called out and gets credit
for a triple instead of a HR and loses 2 RBI. As a
result Gehrig will end the season tied for the HR
title with Babe Ruth and will have "only" 184 RBI.
»July 18, 1932:
Washington 3B Ossie Bluege equals the AL record with five walks in the first game of a doubleheader won by Detroit 8-6 and 21.
»June 25, 1933:
The Senators win twice over the Indians, 9–0 and 10–1, to widen their lead in the American League to one 1/2 games over New York. Washington has now won 14 of 15. Earl Whitehill pitches the shutout and Bob Burke, making his first start of the season, almost matches him in game 2. Ossie Bluege has five of the Nats 29 hit total. For the host Indians, Milt Galatzer, recently of the Toledo Mud Hens, debuts with four walks in the opener and no official at bats. He's 2-for-5 in the nitecap.
»April 14, 1936: At Griffith Stadium, Vice-President James Garner makes the march to the flagpole for the President. Then to a standing ovation from 31,000 Franklin Roosevelt tosses out the first ball in the Senators opener against New York. Nats starter Bobo Newsom pitches a masterful game, surviving a 5th inning beaning when he is hit by a throw to first by 3B Ossie Bluege, to shut out the Yankees, 1–0, on four hits. Lefty Gomez loses his second straight 1–0 Opener.