DIck Siebert, University of Minnesota photo
The strength of the game of baseball in Minnesota today, from the little leagues to the high schools to American Legion programs and to colleges, is attributable to Dick Siebert’s preaching his "gospel of baseball” in countless clinics and seminars. ~ Rich Arpi, The Baseball Biography Project, Society for American Baseball Research
Dick Siebert is best known for his illustrious career coaching Gopher baseball. After playing professional ball intermittently over seven years, Siebert was hired in 1948 at the University of Minnesota and became the winning-est coach in Gopher history with a 754-361-6 record and a .676 winning percentage. His teams won three NCAA titles (1956, 1960, 1964) and 12 Big Ten titles. No wonder the U of M Baseball Stadium was named after him in 1979.
But Seibert became just as well-known throughout the state for his popular clinics. "Siebert and a number of his coaching colleagues began to hold clinics for coaches and players throughout the Upper Midwest. Coaches flocked to these clinics since many of them had played with and/or against Siebert and respected his baseball knowledge. While occasionally he spotted a player at these clinics who could help the Gophers, his real goal was to improve the level of play throughout the region," according to the SABR web site.
Seibert "brought the gospel of baseball" to Edina, as seen by the 1957 flyer (above) from our collection. Because Siebert lived here, his influence was even more pronounced.
His sons Dick Jr. and Paul both excelled at the game, and they helped their Edina teams complete great seasons. While in high school, Dick Jr. managed and pitched his Edina American Legion team to the state title in 1955. (He's pictured in the dark jacket below). He pitched for his father's Gopher teams and lettered in the 1957, 1958, and 1959 seasons. He didn't pursue a baseball career; instead, he became a prominent neurosurgeon.
Back row L-R: Kent Larson, Tom Moe, Larry Johnson, Dick Siebert Jr., Bill Strout, Tom Kelly, Bill HIbbs. Front Row L-R: Don Myers, Jay Diebolt, Butch Nielsen, Dave Sehlin, Tom Mulcahy. Bat boy Fenn George. Thank you to the following for their help identifying the players: Pat Barker, Charles Brown, Tom Kelly and Ray Hibbs.
Siebert’s younger son, Paul, was highly recruited as a high-school pitcher and decided to attend Arizona State University. Paul was drafted in the third round by the Houston Astros in the 1971 amateur draft. He had a brief major league career (87 games) with the Houston Astros, San Diego Padres, and New York Mets between 1974 and 1978.
Siebert was part of the infamous "Saturday Night Massacre" in New York. On June 15, 1977, the Mets traded Dave Kingman to the San Diego Padres for Siebert and Bobby Valentine, sent Tom Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds for Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson and Dan Norman, and Mike Phillips to the St. Louis Cardinals for Joel Youngblood. Siebert split the rest of that year as well as 1978 between the Mets and the minor league Tidewater Tides.
Dick and his son Paul are among more than 100 father-son players in the Major Leagues.
Do you remember the Siebert family? Did you attend any of Dick Siebert's clinics? Did he coach or assist any of his son's teams? I'd love to hear from you. Please contact me if this post prompts any memories.
The University of Minnesota Athletics web site has great info about Dick Siebert, including this video showing Siebert teaching baseball techniques.
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