Norm Siebern: Traded for Maris, and an All-Star


Norm Siebern

Norm Siebern, one of four players the Yankees traded to the Athletics in 1959 to acquire Roger Maris, died last week at 82. Siebern went with Don Larsen, famous for his 1956 perfect game, Marv Throneberry, famous for being less than perfect with the 1962 Mets, and Hank Bauer, who became a manager with the A’s and moved to the Orioles, where he led a four-game sweep of the Dodgers in 1966. Needless to say, it wasn’t enough for Maris and two other players; Maris won consecutive MVPs and hit 203 home runs over the next seven seasons. Siebern hit 78 over four seasons for the A’s, but was a good player when Kansas City, unlike 2015, didn’t have many. Siebern’s A’s of 1960-63 improved every year, going from 58 wins to 73, but never finished better than eighth; one of his teammates was Jerry Lumpe, his former Southwest Missouri State Teachers College basketball teammate, accvoding to sabr.org. The two helped the school win NAIA national titles in 1952 and ’53. Siebern hit .296 with 18 homers and 86 walks in ’61, as Maris was hitting 61 homers, and finished 14th in the MVP voting to Maris’ first. Siebern was an All-Star for the first time in ’62 when he hit .308 with 25 homers, knocked in 117 runs and walked 110 times, and finished seventh, closer to MVP Mickey Mantle. He repeated as an All-Star in ’63 (.272, 16 homers, 79 walks, 27th in MVP voting), and again in ’64 as an Oriole when he hit just .245 but led the AL in walks with 106. His manager with the Orioles was Bauer, his old teammate and manager, but Siebern lost his job to Boog Powell and was an Angel when the Orioles won the World Series in ’66. Siebern had won the World Series in ’58 with the Yankees before being traded, when he hit .300 as a 24-year-old. But in Game 4 of the ’58 Series, playing the tough left field of Yankee Stadium in the afternoon, Siebern misplayed three fly balls into a triple, double and single as the Yankees lost 3-0 and fell behind 3 games to 1. Manager Casey Stengel defended Siebern — “I’m not asking waivers on him, and you can print that,” Stengel said, according to Siebern’s bio at sabr.org — but didn’t start him again as the Yankees won the last three games. Ironically, Siebern won a Gold Glove in ’58, his only one. Siebern returned to the World Series 1967 with the Impossible Dream Red Sox, joining in July. His role was limited to pinch-hitter, three times in seven games and all against Bob Gibson, singling once. Siebern played sparingly for the Red Sox the next year before being released. Career numbers (1956. 58-68): .272 average, .369 on-base percentage, .423 slugging percentage, 1,217 hits, 132 home runs, 708 walks, 206 doubles, 117 OPS+, 20.9 WAR, including 5.5 in ’62 and 4.8 in ’58 (.300/.388/.454).

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