“If it’s a ground ball, I can field it,” said the rookie shortstop in 1922 when asked if he could adjust to playing third. He spoke truly. Bluege (pronounced Blu-ghy) held down third base at Washington for much of the following 17 years. His numbers were modest, but he was consistent and mild. He neither smoke nor drank, and was an accountant in the off-season, with Washington’s best hotels among his clients. Clark Griffith, the Senators’ frugal owner, feared that poring over figures would ruin Bluege’s batting eye, and ordered him to quit. As he never earned over $10,000, Bluege couldn’t afford to.
Bluege was Griffith’s organization man. After playing, he was a Senator coach (1940-42), manager (1943-47, including two well-handled second-place finishes), and farm director (1948-56). From 1957-71, for the Senators and Twins, he was club comptroller. Ossie’s younger brother, Otto, or “Squeaky,” had one season plus one game as a Cincinnati shortstop.