CINCINNATI — Ron Roth is starting his 43rd season as a Major League Baseball official scorer at Cincinnati Reds home games and he couldn't be more grateful.
Whether he's recording a strikeout on his scorecard or determining a wild pitch or passed ball, Roth enjoys every aspect of being an integral part of a game at Great American Ball Park.
He's also had the significant support of his family and friends and the opportunity to be a longtime Moeller High School coach.
"I can't say I've had any regrets in my life," said Roth, who is in his 32nd season as the Moeller head freshman baseball coach. "It's been good. I've been very blessed."
Those blessings include 997 games as an official scorer for MLB starting on Opening Day 1980 at Riverfront Stadium when Roth saw the Reds shut out Atlanta and the late Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro.
Roth, 76, was asked to be the official scorer that early April day because the late official scorer Glenn Sample was the University of Cincinnati head baseball coach and the Bearcats had a game.
Roth, a former UC assistant baseball coach, and Sample worked together for 29 years as official scorers at Reds home games — memories and a friendship that were created for a lifetime.
Even if Roth wasn't the official scorer on a particular day, he'd watched the game from the press box and estimates he's watched over 2,000 Reds games overall.
Roth is scheduled to score his 1,000th game April 26 when the Reds host San Diego.
"Ron has an incredible passion for the game of baseball and he’s able to blend being a part of thousands of major league games with teaching the game to our freshmen," Moeller head varsity baseball coach Tim Held said.
Roth still utilizes a color-coded scorecard system that he and Sample started to this day. A yellow highlighted mark denotes a run scored. Red represents a strikeout. Blue equates to a hit while green is a base on ball.
From determining hits and errors to stolen bases or caught stealing situations along assists and putouts and plenty in between — there is plenty to know from the MLB rules book.
"I've seen a lot," Roth said. "I've scored three no-hit games which after they are over with you're glad you did but while they're going on you don't necessarily want to be a part of it."
Roth scored Tom Browning's perfect game at Riverfront Stadium in 1988. He saw the Reds joyously win the 1990 World Series. He scored the 2015 MLB All-Star game.
"It's very challenging but I think it's a profession or a job that I've just cherished for 42 years I've been doing it," Roth said.
Roth isn't just the official scorer sitting next to public address announcer Joe Zerhusen at GABP.
Roth has 593 career wins in his 32nd season as Moeller High School's head freshman baseball coach. He is also entering his 30th season as Moeller's junior varsity golf coach this fall.
"Ron has been a tremendous influence on hundreds of young men in the baseball program," Held said. "He has been able to provide them with a solid foundation of life in the baseball program and, more importantly, how to be a better young man."
Roth has coached sons and grandsons of players he previously instructed. There are times when he sees a former player in the GABP press box and they reminisce about the storied Moeller baseball program.
"He really takes an interest in the young men that he coaches," said Reds television analyst Chris Welsh, who once played for a travel team that Roth helped to coach. "He knows baseball, has a passion for the game. He's always willing to learn something more about it. And I just love being around the guy."
Roth enjoys discussing baseball of today and yesteryear. There are times in the media dining room when he's asked to explain a scoring rule and he's happy to oblige.
"What I've been really impressed with Ron over the years is how Major League Baseball has really given the official scorer's a guideline for just about every scoring call that's out there," Welsh said. "Every time I ask him a question he's knowledgeable, he comes right up with the rule."
Coaching baseball has helped Roth with the scoring details of a game. However, it's the relationships he's built over the years at different levels of baseball which he treasures the most.
"I can't begin to tell you how rewarding coaching is," Roth said. "It just adds to the fact that it's at Moeller High School who takes everything — family, academics and athletics to the hilt. Again, it's been my life. I don't want to quit down here at the ballpark or coaching kids. They keep you young."
That fountain of youth is evident in the winter, too. Roth has kept the scorebook for most UC men's and women's basketball home games since the early 1980s.
Roth said he is thankful for the love of his family in every way and especially throughout the sports calendar year.
Roth and his wife, Anne, have been married 51 years. They enjoy spending time with the daughter, Julie, and their son, Alan, along with three grandchildren.
"I've been gone from home a lot because of all this stuff and my wife and my two kids and my three grandkids have been very supportive of me," Roth said. "And I couldn't ask for anything more."