Introducing… Norm Siebern

Although Siebern is best remembered today as one of the players the Yankees traded to the Kansas City A’s to land the great Roger Maris, what typically gets lost is the fact that Norm was a helluva player for the A’s.  An on-base stud with decent power, Norm made three American League All-Star teams and won a Gold Glove.  The left-handed hitter/right-handed thrower was awarded MVP votes three of the four years he played for the lowly Kansas City Athletics.

Originally signed by the Yankees in 1951, Siebern was a spring training sensation for the Bronx Bombers in 1956.  An injury kept him out of action for a time but when he was finally healthy the hot bat he wielded in the spring had turned cold.  He spent the next year down in the bushes, punishing minor league pitchers.  He made the Yankees in 1958 and was their regular left fielder.  Norm won his Gold Glove Award that year as he hit an even .300 with 14 dingers for the AL Champs.  The Yankees went to the World Series and Norm helped them topple the Braves.

The Yankees were managed by goofy Casey Stengel at the time and Case enjoyed platooning his players.  Due to the constant shuffle, Norm never exceeded 55 RBI while with the Yankees.  After the 1959 season, Siebern wouldn’t have to worry about the platoon situation since he was dealt to the doormat Athletics with former Yankees icons Hank Bauer and Don Larsen for Roger Maris.  Norm, who had played strictly left field for the Yankees, rotated between left and first base with the Athletics.  His first year with Kansas City he socked 19 homeruns and 31 doubles… but he was just getting warmed up.

In the famous 1961 season, Norm drove in 98 runs and posted a nifty .384 on-base percentage.  Offensive numbers were inflated throughout baseball in ’61 before they came back down in 1962–but nobody told Norm.  Siebern enjoyed his greatest season in 1962 when he scored 114 runs, drove in 117 and drew 110 walks.  He also set personal highs with 25 homeruns, 185 base hits and an amazing offensive line of .308 BA/.412 OBP/.495 SA.  Named to the first of three consecutive All-Star teams, Norm had settled in at first base by this time and gave the A’s more production out the position than the Yankees were getting.

Norm reached 80 runs scored and RBI in 1963 but his numbers, which were solid, weren’t as awe-inspiring as they had been in ’62 and the A’s traded him to Baltimore for all-or-nothing slugger Diamond Jim Gentile.  As the Orioles everyday first baseman in 1964, Siebern honed his batting eye to perfection.  He paced the American League with 106 walks and posted his seventh consecutive season with a double-digit homerun total.  But when his power began to fade in the mid 1960s, Norm’s days as a regular were over.  He would spend some time as a reserve/pinch hitter with the Giants and Red Sox in the late 1960s.  He had a pinch hit single off Hall of Famer Bob Gibson in the 1967 World Series–his last Fall Classic action.

THE NUMBERS

G 1,406/R 662/H 1,217/2B 206/3B 38/HR 132/RBI 636/SB 18/BB 708/SO 748/BA .272/OBP .369/SA .423

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