Roy Rogers--Born to Root for the Reds

Article taken from The Elyria Chronicle Telegram, October 7, 1975

Roy Rogers one of the most famous white hat-wearing movie cowboys would also feel right at home weraring a baseball cap as long as it has a big red "C" on the front. Rogers temporarily abandoned the happy trails yesterday to follow the Cincinnati Reds to Pittsburgh in their quest for a World Series berth in the best-of-five National League playoffs against the Pirates.
"I've always been a Cincinnati fan." said the 63 year old western star during an interview aboard a jet flight to Pittsburgh.
HIS SPECIAL affection for the Reds is understandable since his birthplace is buried somewhere beneath the present site of Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium.
"I tell everybody I was born at second base," laughed Rogers, who cheered the Reds Sunday from a seat near home plate. In Cincinnati and Pittsburgh to mix baseball with business he's rooting for a Reds victory in the playoffs.
The Reds seeking their first World Series title since 1940 journeyed to Pittsburgh leading the series 2-0 one victory away from a sweep.
Baseball got into his blood early. Rogers, whose given name is Leonard Slye, recalls that pitching was his passion. But as a fan he prefers offensive fireworks. "I think they ought to paint the ball brighter to add more home runs to the game." said Rogers a resident of Apple Valley Calif.
SLUGGER JOHNNY BENCH and Reds hitter star Pete Rose are his curren ites. "But I get the biggest thrill out of the Reds' double play combination --- Dave Concepcion, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez." he said.
"I think maybe I was the reason Johnny struck out," said Rogers recalling that Bench had a bad day at bat. "Once when he came to the plate, he turned and nodded to me. I waved and he waved back. Maybe I caused him to lose his concentration."
Rogers grew up in Cincinnati and Portsmouth Ohio, spending five years on a riverboat traveling between the two cities.
"IM STILL A country boy." said Rogers. who left Ohio at age 17 with his father on a job hunting junket to California.
"We came back after four months, bit I hitch-hiked right back to the West Coast, I couldn't face that snow again," he said.
His career as a singing cowboy got off the ground a couple years later when he yodeled and sang on a late-night radio show. By age 26 he landed his first role as a singing cowboy, drawing $75 a week for his first picture.