Robert “Pops” Worst graduated from Steel High School (Dayton, Ohio) in 1911. He went to Denison College where he pursued a degree in law. Eventually he obtained his masters degree from Wittenberg College. Although Pops passed the bar exam and acquired his license to practice law, he never did. Instead Pops became an educator of young people. He began teaching in southern Ohio and by 1918 found himself back in Dayton where he served as athletic director at Stivers high school (1918 to 1954) Bob worst is considered the father of the Dayton city league. He has been recognized as an important influence in early Dayton high school athletics.
Between 1947 and 1951, Pops became a radio personality. One of his three weekly shows was called “Sports Memories,” hosted by WH I O radio. This was a most fitting avenue by which Mr. Worst could combine his love for sports and his passion to educate. The show was sponsored by Jim Flynn sporting goods located at first and Jefferson St., Dayton, OH. The motto he filtered into each show was “play-it-pays.” “Play” encompasses all recreational activities and “pays” equates to a happy and well-adjusted life.
In the fall of 2012 Shirley Worst (Pop’s daughter-in-law) donated what appears to be the entire collection of his manuscripts. This collection also included a sizable amount of recordings. As of December 27, 2012 two phases of this “project” have been completed. Phase 1 was the sorting of 500 to 600 manuscripts. All are hand written with some of them typed in the duplicate. 110 of these have been identified as “Sports Memories” (majority being local stories) Approximately 15 of these transcripts have been transposed to digital format (thanks to speak and write software from Dragon)
The remaining 500 or so transcripts pertain to history on a national and local level. Mr. Worst was known to 20,000 students of the Miami Valley as “Uncle Bob, the story man.” Each week Bob would visit different schools in the area and record half hour programs written by the students. The collection of transcripts include a wide range of subject material ranging from presidents of the United States to local Indian folklore.
Phase 2 of this “project” has been to bring the recordings back to life, and then find the capability to present them via digital format. Mrs. Worst also gifted a suitcase style phono player which dates back to the 1930s or 40s. The recordings came on (non-standard) 18 inch disks, so this particular player had to be used. As you can imagine, updates were needed.
Phase 3 of this “project” will be to sort through approximately 122-160 recorded discs. So far the quality of these recordings vary from disk to disk (from good to unplayable) You can hear hissing, and in some cases, skipping. It is probable, but not guaranteed, that these issues can be rectified. Improving the quality of these recordings will be part of an ongoing process.