Jack C. Doll Jr. never wore a Reds uniform, but he played for the team 25 years. And for the fans.
Doll, who died Monday at 69, was hired as the Reds organist in 1981 to perform between innings at old Riverfront Stadium.
His 53-year music career including traveling nationwide as a Baldwin Piano & Organ Co. product specialist, and entertaining dinner guests at the Phoenix, Meadows, the old Blue Ash Ramada Inn and other venues around Greater Cincinnati. He also played the old RKO Albee Theatre Wurlitzer Organ between movies, and during silent films, at Emery Theater.
The Price Hill resident also co-owned a Covington photography studio.
In 1986, Doll made headlines when the Reds, under penny-pinching owner Marge Schott, told Doll he would be replaced by taped music at Riverfront Stadium. The club asked Doll to record his music on cassette tapes. He refused.
"I thought if I made the tapes…. people might think it was really me up in the booth," he told Enquirer reporter Dale Parry for a story called "Organist May Be Out Of The Old Ball Game" on the Tempo section cover Friday, March 7, 1986.
In 1985, the Reds had moved his organ from the press box level to an elevated stage on the field level behind home plate, near the door used by groundskeepers, "and fans loved it," according to a 1999 Enquirer story.
Doll returned to Riverfront Stadium for Opening Day in 1999, after a 14-year absence, the Enquirer said.
"His style was spontaneous and tailored to the game, as if he were scoring a silent film. With a repertoire of '30s and '40s favorites — as well as stuff he made up on the spot — Mr. Doll serenaded players onto the field, lamented rain, followed pop flies and mimicked slides into home plate," wrote Kentucky Enquirer columnist Karen Samples in 1999.
He played 25 seasons for the Reds at Riverfront and Great American Ball Park, said Michael Anderson, Reds public relations manager.
His obituary at Brater-Winter Funeral Home in Harrison said Doll "shared his love of music and entertainment with his nephew, Rob Allgeyer, and many other local musicians. He was known for his humor and lighthearted personality."
Survivors include his wife of 44 years, Mary Beth; sons Ray, Andy and Tim; seven grandchildren; and sister Jill Allgeyer.
Visitation will be 2-5 p.m. Sunday March 26 at Brater-Winter Funeral Home, 201 S. Vine St., Harrison. Services will immediately follow at 5 p.m.