All baseball fans in the Denver area and beyond will want to check out the Denver Bears - New York Yankees Reunion being held May 3 at the Denver Athletic Club in downtown Denver sponsored by the Rocky Mountain chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research.
Former Bears/Yankees who will be on hand include Don Larsen, Ryne Duren, Herb Plews, Johnny Blanchard, Ralph Terry and Woodie Held.
The event will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will kick off at 10 a.m. with a player panel moderated by Denver radio host Irv Brown. The panel will be followed by a gourmet lunch with the players and after lunch the players will be available to sign autographs and continue the discussion. Participants will also have an opportunity to buy discounted tickets to that night's 6:05 p.m. game with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
You can reserve your spot at the event online ($75 for SABR members and $85 for non-members) or download and print the registration form from RM SABR's web site.
Here are a few notes provided by RM SABR on those who will be in attendance:
Woodie Held – Infielder – 14-year major league career. He played with the New York Yankees in 1954 and 1957. Before the era of home run hitting shortstops Woodie hit 20 home runs in his 1957 rookie year. He averaged 21 homers per year from 1959 – 1964.
In addition to his hitting skills, Woodie was a dominating defensive infielder with the Indians, averaging 136 games per season, between 1959 and 1962.
Don Larsen – Pitcher – 14-year major league career. He compiled an 81-91 major league pitching record with a 3.78 ERA and was a Yankee from 1955 to 1959. Larsen had a 9-1 record with the Denver Bears in 1955.
He is best known for pitching the only perfect game in World Series history in Game Five of the 1956 series. Using a no-windup delivery, Larsen used only 97 pitches to dispatch the mighty Brooklyn Dodgers in one of the most famous games in baseball history.In 1956 and 1957 Larsen won a total of 21 games while losing only 9 and finished his career with a 4-2 record in World Series play.
While pitching for the San Francisco Giants in the 1962 World Series, he defeated his former Yankee teammates on October 8 – which ironically was the sixth anniversary of his perfect game.
Ryne Duren – Pitcher – 10-year major league career. He pitched for the New York Yankees from 1958 to 1961. He pitched first no hitter in Denver Bears history.
As the most feared relief pitcher in baseball in the late 1950s, Duren led AL in saves – 20 in 44 appearances – in his first full rookie year in 1958. He was the hero of Game Six of the 1958 World Series, stopping a rally by the World Champion Milwaukee Braves in the late innings.As a bullpen specialist in 1959 he went 36 consecutive innings without allowing a run. From 1958 through 1959 he fanned 183 AL batters in 151 innings.
Pitching for the Los Angeles Angels in 1961, Duren set a major league record by striking out seven consecutive batters on June 7.
Johnny Blanchard – Catcher/outfielder – 8-year major league career. Johnny was on the New York Yankees roster in 1955 and 1959-1965.
While sharing catching duties with All-Stars Yogi Berra and Elston Howard, Johnny took full advantage of his opportunities. Between 1961 and 1963 he hit 50 home runs in only 707 at bats.In 1961 only one major league catcher (Yogi Berra, 22) hit more home runs than Johnny’s 21. Berra came to the plate 395 times while Johnny had 243 at bats.
At one time Blanchard held the record for most World Series pinch-hitting appearances (9) and pinch hits (3).
Ralph Terry – Pitcher – 12-year major league career. Ralph pitched for the Yankees 1956-1957 and 1959-1964.
Ralph was a workhorse for New York between 1960 and 1963, winning 66 games and logging nearly 921 innings.He led the American League in 1962 in wins (23), games started (39), and innings pitched (298). In 1963 he started the most games in the AL (37) and tied for most complete games (18).Ralph finished his career with 107 wins and a lifetime ERA of 3.62.
In the 1960 World Series, Ralph gave up the home run to Bill Mazeroski that gave the Pittsburgh Pirates the championship. In the 1962 World Series he led the Yankees to the title by beating the Giants twice (including a Game Seven, four-hit shutout) and posting a 1.80 ERA.
Herb Plews – Infielder – 4-year major league career with the Washington Senators and Boston Red Sox.
A sure-handed defensive player, Plews tied an existing Major League record when he participated in five double plays while manning second base for the Senators on September 26, 1958. Plews, who would now be labeled a super-utility infielder, hit well in his first two major league seasons, averaging .270, while playing second, third and shortstop.
Norm Siebern – Outfield - Had a twelve-year major league career with six teams. He played with the Yankees in 1956, 1958 and 1959. In his major league career, Norm hit .272 with 132 home runs. He was a three-time All Star and also won a Gold Glove.
Norm signed with the New York Yankees in 1951, and made it to the majors before he was 23 years old. In 1956, Norm suffered a knee injury that caused him to miss much of the season. The next year, he starred in the minor leagues at Denver and was chosen by the Sporting News as their Minor League Player of the Year. He was a regular in the majors from 1958 to 1966. In his first full season with the Yankees, in 1958, he hit .300 with a .388 on-base percentage.
After the 1959 season, Norm was traded to the Kansas City Athletics along with Hank Bauer, Don Larsen, and Marv Throneberry in the trade that brought Roger Maris to the Yankees. Norm spent four seasons with the A’s, hitting a peak in 1962 with numbers of .308/.412/.495 and 117 RBI.
After the 1963 season, he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Jim Gentile. In 1964, his average dipped to .245, but he had 106 walks and thus still was able to score 92 runs. In 1966, he was on the California Angels, and although he hit .247, he drew enough walks that he was close to leading the team in OBP. He finished out his career in 1967 and 1968 with the San Francisco Giants and the Boston Red Sox.