I wanted to see history, so after several interviews for a Gophers softball story, I wandered over to Siebert Field for the last game ever played there.
It was windy, but pleasant enough for the game. Had to eat a hot dog. Priced a little high at $3.75 but tasted so good at a ballgame.
The Gophers beat the University of St. Thomas 9-2. Andy Henkemeyer has the game's big hit, a grand slam for the Gophers in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Nice crowd of 1,421. Siebert Field was packed by the end of the first inning. Gophers basketball coach Tubby Smith arrived near the start of the game and found a spot in the grandstand benches. This was the 766th game at Siebert Field.
A list of key plays in the game:
-First hit of the game: Kurt Schlangen on a bunt in the first inning
-First RBI: Dan Olinger on a double down left-field line in first inning
-First run scored of the game: Matt Halloran
-Last Gopher hit at Siebert Field: Grand slam for Andy Henkemeyer to score Troy Larson, David Bettenberg, and Tony Skjefte in the bottom of the seventh inning.
-Last out of the game: St. Thomas' John Means on a groundout to second. Gopher pitcher Billy Soule was the last Gopher pitcher at Siebert Field.
Source: Gophers sports information office
* "This is the dugout where daddy sat," Eric Welter's wife says to her three young kids just before taking their picture in the Gophers' dugout before the game. There was a lot of picture-taking on Tuesday.
Welter played for the Gophers from 1995-97.
* The Gophers' five-piece jazz quintet played the national anthem.
* No. 24 was posted on the scoreboard before the words, at bat, before the game. That is a long-standing tradition. No. 24 was the number the late Dick Siebert wore on his jersey when he coached the team.
* All the Gophers' players had patched on their right biceps which commemorated the last game at Siebert Field.
* One black glove, with a ball inside it, lay in front of the Gophers' dugout during the national anthem. Not sure if that was meant to symbolize something or not.
* Dick Jonckowski, the Gophers PA announcer, gave his usual warnings to the fans: "Anyone parked along the railroad tracks, move your car immediately." And later ... "A Chevy Captiva is about to be towed."
20 memorable games
The Gophers have played 756 games at Siebert Field since it opened 41 years ago. Here are 10 worth remembering:
1. April 23, 1971: The Gophers swept Creighton 2-1 and 5-4 in the first two games played at Bierman Field, the name for Siebert Field at the time. Sophomore pitcher Dave Winfield struck out 12 and Rick Schoener hit a homer to break a 1-1 tie in the opener.
2. April 30, 1971: Bierman Field is formally dedicated. Former Gophers baseball coach and AD Frank McCormick throws out the first pitch. The Gophers swept Ohio State, 5-4, and 12-3.
3. April 5, 1973: Winning pitcher Dave Winfield went 3-for-3 with a home run, triple and single, drove in five runs and scored five runs as the Gophers routed Augsburg 18-1 in the first game of a doubleheader.
4. May 19, 1973: The Gophers scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to edge Illinois 7-6. The victory, in the first game of a doubleheader before nearly 3,000 fans, enabled the Gophers to clinch the Big Ten title.
5. May 24, 1974: Center fielder Jeff Hagen’s diving catch in the ninth inning saved the Gophers’ 4-3 victory over Miami of Ohio in a NCAA District 4 playoff game. The victory gave the Gophers a spot in the district championship game. The next day Southern Illinois beat the Gophers twice in the double-elimination tournament to deny the Gophers a return trip to the College World Series.
6. May 29, 1977: Brian Denman pitched a six-hitter and Jeff Kendall drove in four runs to lead the Gophers to a 5-1 victory over Florida in the Midwest Regional championship game. The victory gave the Gophers a 26-0 home record that season and earned them a berth in the College World Series.
7. April 21, 1979: Bierman Field is renamed Siebert Field in honor of Dick Siebert, four months after his death. The Gophers sweep a doubleheader from Illinois, 10-2 and 15-2.
8. March 31, 1982: The Gophers sweep St. Olaf 12-5 and 12-4 in John Anderson’s first two games coaching them at Siebert Field. At 26, Anderson is the youngest head coach in Big Ten baseball history.
9. May 16, 1988: The Gophers made coach John Anderson happy on his 33rd birthday by beating Wisconsin 15-4 and 5-0. The doubleheader sweep gave the Gophers a spot in the Big Ten playoffs and ended the Badgers’ chances for the playoffs.
10. April 24, 1990: The Gophers defeat Hamline 16-8 in the first night game at Siebert Field.
11. May 5, 1990: Brent Gates hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift the Gophers to a 6-4 victory over Wisconsin in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.
12. May 2, 1992: Keith Krenke hits four home runs -- two in each game -- and had 10 RBI as the Gophers split a doubleheader with Penn State. The Gophers rallied from an 8-0 deficit to win the first game 10-9 on Krenke’s two-run homer in the last inning, but they lost the second game 9-8.
13. April 4, 1993: Joe Westfall throws a no-hitter and strikes out 10 as the Gophers beat Penn State 4-0 in seven innings in the first game of a doubleheader. It is the team’s first no-hitter since 1970 and gave Anderson his 400th career victory.
14. May 26, 2000: The Gophers defeat Wichita State 10-7 in the first NCAA regional playoff game at Siebert Field since 1977.
15. April 14, 2001: Jack Hannahan went 4-for-4 with two solo homers and also walked twice in the Gophers’ 26-8 victory over Michigan.
16. March 29, 2003: The Gophers sweep Michigan State 8-4, 7-4. This is the earliest the Gophers have played an outdoor game at home since 1900.
17. May 27, 2004: Glen Perkins, in his final home appearance, throws a two-hitter and strikes out 15 in the Gophers’ 6-1 victory over Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament. Perkins improved his career record against Big Ten teams to 16-0 as a starter.
18. May 20, 2006: The Gophers defeat Indiana 3-1 in the first game of a doubleheader to give Gophers coach John Anderson his 900th career victory.
19. May 2, 2009: The Gophers routed Iowa 26-9 behind a 22-hit attack. Justin Gominsky and Mike Kvasnicka each had five RBI and a home run.
20. May 1, 2012: Last game scheduled for Siebert Field. The Gophers will play the University of St. Thomas, 6:35 p.m.
Source: College baseball historian Joel Rippel, whose biography of the legendary Gophers coach Dick Siebert is coming out later this month.
The Gophers have played at only two baseball facilities on campus since 1949:
1949-68, Delta Field, one block east of present ballpark
1968-70, Delta Field was renamed Bierman Field
1971-78, new Bierman Field
1979-present, Bierman Field was renamed Siebert Field
The Gophers, who finished second in the NCAA wrestling meet, had their team awards banquet last Sunday. The award winners:
MVP: Zach Sanders, a four-time all-american; third in NCAA meet as senior.
Leadership award: Sonny Yohn, three-time all-american
Most outstanding wrestler: redshirt sophmore Tony Nelson, NCAA heavyweight champion
Most dedicated wrestler: Kevin Steinhaus, led team with 34 wins
Most courageous wrestler: Jake Deitchler, wrestled seven matches before being forced to retire because of multiple concussions in his career
Most outstanding freshman and most falls awards: redshirt freshman Dylan Ness was the NCAA runner-up at 141 and had eight falls
Most exciting wrestler: freshman Logan Storley
Most improved wrestler: Chris Dardanes, fourth in NCAA meet
Men's golf: Erik Van Rooyen of the Gophers was named to the second all-Big Ten team. Teammate Robert Bell received a sportsmanship award.
Women's golf: The Gophers' Banchalee Theinthong was a second team all-Big Ten pick. Jackie Shepherd, her teammates, was one of the sportsmanship award winners.
Men's track and field: The Gophers are No. 25 in the latest USTFCCCA NCAA Division I outdoor rankings. The U of M successfully defending titles in two relays at the 103rd Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. Harun Abda, Travis Burkstrand, Nick Hutton and David Pachuta were on both. Their time in the 4x800 was 7:19.02 and the in the distance medley relay 9:36.21. The DMR set a new school record that was held since 1977, when head coach Steve Plasencia ran on that relay.