Roy Sievers

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Roy Edward Sievers

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Biographical Information[edit]

Roy Sievers was the first American League Rookie of the Year in 1949. He was a big, plodding slugger whose 318 career homers belie his true power due to the fact that he played for six years during his prime in cavernous Griffith Stadium in Washington, DC. Sievers clubbed 20 or more homers in 9 of his 17 major league seasons. He was an outfielder/first baseman 19 years (1947-1965), 17 in the majors (1949-1965) and three in the minors (1947-1948 and 1951).

A high school graduate, he starred in baseball and basketball. Growing up in St. Louis, MO only a few blocks from Sportsman's Park, he reportedly signed with the St. Louis Browns for a pair of spikes. After two injury-prone seasons and the Browns' move out of St. Louis, he was traded to the Washington Senators by the Baltimore Orioles for Gil Coan; there he became a bona fide star.

Sievers appeared as the swinging double for actor Tab Hunter in distance shots in the 1958 movie Damn Yankees. Hunter's character, Joe Hardy, was left-handed, so the right-handed Sievers was outfitted with a mirror-image Nats uniform and the film was reversed in production.

In 1960 he was traded by Washington to the Chicago White Sox for Earl Battey, Don Mincher and $150,000. In November 1961 he was traded by the White Sox to the Philadelphia Phillies, where in 1963, he hit his 300th career home run. In July of 1964, Sievers was purchased by the new Washington Senators from the Phillies. Sievers was released by the Senators in 1965, ending his baseball playing career at age 38.

In Washington, Sievers drove in 100 or more runs and playing at least 144 games each year from 1954 through 1958. In 1957, though his club came in last, Sievers led the American League with 42 home runs and became the first Senator to win the RBI crown (114) since Goose Goslin in 1924. He tied an AL record in July and August of 1957 by homering in six consecutive contests - a mark since eclipsed by Don Mattingly. He finished third in the MVP ballot. He remained productive through 1963 with the Phillies; that year, he matched Jimmie Foxx as the only player to pinch grand slams in both the AL and NL. In mid-1964 he was sold to the expansion Senators.

One of Sievers' biggest fans was then-Vice President Richard Nixon. In fact, when Nixon returned from debating Nikita Kruschev in Moscow, he sent word that he wanted Sievers to meet him at the airport. While assorted dignitaries waited for the future President, Nixon talked baseball with Squirrel.

Sievers coached for the Cincinnati Reds in 1966 and then managed in the minors for a few years after leaving major league baseball. Ironically, on similarity scores he is most commonly matched with former Browns teammate Vic Wertz.

Eventually, he worked for the Yellow Freight Company in St. Louis until retiring in 1986. Sievers has been a hit in numerous old-timers games, clad in a replica St. Louis Browns uniform. In fact, he has received many offers to buy the uniform, which was a gift from Bing Devine. He still attends the annual St. Louis Browns reunions. Once a Brownie, always a Brownie!

Career highlights[edit]

  • Set season and career records in home runs for the Senators: 42, in 1957 & 180, in 3547 at-bats
  • In 1957, Sievers belted home runs in six straight games to tie an American League mark held by Ken Williams and Lou Gehrig. The major league record is eight, set by Dale Long in the National League (1956), and matched in the AL by Don Mattingly (1987) and Ken Griffey, Jr. (1993).
  • One of four players to hit pinch hit grand slam home runs in both Major Leagues – the other three are Glenallen Hill, Jimmie Foxx and Kurt Bevacqua.
  • Hitting Streaks: 21 games (1960); 19 games (1961)
  • Had ten walk-off home runs in his career. Only Babe Ruth (12); Jimmie Foxx (12); Stan Musial (12; Mickey Mantle (12); Frank Robinson (12); and Tony Perez (11) have had more
  • In 1957, he had 8 consecutive home runs, the only ones for his team. This has been surpassed by only Babe Ruth (14); Goose Goslin (10); and Vic Wertz (9).
  • Led Central Association in, games (125), hits (159), runs (121), home runs (34) and RBI (141, 1947
  • Led Three-I League outfielders in assists (22), 1948
  • Led American League in sacrifice flies (11), 1954
  • Led American League in home runs (42), total bases (331), extra-base hits (70) and RBI(114), 1957
  • Led American League in intentional walks (8), 1960

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 1949 AL Rookie of the Year Award
  • 4-time AL All-Star (1956, 1957, 1959 & 1961)
  • AL Total Bases Leader (1957)
  • AL Home Runs Leader (1957)
  • AL RBI Leader (1957)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 9 (1954-1962)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 2 (1957 & 1958)
  • 40-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1957)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 4 (1954, 1955, 1957 & 1958)

AL Rookie of the Year
1948 1949 1950
ML Award Roy Sievers Walt Dropo

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Hall of Fame Voting: 1971 BBWAA 4 1.1%; 1972 BBWAA 3 .8%
  • TSN 1949 American League Rookie of the Year (first one)
  • BBWAA 1949 American League Rookie of the Year (first one)
  • In 1996, he was honored in the "Circle of Fame" at a Washington Redskins football game
  • Forty years after his final major-league baseball game, he helped usher in the National League's newest franchise - the Washington Nationals


  • Coaches in the organization tinkered with his batting style in an effort to hit more to right field; the result was a terrible sophomore season. "I said I was going back to my own way of hitting and I never let anyone change me again".
  • "Ted, you deprived me of my triple crown". Ted Williams was confused, until Sievers pointed out that although he had led the league in home runs and RBI in 1957 and had had his career high batting average, Williams had beaten him out by a mere 87 points.
  • Casey Stengel once said that Sievers was "the sweetest right-handed swinger in the league."
  • "Roy Sievers is a boy who symbolizes great character, sportsmanship and guts." ---Richard Nixon---


Principal sources for Roy Sievers include newspaper obituaries (OB), government Veteran records (VA,CM,CW), Stars & Stripes (S&S), Sporting Life (SL), The Sporting News (TSN), The Sports Encyclopedia:Baseball 2006 by David Neft & Richard Cohen (N&C), old Who's Who in Baseballs (none) (WW), old Baseball Registers (none) (BR) , old Daguerreotypes by TSN (none) (DAG), Stars&Stripes (S&S), The Baseball Necrology by Bill Lee (BN), Pat Doyle's Professional Ballplayer DataBase (PD), The Baseball Library (BL), Baseball in World War II Europe by Gary Bedingfield (GB) ; and others The Pacific Coast League: A Statistical History, 1903-1957 by Dennis Snelling; Baseball:Biographical Encyclopedia by the Editors of Total Baseball; The Historical Register, compled by Bob Hoie & Carlos Bauer]]; The Texas League in Baseball, 1888-1958 by Marshall D. Wright; and independent research by Walter Kephart (WK) and Frank Russo (FR) and others.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Thomas Boswell: "Roy Sievers was a solid major leaguer, but to one D.C. boy, he was so much more", The Washington Post, April 5, 2017. [1]
  • Paul Scimonelli: Roy Sievers: “The Sweetest Right Handed Swing” in 1950s Baseball, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2018. ISBN 978-1-4766-6869-7
  • Ed Scott: "Big Brown Squirrel", Baseball Digest, May 1950.
  • Gregory H. Wolf: "Roy Sievers", in Mel Marmer and Bill Nowlin, eds.: The Year of Blue Snow: The 1964 Philadelphia Phillies, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2013, pp. 207-212. ISBN 978-1-933599-51-9

Related Sites[edit]