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tBBC Making The List: Jim Reeder


Making The List: Jim Reeder
via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here


This week let’s journey into baseball. The Buckeyes had some fantastic players in the wondrous world played on a diamond. Thus far in our journey to bring back a focus on past athletes from The Ohio State University – in baseball – we took a look at Frank Howard (also a basketball star) and Nick Swisher. I have a feeling we should add one more to that list.

James Bartlett Reeder was born in 1924 in Columbus where he would also grow up. He would be the middle son of three born to Faye Bartlett Reeder, a PhD and professor at The Ohio State University.

Jim was an All-American while attending OSU and was a member of the 1943 Big Ten championship baseball team. While with the Buckeyes, Jim lettered in three varsity sports: baseball, football, and basketball. His athletic and academic journey in Columbus though was shortened by World War II. It would be the same case for his teammate Keo Nakama. Jim served with the Marines Corp as a machine gunner. He would earn the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Once the war was over and Jim returned home he earned his B.S. from the Ohio State University and then headed west where he earned his M.S. from Indiana University in 1953.

Jim went onto coach thereafter, heading to Oberlin, Ohio where he taught at the University and coached baseball. From there he headed north and did likewise in Ypsilanti, Michigan at Washtenaw Community College.

Jim then began to really nail-down his reputation as a phenomenal leader of young talent as he packed up the “station wagon” and headed west. It landed him at California State University, Los Angeles. This was 1955. He would become Cal State’s Head Coach, a fledgling team looking for guidance. He remained as Cal State’s coach while assisting major league baseball teams with scouting until his untimely death at the young age of 47 in January of 1972.

Jim once scored two touchdowns in 1941 against the Wisconsin Badgers in Ohio Stadium in a Buckeye’s victory, 46-34, as a tight end on a end around from 35 yards out and a three yard reception from Quarterback (back-up at the time) Les Horvath. In 1943 in baseball he would, prior to heading into the Marines, smacked two home-runs while pitching seven innings in an 8-3 win against Michigan State. He would have “games” too in basketball (1943: 14 pts. 6 rebs. against NYU. 18 pts. 8 rebs. against Boston University. 19 pts. 9 rebounds against Northwestern.

Jim Reeder though would be remembered in the world of baseball, primarily as a coach at Cal State University at Los Angeles. Their field to this name proudly displays his name: The Jim Reeder Field. He is also a member of the California State University Hall of Fame. He would favor a quote from the Shakespearean play Julius Caesar: “Say to all – the world, This was a man!” This quote dons the entrance to the baseball field with his name.

Jim Reeder is a deserving Buckeye of mention because of two factors. He was a varsity player in three sports (football, basketball, and baseball). Not only was he a lettered player, but a participant of recognizable talent that is worthy of re-mention for those of us who are unaware. His service in the military too at a time of National Unity and of a justifiable journey by The United States is also commendable. His medals (Purple Heart and Bronze Star) prove his highlighted patriotism. Even though he is revered in LA at Cal State, having making their program what is then and has become, he was a Buckeye first. And though we normally do not like sharing our greats, we have no option here. In 1971 Jim put it best: “I love Cal State. They gave me the opportunity on the bigger stage that I knew I was capable of succeeding at. But what many here will never understand is that I am a Buckeye. I bleed scarlet and gray. I love Columbus; it is home in my heart and memories. Go Buckeyes …. Unless it is against one of my teams here at Cal State.”

Let’s face it …. Those words say more than Cal State alumni want to admit.

The post Making The List: Jim Reeder appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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