A slick-fielding shortstop in the minors, Oester couldn’t beat out Dave Concepcion there and became the Reds starting second baseman in 1980 instead. The scrappy switch-hitter with occasional power played at least 150 games each year from 1982 to 1986 before breaking his leg in a collision with the Mets’ Mookie Wilson in July 1987, then missed the remainder of the 1987 season and the first half of 1988 before regaining his job from Jeff Treadway with a .280 average in 54 games upon his return.
In 1990 Oester hit a career-high .299. His two-out double in the eighth inning of a May 16, 1989 game against Pittsburgh broke up rookie pitcher Randy Kramer‘s no-hit bid. He retired after the season, and later coached with the Reds and Tigers.
Oester was offered the Reds’ managerial job when Jack McKeon was fired in October 2000, but was insulted by the Reds’ low salary offer and was enraged when the team unexpectedly hired Bob Boone instead. A day later, he called Cincinnati GM Jim Bowden “the worst person in the world” but stayed on as the club’s third-base coach.