Undersized pitcher Roy Radebaugh won 74 games for the Columbus (Georgia) Foxes of the Class C South Atlantic League over the three years from 1909 through 1911. Then aged 30, he earned a two-game tryout with the St. Louis Cardinals towards the end of the 1911 season. After pitching on in the minors through 1917, Radebaugh later became an Iowa deputy sheriff with a trusty cocker spaniel companion roaming his local county courthouse.
Roy Radebaugh (no middle name) was born on February 22, 1881, in Champaign, Illinois. He was the tenth of 11 children of Emanuel Radebaugh, a farmer from Ohio, and Sarah Danner Radebaugh. By 1895, the Radebaugh family had relocated northwest to Greene, Iowa.
In 1904, the 23-year-old Radebaugh started on the mound for a local squad from Rippey, Iowa in a loss to Jamaica, Iowa, although he did strike out 10 batters.1 The next year, Radebaugh was the top pitcher for the Hopkins Brothers amateur team, based out of Des Moines, which won 100 out of 118 games, including 37 of their last 38.2 This was a record for any Iowa amateur team, and included wins over minor-league teams. Hopkins Bros. won first place in a September tournament in Winterset, Iowa, with Radebaugh winning the team’s first and championship games against Woodward, Iowa and Winterset.3 Radebaugh handed Hopkins Bros. its 100th and last victory in late September with a 2-1 decision over Runnells, Iowa.4
To kick off 1906, Radebaugh, all 5-feet-7 and 160 pounds of him, signed his first professional contract with the Cedar Rapids Rabbits of the Class B Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League. He played for longtime Rabbits manager Belden Hill, who developed the hurler. In one of his first pro starts, Radebaugh combined on a four-hit shutout over Boone.5 He later threw a 1-0, 10-inning shutout, in winning a “battle royal”6 against Davenport. In the bottom of the tenth inning, he walked and scoredg the game’s only run. The following was reported in the Davenport Daily Times:
“Radebaugh was in perfect form, striking out 11 men and allowing the visitors but three scattered hits in the ten innings. ‘Twas a pretty game he pitched all the way through, and the fans cheered him enthusiastically at the close of almost every inning. His control was practically perfect and his mixture of slow drops, outshoots and other mysteries kept the Davenporters guessing all the time.”7
In mid-July, the righthander moved to the Marshalltown Brownies of the Class D Iowa League. Radebaugh threw a 1-0 shutout in his debut for Marshalltown on July 15 against Waterloo. In August, he won a 15-inning complete game, 5-4, against Burlington.8 After appearing in 15 games with the Brownies, Radebaugh was recalled to Des Moines after Marshalltown had concluded its season. In total, the rookie won 12 games in 23 appearances for the league-champion Rabbits, who were led by Russ Ford’s 22 victories.9 Radebaugh was added to Cedar Rapids’ reserve list for 1907 and spent his off-season back in Rippey.
The next season, Radebaugh won a team-high 18 games in 32 appearances with the Rabbits, who dropped to fifth place. In 1908, Radebaugh started back with Cedar Rapids, but was sold by the Rabbits, who were suffering from “light patronage and heavy expenses,” to the Atlanta Crackers of the Class A Southern Association for $800.10 His last game for Cedar Rapids was an August victory over Peoria. Before “Raddy’s” first at-bat in his last game, his Rabbit teammates presented him with an opal set with diamonds.11
Radebaugh’s debut for Atlanta on August 6 was a 6-0 clunker against Nashville. He redeemed himself with six shutout relief innings for the Crackers six days later. Within two weeks of reporting to Atlanta, however, he was called home because his mother was critically ill.12 Crackers management later suspended him when he did not return to the team.13
At the end of spring training for 1909, Radebaugh and Jesse Becker were sold by Atlanta to the Columbus Foxes, after Radebaugh “just missed making the Atlanta team by a hair.”14 Upon arrival, Roy was immediately penciled in as the starting pitcher that afternoon, handing Chattanooga its first loss after six straight wins to start the season.15 The “midget twirler” lost 2-1 to Augusta on July 6.16 He “pitched a beautiful game of ball” in a 1-0 shutout against Pree Billiard and Augusta on August 6.17 Later that month, he threw a seven-inning, one-hit shutout, winning 1-0 over Macon.18 Radebaugh, who appeared in 36 games, led the South Atlantic League with 25 wins in 218 innings pitched. He was honored by John Scott of the Savannah Press as a member of an “All-Sally” team, along the likes of Savannah outfielder Joe Jackson and Savannah pitcher Al Demaree.19
Radebaugh started 1910 back at Columbus, defeating the Savannah Indians, 9-1, on Opening Day in front of 4,000 patrons.20 In May, he beat Savannah again, with an 11-inning, 2-0 shutout.21 Radebaugh “added to his laurels” with split seven-inning, 1-0 decisions against the Columbia Commies on June 7.22 He allowed only one hit in the opener, but errors allowed an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh. He surrendered only four hits in winning the nightcap. On August 18, “iron man” Radebaugh proved “sterling worth” in winning both ends of a doubleheader against Macon to hand the 1910 pennant to Columbus.23 In 42 games, Radebaugh posted a 22-15 record for the season, good for third in the league in wins.
To kick off 1911 for Columbus, he pitched three shutout innings and hit a home run against the Philadelphia Phillies “yannigans” squad in spring training.24 He shut out Charleston 2-0 on two hits on May 11, as the home side raised their 1910 banner for the first time.25 In June, he fought the Albany Babies to a 13-inning scoreless draw, allowing only two hits.26 Radebaugh recorded 27 more wins for Columbus in 1911, tying for second in the league, and giving him 74 over his three years with the Foxes. As a reward for that impressive stretch, he was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals, and reported after Columbus’s season concluded.
Radebaugh made his major-league debut for Roger Bresnahan and the Cardinals on September 22, 1911 against the league-leading New York Giants. Radebaugh “started the flinging for the Cardinals and did remarkably well.”27 He went a full nine innings, before being pinch-hit for in the bottom of the ninth. The Cardinals tied it with two runs in the ninth, then George Zackert, also making his major league debut, relieved, giving up an unearned run in a 4-3 loss to John McGraw’s crew. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch remarked of Radebaugh that the “wee mite of a boy pitched great ball. He had the whole Giant team guessing.”28 Six days later, against the Brooklyn Dodgers, the roles were reversed, as Radebaugh was the second reliever behind starter Zackert, pitching the ninth inning of an 8-4 loss. That was the extent of Radebaugh’s major-league experience.
The next year started off with wedding bliss for Radebaugh. On March 6, he married Andee Roth, a Missouri-born woman whose Swiss father, Louis Roth, was the mayor of Cedar Rapids.29 The Radebaughs made Cedar Rapids their home.
Immediately after, the newleyweds traveled to Montgomery, as Roy attended spring training with the Rebels of the Class A Southern Association. After 13 games and a 4-8 record with Montgomery, Radebaugh was sold to the Winston-Salem Twins of the Class D Carolina Association. Radebaugh pitched a one-hit, 12-inning, 1-0 shutout over Greenville on June 28, in front of a reported attendance of 60.30 On July 11, he was “struck on the head by a fastball and rendered unconscious for a few seconds. He was revived, however, and finished the game in good shape,” beating Spartanburg 9-1, to improve his record to a perfect 7-0.31 He finally succumbed to defeat two days later against Charlotte.32 He finished the season with a 16-5 record in 24 appearances. In October, Radebaugh pitched against his old Cardinals squad in a barnstorming game appearing in a patchwork lineup of Cedar Rapids-area ballplayers.33
In March 1913, Winston-Salem could not meet the salary offers of higher leagues for Radebaugh, so he was sold to the New London (Connecticut) Planters of the Class B Eastern Association,34 a club “owned and controlled by a millionaire fan.”35 Radebaugh went 15-18 in 39 games with the Planters in 1913.
In 1914, he returned to Cedar Rapids. After a three-hit shutout over Keokuk in June, one account noted “Raddy in rare form.” However, with a pedestrian 9-8 record in 19 games, he was released by his hometown Rabbits in August. For the most part, he “couldn’t get his stuff to work.”36
In 1915, Radebaugh did not play professional baseball. Instead, he accepted a position in the office of the Linn County (Iowa) auditor. He also pitched for the Armstrong-McClenahan Clothing Co. team in town. In 1916, Radebaugh re–signed with Columbus, Georgia. He threw a three-hitter over Columbia on July 5. In his next start, Radebaugh threw a 12-inning, 1-0 shutout over Charleston.37 He recorded three more shutouts in August.38 Altogether, he posted another solid campaign for Columbus with a 19-9 mark in 30 games.
Radebaugh, by then 36, re-upped with Columbus for a fifth season in 1917.39 He “was strong all the way” in beating Augusta 5-3 on May 8,40 but lost 3-0 to the same squad ten days later. Radebaugh recorded a 2-3 record in seven games, allowing 35 runs in just 52 innings before being released. His professional career had reached its end.
By September 1918, with World War I in full swing, Radebaugh’s draft registration form stated that he was a carpenter at National Pyrite in Pyriton, Alabama, while his wife stayed back in Cedar Rapids. In 1919, he pitched for the Denecke’s Department Store semipro team back in Cedar Rapids. Other Cedar Rapids semipro stars during this period included Cy Slapnicka, who went on to become a noted scout, and Earl Whitehill.
By 1923, Radebaugh had become a deputy sheriff at the Linn County (Iowa) courthouse, where he worked under four different sheriffs over the next 22 years.41 In 1927, the deputy received a bruise over his left eye after a fistfight with an attorney in town who claimed Radebaugh was accepting court filing fees illegally.42 The incident did not seem to affect his eyesight, however; in July, he won the shooting contest at the South Cedar Rapids Gun Club, hitting 47 out of a possible 50 targets.43
In 1930, Radebaugh was embroiled in a political drama involving the incumbent county sheriff, who’d beaten the deputy two years prior in an election for the top office. Radebaugh had complied with a public information request from a local Gazette reporter, which disclosed potential irregularities with the current sheriff regarding padded mileage fees and confiscated liquor. In retaliation, the sheriff pressured the county clerk to demand Radebaugh’s resignation.44 When a new sheriff was elected a few months later, Radebaugh was reinstated.45 As he gave the incoming sheriff a tour of the jail, the outgoing sheriff pushed Radebaugh and demanded he leave the premises.46
In 1934, Radebaugh flipped his car over in a high-speed collision, fortunately suffering only a small facial cut.47 The next year, the local Cedar Rapids Gazette photographed him holding a high-powered rifle next to one of the new sheriff’s department official vehicles.48 A 1937 Gazette article proclaimed “Popular Man in Unpopular Job — That’s Roy Radebaugh.” It highlighted how the deputy sheriff was typically “not welcome, but still he’s courteous” in delivering lawsuit notices, injunctions, etc. throughout the county.49
Accompanying Radebaugh on all his journeys was his dog Tony (son of a previous companion named Skippy). Another Gazette article from 1944 depicted Rad’s best friend:
That peace-loving buff cocker spaniel you always see calmly pattering just a few steps ahead of his master, a short man with a folded paper in his hand, is really “Bad News Tony.” Tony, who will be five years old in June, never leaves his master, Deputy Sheriff Roy Radebaugh, from the beginning of duties at 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sometimes his work goes on after hours. He helps Roy serve papers of bad news to defendants in all sorts of actions in district court. Together in a day they serve five or six original notices of divorce actions, garnishment and other actions.50
A year later, Radebaugh fell into ill health. He died on January 17, 1945 in Cedar Rapids, from a heart ailment suffered over seven days.51 He was buried at the Linwood Cemetery in Cedar Rapids. He was survived by his wife Andee (who passed away three years later), one sister, and three brothers. The obituary commented on Radebaugh:
He died only a few days after the disappearance of his boon companion, Tony … who, like Mr. Radebaugh, was a big favorite around the courthouse.52
This biography was reviewed by Bill Lamb and Rory Costello and fact-checked by Kevin Larkin.
1 “Jamaica 5, Rippey 1,” Des Moines Register, July 24, 1904: 8.
2 “Hopkins Bros. Baseball Team Has Won 100 Games out of 118 Played,” Des Moines Register, September 18, 1905: 2.
3 “Hopkins Bros. Win,” Des Moines Register, September 16, 1905: 7.
4 Des Moines Register, September 18, 1905: 2.
5 “Boone Loses to Cedar Rapids,” Evening Times-Republican (Marshalltown, Iowa), April 21, 1906: 7.
6 “Cedar Rapids 1, Davenport 0,” Daily Times (Davenport, Iowa), June 4, 1906: 12.
7 Daily Times, June 4, 1906: 12.
8 “Second Game a Whirlwind,” Evening Times-Republican, August 6, 1906: 7.
9 “Cedar Rapids,” Herald and Review (Decatur, Illinois), September 25, 1906: 5.
10 Rock Island (Illinois) Argus, August 21, 1908: 3.
11 “Radebaugh’s Last Game,” (Moline, Illinois) Dispatch, August 3, 1908: 6.
12 “Former Pitcher Here,” (Cedar Rapids) Gazette, August 28, 1908: 8.
13 “Notes” Pentagraph (Bloomington, Illinois), September 25, 1908: 7.
14 “Jim Fox Secures Two Good Players,” Atlanta Constitution, April 22, 1909: 13.
15 “Lookouts Lose One,” Birmingham (Alabama) News, April 23, 1909: 9.
16 “Tourists Took 3d Straight Game,” Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle, July 7, 1909: 5.
17 “Tourists Lost by Only One Run,” Augusta Chronicle, August 7, 1909: 3.
18 “These Two Break Even,” Tampa Tribune, August 19, 1909: 4.
19 “Notes,” Knoxville (Tennessee) Sentinel, September 10, 1909: 8.
20 “Close to 4,000 Went to Game,” Augusta Chronicle, April 16, 1910: 4.
21 “Eleven Innings to Decide It,” Augusta Chronicle, May 21, 1910: 4.
22 “Pitched Two Good Games; Split Double Header,” Augusta Chronicle, June 8, 1910: 4.
23 “Sally Pennant for Columbus,” Montgomery (Alabama) Advertiser, August 19, 1910: 5.
24 “Phillies’ Yanigans Win from Columbus,” Philadelphia Inquirer, March 24, 1911: 10.
25 “Goos Eggs for Sea Gulls and Tallies for Reynards,” Evening Post (Charleston, South Carolina) May 12, 1911: 3.
26 “Thirteen Innings Without Scoring,” Augusta Chronicle, July 25 1911: 5.
27 “Giants Keep Up Winning Streak,” Times Herald (Olean, New York), September 23, 1911: 9.
28 “A ‘Dode’ Criss or Two Might Help Cardinals Win Extra- Round Bouts,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 23, 1911: 6.
29 “Roth-Radabaugh,” Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), March 7, 1912: 3 (Note: many newspapers referred to Roy as ‘Radabaugh’ instead of Radebaugh over his career.)
30 “Pitcher Yields Only One Hit in 12 Innings,” News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), June 29, 1912: 3.
31 “Twins vs. Hornets Battling for Second Place,” Twin-City Daily Sentinel (Winston-Salem, North Carolina), July 12, 1912: 6.
32 “Radebaugh Lost First to Hornets,” Charlotte (North Carolina) News, July 14, 1912: 10.
33 “Hot Sport Chatter,” Gazette, August 22, 1940: 16.
34 “Radebaugh Sold to New London, Conn. Team,” Gazette, March 5, 1913: 2.
35 “Notes,” Gazette, April 22, 1913: 9.
36 “Radebaugh and an Outfielder Drop,” Muscatine (Iowa) Journal, August 18, 1914: 5.
37 “Gulls Beaten in 12-Frame Battle,” Evening Post, July 10, 1916: 3.
38 “Sea Gulls Lose to Foxes in Twelfth,” Augusta Chronicle, July 9, 1916: 8.
39 “Radebaugh to Report,” Evening Times-Republican, March 31, 1917: 4.
40 “Tourist Cast-Off Bumps ‘Em,” Tampa Tribune, May 9, 1917: 10.
41 “Deputy Sheriff Radebaugh Dies,” Gazette, January 18, 1945: 1.
42 “Klaus in Fight with Deputy Sheriff,” Gazette, January 14, 1927: 1.
43 “Radebaugh and O’Brine Win in So. Side Shoot,” Gazette, July 10, 1927: 11.
44 “Radebaugh Ousted, ‘Pressure’ from Sheriff is Blamed,” Gazette, September 6, 1930: 9.
45 “Petrus Names Radebaugh as First Deputy,” Gazette, November 7, 1930: 1.
46 “Manchester Ousts Radebaugh as Visitor in County Jail Tour with the Sheriff-Elect,” Gazette, December 1, 1930: 1.
47 “Deputy Sheriff’s Car in Collision; ‘Red’ Hershey Slighty Hurt,” Gazette, September 6, 1934: 20.
48 Dick Everett, “Linn Sheriff’s Staff Well Equipped,” Gazette, June 23, 1935: 4.
49 Fred Benson, “Popular Man in Unpopular Job — That’s Roy Radebaugh,” Gazette, August 1, 1937: 9.
50 Gladys Skelley, “Legally, He’s ‘Bad News Tony,’” Gazette, April 23, 1944: 3.
51 “Radebaugh Funeral,” Gazette, January 19, 1945: 14.
52 “Deputy Sheriff Radebaugh Dies,” Gazette, January 18, 1945: 1.