Reuss grew up in the St. Louis suburb of Overland, Mo., and he yet associates summer with "soft breezes through the trees and the voice of Harry Caray doing Cardinal broadcasts." But he was not a particularly avid Cardinal fan, yearning instead to play somewhere in California. "I wanted to live in California long before I'd ever been there," he says. "I was the only kid in St. Louis in the '60s who used surfer slang." However, he signed with the Cardinals in 1967, after the team agreed to finance a Hawaii vacation for his parents and his own college education, which he spent at three different institutions. After pitching three years for the Cardinals, he was traded to Houston and then to Pittsburgh.
"There are certain things you can do to make sure you're traded," says Reuss. "You can put your uniform number on your license plate. You can buy a home in the city where you play. And you can become the player representative."
Reuss has taken some of these steps in his various stopovers, but by the time Houston shipped him to Pittsburgh, he had despaired of ever reaching California, so he simply bought a house in Santa Barbara, and proposed that this should be a permanent home for him and his family. "Within a year," he says, "I was divorced."
He is happily remarried now and living in Orange County, almost 40 miles from Dodger Stadium. He has a pretty dark-haired wife, Terri, and a 9-month-old son, Jason, who is as blond as Jerry. The fellows in his neighborhood are "as crazy as I am," he says happily. "We play trick-or-drink on Halloween." He has his new fastball. And if he continues to pitch the way he has, he might even have a Cy Young Award.