Owen Joseph "Donie" Bush (October 8, 1887 – March 28, 1972), was an American professional baseball player, manager, team owner, and scout. He was active in professional baseball for 65 years from 1905 until his death in 1972.
Bush was the starting shortstop for the Detroit Tigers from 1908 to 1921 and an infielder for the Washington Senators from 1921 to 1923. He was recognized as one of the best defensive shortstops of the dead-ball era. He had more putouts, assists, and total chances than any other shortstop of the era, and his 1914 totals of 425 putouts and 969 chances are still American League records for shortstops (and the Major League record for putouts). He also led the American League in assists by a shortstop on five occasions and holds the Major League record with nine triple plays.
As a batter, Bush did not hit for high batting average but was regularly among the Major League leaders in drawing bases on balls, sacrifice hits, stolen bases, and runs scored. At the time of his retirement in 1923, Bush's 1,158 bases on balls ranked second in Major League history. His 337 sacrifice hits still ranks fifth in Major League history, and his 1909 total of 52 sacrifice hits is the fourth highest in Major League history. He ranked among the American League leaders in stolen bases ten times, and, during the decade from 1910 to 1919, the only players to score more runs than Bush were Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins, and Tris Speaker.
Bush also served as a manager in professional baseball for the Washington Senators (1923), Indianapolis Indians (1924–26, 1943–44), Pittsburgh Pirates (1927–29), Chicago White Sox (1930–31), Cincinnati Reds (1933), Minneapolis Millers (1932, 1934–38), and Louisville Colonels (1939). His 1927 Pittsburgh Pirates won the National League pennant and lost to the 1927 Yankees in the World Series. Bush was also a co-owner of the Louisville Colonels (1938–1940) and Indianapolis Indians (1941–52), president of the Indians (1941–52, 1956–69), and a scout for the Boston Red Sox (1953–55). He was given the title "King of Baseball" during Major League Baseball's 1963 winter meetings. He was known as "Mr. Baseball" in Indianapolis and was an inaugural inductee of the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame.
By Dean Hanley
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