(L-R) Peter O’Malley; Rod Dedeaux, former USC baseball coach, in Moscow.


Rod Dedeaux

Rod Dedeaux was the legendary head baseball coach at the University of Southern California. The Trojans won 11 College World Series championships, including five straight titles from 1970-1974. Dedeaux was the USA baseball coach for the 1964 Olympic Games demonstration single game in Tokyo. The USA beat the Japan amateur all-star team, 6-2, before 50,000 fans. Dedeaux returned 20 years later to lead the USA baseball team when it was a demonstration sport and part of an eight-team exhibition tournament at Dodger Stadium during the 1984 Games of the XXIII Olympiad in Los Angeles. The USA team lost in the finals to Japan, 6-3, at Dodger Stadium. Dedeaux was co-founder of the Japan-U.S. College Baseball Championship Series, along with Renzo Ishii of prestigious Waseda University in Tokyo. Dedeaux served as Series chairman from 1972-1984 and then was chairman emeritus. Dodger President Peter O’Malley was an advocate of the Series and offered the use of Dodger Stadium as the host site in 1973, 1977, 1980 and 1982. Along with Peter, Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and International Baseball Association President Dr. Robert Smith, Dedeaux strongly supported baseball as a gold medal sport in the Olympic Games. Their tireless efforts, traveling around the world and holding meetings, eventually paid dividends as baseball became a medal sport in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

May 12, 1959 – Walter O’Malley with USC baseball coach Rod Dedeaux and two former USC star players seated (l-r) Bob Lillis and Ron Fairly, who were then with the Dodgers. Trojan Club honored the great record of Dedeaux with a plaque.

Courtesy of University of Southern California, on behalf of the USC Specialized Libraries and Archival Collections

Dedeaux was inducted into the College Baseball Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame in 1970 and retired after 45 seasons at USC as the winningest baseball coach in history with 1,332 victories. He was in the inaugural 1994 class of the USC Athletic Hall of Fame. Born in New Orleans, Dedeaux was the head coach for the 1964 and 1984 USA baseball teams when the sport was played as a demonstration in the Olympic Games in Tokyo and Los Angeles, respectively. A shortstop, Dedeaux played two games in the majors for the Dodgers in 1935 before a back injury curtailed his playing career. He was passionate about baseball and had an engaging and fun personality. Dedeaux regularly met with Peter O’Malley and was a frequent traveling companion to develop baseball in Japan, China, South Korea, Russia, Ireland, Spain, Taiwan and Australia. Dedeaux attended the opening of the baseball fields Peter privately built in Tianjin, China in 1986 and in Ireland in 1998. He was also with Peter for groundbreaking ceremonies for Matsumae Stadium in Moscow, Russia in 1988, the first baseball field in that country, as well as the Grand Opening of Matsumae Stadium on September 1, 1989. In 1992, they attended the first Olympic Baseball competition in Barcelona, Spain when baseball was a gold medal sport. In 2000, Peter and Dedeaux were in Sydney, Australia to watch the Olympic Baseball tournament, as their good friend Tommy Lasorda was USA team manager. Dedeaux founded and served as president of Dart Transportation, Inc., a trucking company that specializes in worldwide distribution and storage. He passed on January 5, 2006 at age 91.