Richie Hebner

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Richard Joseph Hebner

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Biographical Information[edit]

Richie Hebner hit 203 home runs over his 18-year career. He held an offseason job as a gravedigger at a time when major league ballplayers sometimes still held other jobs during the off-season.

Hebner, a first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1966 amateur draft, reached the majors for good at the age of 21 in 1969. Along with Al Oliver, he formed a much-heralded rookie duo for the team. Hebner was a left-handed line-drive hitter with decent power, and played an adequate third base. He started at third for several Pirates' postseason teams in the early 1970s. Hebner was a slow runner, however, and his value as a starter was largely gone by his late 20s. He stayed in the majors for many years as a platoon first baseman who could pinch-hit and play some third and outfield, notably for the 1977-1978 division champion Philadelphia Phillies and later the Chicago Cubs in 1984. As a result, he played in 8 different National League Championship Series - but only once for the winning team, with the Pirates in 1971, when they defeated the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS and went on to win the 1971 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles.

After his playing career ended, Hebner was hitting coach of the Boston Red Sox from 1989 to 1991 and a member of the Philadelphia Phillies staff in 2001. He was the hitting coach for the Lynchburg Hillcats in 1997, Nashville Sounds from 1998 to 2000 and Durham Bulls from 2002 to 2006 and served as interim manager when John Tamargo was suspended for bumping an umpire. Following the 2006 season, Hebner was fired along with the rest of the Bulls field staff. In 2007, he became hitting coach of the Birmingham Barons. In 2008, Hebner was the hitting coach of the Nashua Pride, before being named as a replacement manager for the Frederick Keys on May 26th. After managing Frederick again in 2009, Hebner was hitting coach for the Norfolk Tides in 2010. In 2013, Hebner was appointed hitting coach of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the AA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays in the Eastern League. He moved up to the Buffalo Bisons in 2014-2016.

Hebner's brother, William Hebner, was an International League umpire.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Year-by-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1988 Myrtle Beach Blue Jays South Atlantic League 83-56 1st/3rd Toronto Blue Jays Lost in playoffs
1995 Syracuse Chiefs International League 33-39 5th Toronto Blue Jays replaced Hector Torres (0-1)
1996 Syracuse Chiefs International League 67-75 4th Toronto Blue Jays
2000 Nashville Sounds Pacific Coast League 34-51 13th Pittsburgh Pirates replaced Trent Jewett (29-28) on June 6
2008 Frederick Keys Carolina League 35-55 6th Baltimore Orioles replaced Tommy Thompson on May 26
2009 Frederick Keys Carolina League 64-75 6th Baltimore Orioles

Sources and Further Reading[edit]

  • Bill Cauley: "Richie Hebner Returns As Keys' Manager", The Frederick News-Post, January 13, 2009. [1]
  • Richie Hebner (as told to George Vass): "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, April 1984, pp. 94-96. [2]

Related Sites[edit]