By JOHN KOVACH
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
Ed Russ loves playing on the same baseball team as his son, Rick, but admits that sometimes they don't see eye-to-eye.
"There was one time when he was pitching and I was catching that he wouldn't listen to me [on the pitching signals]. He was always shaking me off," said Ed, 78, of Rick, 48, who are teammates on the Jamestown, N.Y., team in the 50-Plus Old-timers League. But, "I like it [having him as a teammate] because I know he is pretty good."
Ed, who is a catcher, designated hitter and coach, and Rick, who can play any position, share special distinctions on the team and in the league. Ed is the oldest player on the team, and may be the oldest in the league; while he and Rick may be the only father-son tandem in the circuit.
Different homes: But while Ed lives in Jamestown where he moved to from Cleveland after retiring in 1982, Rick still lives in Cleveland and doesn't come to every game.
"He'll attend the out-of-town games in the Youngstown area, but only comes to Jamestown three or four times a year," said Ed. "I got him on the team. He always played baseball. I started him in baseball. He has three brothers. All three played."
Ed has been playing for the Jamestown Oldtimers for about 15 years, and until about eight years ago was playing in two softball leagues as well, and five games a week in all.
"It got a little bit too much," he admitted.
"Right now I'm just playing [with the] Oldtimers, very limited, but still enjoying it."
Discovered softball: Ed said he has been playing baseball all of his life. "It was instilled in me," he said. But he didn't discover softball until 1941 when he was in a Civil Conservation Corps camp.
"They used a mush ball. That [was supposed to be] for girls. I found out it was tougher than baseball," said Ed, who has several roles with the Jamestown team.
"I coach first base all the time, and then I'll warm up the pitcher before the game. I may catch part of the game," said Ed.
But now, "We must have about four catchers. It seems everyone is a catcher. We have some new guys coming up, 51 and 52 years old. Once in a while I will go in and catch. I still wear all the equipment."
Ed and his wife, Jospehine, bought their home in Jamestown in 1978, but he commuted to work in Cleveland until he retired in 1982 from Stem Distributing as executive vice president of general operations.
Wife helped, too: Ed said Josephine "used to be one of the cooks that helps out when they [other teams] come from out of town."
Ed also visits former Jamestown players. "There are a lot of guys who played in this league that are in their 90s. In fact, I go to the nursing home and play cribbage with them," he said.
Manager Pete Norlander of the Jamestown team said Russ is a special player.
Family moment: "He's quite a story that old guy. One time we played at Penn-Ohio about five years and he caught both ends of the doubleheader, [one game each] on Saturday and Sunday." said Norlander, who also recalled a special baseball moment for Russ' family.
"During one game several years ago when they [Ed and Rick] both were playing in the same game, Ed's mother, who was in her 90s at the time, was in the stands watching the game," said Norlander. But, "His mother has since passed away."
Ed and Rick have helped Jamestown to an 11-5 record for fourth place in the 12-team league in the final regular-season standings.
But Jamestown won't be coming to Cene Park in Struthers for the league's championship tournament that is slated Friday, Saturday and Sunday, because the team still has several games remaining to complete on its independent schedule.