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Robert "Bob" Carl Oldis

Robert Carl Oldis was born to Edward and Emma Oldis on January 5, 1928, in Preston, Iowa. Edward, the son of German immigrants, served as the postmaster in Preston, but the family – three boys and one girl (another brother died at birth), along with Edward and Emma - moved to Iowa City when Bob was four. Fortuitously, the home was a block from an empty lot where the neighborhood kids gathered for endless games of baseball.

Edward had played semi-pro baseball, and he saw potential in Bob. He played American Legion baseball along with his elder brother Eddie where he began playing catcher. Bob also played fast-pitch softball because Iowa City High School, where he attended, did not have a baseball team until his junior year. As a result, Bob graduated from high school having never been scouted, prompting his father to send him to Jack Rossiter’s baseball school in Florida. After a month, and out of a class of over 200 hopefuls, Oldis and eight others were offered professional contracts. The 6’ 1” catcher’s professional career began with the Emporia Blue Jackets, the Washington Senators’ affiliate in the Class D, Virginia League.

After minor league stops in Charlotte, North Carolina and Chattanooga, Tennessee, the 25-year old made his Major League debut on April 28, 1953 against the Chicago White Sox. Oldis returned to Class A Charlotte in 1955, then back to Chattanooga in June where he remained through the 1956 season. In October, the World Champion New York Yankees bought his contract from Washington and sent Oldis to their American Association affiliate. Bob stayed in the Yankees' system until November 30, 1959, when he the Pittsburgh Pirates selected him in the Rule 5 draft.

Oldis debuted with the Pirates in1960, serving as their backup catcher. He appeared in 22 regular season games, teaming with Roberto Clemente, Smokey Burgess, Bill Mazersoki, and Harvey Haddix, Oldis enjoyed the Pirates' run to the National League pennant, and he played in two games in the World Series. He won a championship ring after Mazeroski’s home run over the left field fence at Forbes Field clinched Game Seven for Pittsburgh.

After the championship season, Oldis appeared in only four games for the Pirates in 1961. On June 2 he was sent down to Columbus of the International League, then sold to the Phillies in October. He appeared in 85 games for Philadelphia over the next two seasons, and played his final big-league game on September 29, 1963, against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He remained with the Phillies as a coach in 1964, the season that Philadelphia suffered an epic late-season collapse to the St. Louis Cardinals. He eventually served as a coach for the Minnesota Twins and Montreal Expos. Then in the early 1970s, Oldis joined the scouting fraternity, and he has worked in that capacity through 2018, most recently as the Midwest scout with the Miami Marlins. In 2019, he relocated to Arizona.

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