RIP Roy Sievers

Roy Sievers dies; Ted Williams — and Hollywood — loved St. Louisan’s swingSt. Louis Post-Dispatch
The first Washington baseball player to lead a league in home runs, has died. Roy Sievers was traded to the Griffith franchise in 1954 after playing for his hometown St. Louis Browns since 1948. He was 1949 AL Rookie of the Year, the first to win that award.

Primarily a leftfielder with the Senators, Sievers also played first base and occasionally third. Arguably the greatest #2 in D.C. sports history, he made three All-Star teams with Washington:

In six seasons with Washington, Sievers averaged 30 home runs a year and had four 100-RBI seasons.

His best season was 1957, when he clubbed 42 homers, beating out superstars Williams and Mickey Mantle for the American League home run title. Sievers, who had a .301 batting average that year, also led the AL with 114 RBIs.

According to the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), Sievers thus became the first player in major-league history to win the home run and RBI titles in the same year for a last-place club…

Sievers was even in a major motion picture:

In the 1958 movie “Damn Yankees,” Sievers was the “batting” double for Hollywood heartthrob Tab Hunter, who played the role of Joe Hardy. Whenever, Hunter — uh, Hardy — batted in the movie, it was actually Sievers swinging the bat. And for good reason.

Roy Sievers, Slugging Washington Senator in the ’50s, Dies at 90NY Times
Sievers was then vice-president Richard Nixon’s favorite Senator. After returning home from the kitchen debate with Nikita Khrushchev, Sievers was invited to a welcome-home party:

At the time, the Senators were in the midst of a losing streak, and when he greeted Nixon, Sievers recalled, “The first thing he said was, ‘What in the hell is wrong with the Senators?’

“And I said, ‘Mr. Vice President, we’re just not hitting good, the pitching’s not good.’ He said, ‘I’ll be out the next night.’ Usually, when he came out we’d win the ballgame. But we lost.”

The Senators went on to drop 18 straight games.

Beyond the ballpark, Sievers was part of the Singing Senators, organized by the team’s broadcaster Bob Wolff. One day in June 1958, Wolff, playing the ukulele, appeared on the Washington Mall with Sievers, his fellow outfielders Jim Lemon and Albie Pearson and a couple of Senators pitchers and joined them in song for the NBC-TV “Today” program, hosted by Dave Garroway.

Sievers also appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, one of the few appearances by a D.C. baseball on the front of that magazine. The article was titled: ROY SIEVERS ON THE ART OF HITTING.

Sievers was traded to Chicago after 1959 and finally experienced his first winning season with the White Sox and made another All-Star team. He then moved onto Philadelphia and stayed with the Phillies into the 1964 season. He returned to Washington with the expansion Senators, playing in 45 games in 1964-1965 before ending his career.

Sievers is a member of the Washington DC Sports Hall of Fame as well as St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame which provides the video below:

As for midday, April 5, I haven’t seen anything in the D.C. media or about Sievers passing. No word on if the Nationals will have any commemoration of Sievers.

On the evening of April 5, a Thomas Boswell column was published:

Obituary: Roy Sievers, slugging star for Washington Senators in 1950s, dies at 90

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