Former Red Ron Oester was nearly a Pioneer

MARIETTA – Ron Oester almost attended Marietta College.

And, of course, if he had, he would’ve played baseball for the Pioneers.

“I was recruited by Marietta College out of high school,” recalled the 60-year-old Oester at Tuesday’s 23rd annual Reds Legends Youth Baseball Clinic at V.F.W. Field in Marietta.

Oester was one of five former Cincinnati Reds on hand, providing instruction to the 118 youngsters in attendance. Also in the camp were Leo Cardenas, Dave Parker, Todd Benzinger, and Scott Williamson.

“I met Don Schaly and talked to him,” Oester continued. “He was really good to me.”

Oester played his prep baseball and starred at Withrow High on the east side of Cincinnati. Last year, a field was named in his honor at his alma mater.

Turned out, though, that after Oester graduated from Withrow in 1974, the 6-foot-2 second baseman was drafted by the Reds in the ninth round of the 1974 Major League Baseball amateur draft. So, instead of heading east to MC, he became a pro, and reached the parent ballclub in Cincy four years later.

Oester was in the majors and with the Reds for 13 years, he said.

“I was on some good teams and some bad teams,” Oester said. “It was great playing for Pete (Rose) and great playing for Lou (Pinella). I just enjoyed playing.

Oester paused.

“There’s some pressure in the big leagues,” he continued. “But the more pressure you put on yourself, the harder it’s going to be. So, you try not to put any pressure on yourself, and let your ability take over. The longer you play, the less nervous you are.”

After the Reds won the World Series in 1990, Oester “retired.” So, he went out a champion.

“Finally, in my last year, I got my World Series ring,” Oester said. “It’s something that I’ll never forget.”

To this day, Oester still resides in his hometown of Cincinnati. He’s also no stranger to the Reds Legends clinic in Marietta.

“I don’t know how many I’ve done here, but I’ve done them for a while,” he said. “I don’t really do a lot of clinics, but I do a lot of speaking engagements in the Cincinnati area. I just tell the people baseball stories and things like that. More public relations than anything.”

Oester said he “enjoys Marietta.”

“Marietta, it’s a small city, and it seems like everybody’s close,” he added. “I’ve noticed that the kids in the camp like to have fun. What’s great about it is it gets them away from the video games, and they come out here and spend time doing something that they like to do. They’re outside, and they’re running around and having a good time.”

This week’s Reds Legends clinic in Marietta is scheduled to conclude today.

Afterwards, Oester will be returning to Cincinnati and is planning to take part in this weekend’s Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame festivities. He himself was inducted in the Reds HOF two years ago.

He’s of course is looking forward to Pete Rose entering the Hall.

“Pete Rose was my favorite play growing up,” Oester said. “I liked the way he played the game. He played hard and hustled, and that’s how I tried to play the game.

“It’s great to have Pete in it (HOF) finally.”