|First baseman / Left fielder|
November 2, 1920|
St. Louis, Missouri
|Died: November 20, 1998
|April 16, 1946, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 1, 1953, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Runs batted in||360|
|Career highlights and awards|
Richard Alan Sisler (November 2, 1920 – November 20, 1998) was an American player, coach and manager in Major League Baseball. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, he was the son of Hall of Fame first baseman and two-time .400 hitter George Sisler. Younger brother Dave Sisler was a relief pitcher in the 1950s and 1960s with four MLB teams, and older brother George Jr. was a longtime executive in minor league baseball.
Sisler attended Colgate University. He was a journeyman left fielder and first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals (1946–47; 1952–53), Philadelphia Phillies (1948–51) and Cincinnati Reds (1952). In an eight-season career, he hit .276 with 55 home runs and 360 RBI in 799 games. He made the National League All-Star team in 1950.
Pennant-winning home run
On the closing day of the 1950 season, at Ebbets Field, Sisler hit a tenth-inning, opposite-field three-run home run against the Brooklyn Dodgers that would lead to the "Whiz Kids" Phillies winning their first National League pennant in 35 years. Had Philadelphia lost, the Phillies and Dodgers would have finished in a flatfooted tie for the NL championship and a best-of-three playoff would have resulted. The home run made Sisler world-famous; Ernest Hemingway feted him in his novel The Old Man and the Sea. Recording a conversation between an aging Cuban fisherman and his young apprentice in 1950, before Sisler's famous home run, Hemingway quotes the older man as saying:
"In the other league, between Brooklyn and Philadelphia, I must take Brooklyn. But then I think of Dick Sisler and those great drives in the old park. There was nothing ever like them. He hits the longest ball I have ever seen."
His father, George Sr., was a scout for Brooklyn in 1950. When asked after the pennant-winning game how he felt when his son beat his current team, the Dodgers, George replied, "I felt awful and terrific at the same time."
Coaching and managerial career
After managing in the minor leagues with the Double-A Nashville Vols and Triple-A Seattle Rainiers, Sisler became a coach for Cincinnati in 1961, serving under manager Fred Hutchinson. In August 1964, he was promoted to acting manager when Hutchinson, suffering from terminal cancer, was forced to give up the reins. He led the Reds to a 32–21 record, and the team finished in a second-place tie (with the Phillies), one game behind the Cardinals. After his formal appointment as manager in October 1964, he brought the Reds home fourth in 1965 with an 89–73 mark before being fired at season's end. He then returned to the major league coaching ranks with the Cardinals, San Diego Padres and New York Mets. In his late sixties, he was still working with young players as an instructor in the Cardinal farm system.
- Rich Ashburn (September 1975). "When Dick Sisler Had His Moment in the Spotlight". Baseball Digest.
- John Garrity (1989-08-14). "The College Of Cardinals". Sports Illustrated.