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Bob Sagers Sr. has a significant legacy in Greater Cincinnati high school sports

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Posted at 1:10 PM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-15 22:48:25-05

CINCINNATI — Former longtime Greater Cincinnati high school official and Ohio High School Athletic Association Hall of Famer Bob Sagers Sr. died Monday morning. He was 88 years old.

Sagers officiated for 50 years within the Greater Cincinnati high school sports community.

"Bob was the ‘patriarch of officials’ for so many years," said Lakota West athletic director Scott Kaufman, who is president of the OHSAA board of directors. "When he was on a game, the entire crew was better. He trained and impacted so many young officials who are better because of it. He was well-respected by coaches, officials, athletic directors, athletes and fans. Along with so many others, we honor Bob for all that he gave to high school sports in Ohio."

Elder football coach Doug Ramsey said Sagers officiated games when he played and coached. Ramsey said he had the utmost respect for Sagers through the years.

"I can still remember him helping me up off the ground after sacks in the early 80s," Ramsey said. "He always had a funny comment to go with it."

The Sagers family name became synonymous with high school sports officiating in Greater Cincinnati.

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Bob Sagers Sr. enjoyed being around his family along with being a longtime high school football and basketball official for decades.

The OHSAA said in 2018 that the Sagers family is the only family to have a father (Bob Sr.) and two sons (Bobby Jr. and Jon) in the hall of fame and that it most likely will stay that way for a long time.

Moeller basketball coach Carl Kremer said he remembers arriving in Cincinnati in 1984 as Sagers was the referee in significant games.

"He just had an incredible ability to handle people and he passed that on to his sons," Kremer said. "To me, when I think of Cincinnati sports, the Sagers family is right there at the heart of it. So a tremendously sad day me for personally and I think for all of Cincinnati."

Bob Sagers Sr., a former pro baseball player, was inducted into the OHSAA Officials Hall of Fame in 2004. The 1952 Roger Bacon graduate was inducted into the school's hall of fame the same year.

"High school football icon," said Ohio State defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs, a former Colerain High School head football coach. "Great man and great family."

Bobby Sagers Jr. was inducted into the OHSAA Hall of Fame in 2016 and Jon Sagers entered the hall in 2018.

Bob Sagers Sr., born Nov. 1, 1933, was a pro baseball player in the 1950s and early 1960s. He was in spring training with the Chicago White Sox in 1958. He batted .346 with Davenport (Iowa), the Class B affiliate of the White Sox that year.

Sagers, a third baseman, and outfielder/first baseman Harry Simpson were traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for former Reds slugger Ted Kluszewski in August 1959, according to Baseball Reference. Kluszewski batted .297 in 31 games in helping the White Sox to the American League pennant.

Sagers played Triple-A baseball from 1959 to 1961. He played with the San Diego Padres in the Pacific Coast League in 1961 and suffered a career-ending arm injury that year.

Sagers proceeded to start his hall of fame officiating career after his baseball playing days. He loved to talk about sports throughout his life.

This past weekend, Sagers shared a story with his son, Jon, about the late Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson in the minor leagues.

Jon still has the bat his father used in San Diego in 1961 and an officiating whistle — emblematic of his father's passion for sports.

Bob Sagers Sr. was remembered Monday as having a significant impact with people beyond the field or court, too.

"He was a class act," former Moeller football coach Gerry Faust said. "A great person. He was one of the best. There is no question about it."