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PASSINGS / Wresley Rush

Sportscaster had a varied career

January 19, 2009|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Wresley "Red" Rush, 81, a versatile sportscaster who called games for the Oakland A's and other major league baseball organizations as well as college and professional basketball teams, died Jan. 11 at a care facility in Moraga, Calif. A longtime resident of Orinda, he had Alzheimer's disease.

As the voice of Loyola University of Chicago in the 1960s, Rush delivered the memorable "We won! We won! We won the ballgame!" radio call when the Ramblers basketball team defeated two-time defending champion Cincinnati in overtime in the 1963 NCAA championship game.

Rush was born July 2, 1927, in Long Beach. He served in the Navy during World War II and attended USC, where he intended to study law but got sidetracked by radio broadcasting.

"He went to a [Harlem] Globetrotters game one night, and the P.A. guy showed up drunk," his son Casey Rush told the San Francisco Chronicle. "My dad was sitting in the front row. They were wondering who would do the P.A., and my dad said, 'I'll do it' . . . and fell in love with it."

Working at the whim of the late Charlie Finley, Rush called games for the eccentric owner's Kansas City A's in 1965 and again in 1971, 1979 and 1980 after the team had moved to Oakland. Rush also broadcast games on radio for the Chicago White Sox from 1967 to 1970 and the St. Louis Cardinals in 1984.

In a wide-ranging career, he did radio play-by-play for DePaul basketball, UC Berkeley football, the Golden State Warriors, the Lakers before they moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles in 1960 and the Anaheim Bullfrogs roller hockey team in the early 1990s.

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