Edd Roush, who won the National League batting championship twice while playing for the Cincinnati Reds, died yesterday in Bradenton, Fla. He was 94 years old.
Mr. Roush, who was the oldest living member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, was a winter resident of Bradenton. He apparently suffered a heart attack at Bill McKechnie Field before a spring training game between the Texas Rangers and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Although not as well publicized as some of his more colorful contemporaries, he was one of the finest all-round outfielders in major league baseball from 1917 to 1931 while with the Reds and the New York Giants.
He won the National League batting championship in 1917, with a .341 average, and 1919 (.321). He hit higher than .300 in 12 of his 16 major league seasons and had a career batting average of .323.
Mr. Roush was rated as one of the great center fielders of all time, in the category of Tris Speaker, Joe DiMaggio and Willie Mays.
''That Hoosier moves with the regal indifference of an alley cat,'' said Manager John McGraw of the Giants, who once made the mistake of repositioning Mr. Roush in the outfield. The batter promptly lined a triple through the spot that Mr. Roush had been covering before he was moved. Ignore the Manager
''Eddie, the next time I signal you to move, don't budge,'' Mr. McGraw said at the end of the inning.
Edd J. Roush was born in Oakland City, Ind., on May 8, 1893. He played briefly with the Chicago White Sox in 1913 and in the Federal League in 1914 and 1915 before the league folded.
He opened the 1916 season with the Giants, but was traded to the Reds by Mr. McGraw after 39 games because the Giant manager hated the 48-ounce bat that Mr. Roush used. It was the heaviest ever used regularly in the major leagues, four ounces more than the one swung by Babe Ruth.
Mr. McGraw learned that he had made a mistake as Mr. Roush won the batting championships in 1917 and 1919, leading the Reds to their first World Series victory in the latter year. The Giant manager reacquired Mr. Roush in 1927, but Mr. Roush did not play at all in 1930, holding out for the entire season. He was traded back to Cincinnati, where he batted a disappointing .271 in 1931 before retiring.
Mr. Roush was famous as a holdout. Every year he would not sign until shortly before the beginning of the season, because he hated spring training. He insisted that he kept himself in such good shape all winter that he did not need the six weeks' conditioning most players endured. Manager Pat Moran of the Reds conceded that Mr. Roush was correct about his own case. 'The Great Individualist'
''All that fellow has to do is wash his hands, adjust his cap and he's in shape to hit,'' Mr. Moran said. ''He's the great individualist in the game.''
Later in life, when Mr. Roush lived in Bradentown, he welcomed spring training. He would greet the arriving players and show them the small glove that he used in patroling center field and also the huge bat that lined out 2,376 hits.
After failing to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers of America, he gained admission in 1962 through a unanimous vote of the Old-Timers Committee.
''Thirty years is just too long to wait,'' he said. The rule stipulated that a player had to be retired for 30 years before the Old-Timers Committee could select him, but the waiting time was quickly reduced to 20 years after Mr. Roush was chosen.
Mr. Roush is survived by a daughter, Mary Roush Allen.