Ossie Bluege, a member of the Washington Senators' three pennant-winning teams of 1924, 1925 and 1933, died last night at his Edina, Minn., home following a stroke. He would have been 85 on Oct. 24.
During his 18-year playing career with the Senators, Mr. Bluege was widely considered one of the major leagues' most skilled third basemen, and compiled a career batting average of .272. He managed the Senators for five years (1943-47), after completing his playing career in 1939.
Accompanied by his family, Mr. Bluege was in Washington Sunday to be honored in ceremonies at halftime of the Redskins-Lions football game and saw his name unveiled in RFK Stadium as a new member of Washington's Hall of Stars.
A Chicago native and graduate of the city's sandlots, Oswald Louis Bluege joined the Senators in 1921 from Peoria, Ill., of the Three-Eye League, and was a fixture at third for two decades.
Mr. Bluege combined defensive ability at third base with speed on the bases, and was especially admired for what Manager Bucky Harris called his "quick glove." It was said that he played the shallowest third base in the American League, relying on his quickness to get to ground balls.
Mr. Bluege was appointed manager of the Senators in 1943 following dismissal of Harris and immediately took the team to its highest finish in a decade, second place, behind the New York Yankees.
Again in 1945, he guided the Senators to a second-place finish, trailing the pennant-winning Detroit Tigers by a game and a half. The Senators of that year were distinguished for their four-deep pitching staff of knuckleballers, Dutch Leonard, Roger Wolff, John Niggeling and Mickey Haefner.
During most of Mr. Bluege's managerial tenure he was operating with many so-called wartime ballplayers. At one point during his tenure, the Senators signed an outfielder named Ed Boland, out of the New York City Sanitation League.
Following his retirement as manager, Mr. Bluege was named director of the Senators' farm system. When Calvin Griffith moved the franchise to Minneapolis in 1960, Mr. Bluege went along and became team controller and executive secretary until his retirement in 1971.
Mr. Bluege is survived by his wife, the former Wilor Maxwell, and three daughters, Carol Elaine Leber of Dallas and Wilor Bluege and Lynne Bluege of Edina.