Love letter to baseball: Reds fan keeps 20 seasons worth of scorebooks
CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The power of sports can be a beautiful thing. Some live and die with their teams, hanging by a thread for every shot, throw, or pitch. For one Cincinnati Reds fan, the team and game were more; they served as a companion.
Throughout thousands of pages, her love for the game over the years is evident.
Notebooks upon notebooks spanning two decades of Reds baseball tell the story of Minnie Lee Olges.
Olges attended Campbellsville College before starting a family in Louisville, Kentucky.
Her family would eventually produce 14 grandchildren. The youngest of those grandkids, Mike Murphy, stumbled upon her life work.
Twenty notebooks for 20 seasons of baseball games.
“Just mounds and mounds, I mean, they’re like historical archives of the Reds,” Murphy explained.
Growing up, Murphy was a catcher.
In Reds’ country, any kid in Little League playing catcher likely idolized the great Johnny Bench.
This grandson would bike to grandma’s house every morning to check the box score from last night’s game.
“And I would go straight to the book and look for Johnny Bench," recalled Murphy. "And I would go straight for the 'H' and that’s no lie. All I wanted to see was an 'H' for a home run.”
Grandma Olges lived alone but she didn’t live lonely.
The sounds of play-by-play duo Marty and Joe echoed through the house, keeping her company while her writing in notebooks kept her busy.
Every night and every game for 20 seasons she kept handwritten scores.
Using a blue pen and her own system of keeping score grandma Olges started using anything she could find.
She used basketball scorecards, half sheets of paper, a trapper keeper, and full notebooks for entire seasons of Reds’ baseball.
At points, she even made a notebook using a telephone cord.
But what she never used is a ready-made baseball scorebook.
“She never asked for it," Murphy explained. "It was part of her routine, filling her time, I don’t think she would’ve had it any other way.”
The homemade scorebooks are stuffed with Cincinnati’s iconic names and the Reds’ iconic games.
Her works were more than just scores. She documented history, like Pete Rose’s 4,192nd career hit in 1985.
Grandma Olges’ collection isn’t perfectly complete though.
In 1988, Reds pitcher Tom Browning was on the mound to face the Los Angeles Dodgers.
That Friday game at Riverfront Stadium was supposed to start at 7:30 p.m. but mother nature wasn’t having it.
What ensued was a nearly two and a half-hour rain delay.
That night, Olges etched this message in her notebook for the ’88 season:
″I can’t make it, I’m dead tired, I need to go to bed."
When she woke the following morning, she learned of Browning’s historic perfect game.
“Just my luck, the best game of the year, and I miss it,” she wrote in her notebook.
Regular season games, All-Star games, playoff games, and her final entry - the 1991 World Series game seven between the Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves.
Twenty years, 20 notebooks and more than 3,000 box scores.
It’s a love letter to baseball that fittingly started on an envelope.
Until her 85th birthday, Grandma Olges kept score.
At the age of 90, she passed away but her grandson keeps her memory alive after uncovering her notebooks by sharing her daily scorebooks on Twitter:
Copyright 2020 WXIX. All rights reserved.