Libby Richard (1993)
Of all Maine pitchers who climbed the ladder of organized baseball but failed to reach the top rung, the name of Dick Libby must stand out. Dick spent 8 seasons In pro ball and enjoyed success right through AAA.
He has a wealth of memories because he played with and against some of the best of his era.
Dick was born in 1926 at Bridgton, the little town that sent HoFers Willard and Jim Mains to the Big Top.
He began his schoolboy career at Bridgton H.S., but spent his junior year at Fryeburg Academy, where he Says he benefited immensely from the teaching tips of Cliff Gray (HOF 76).
He graduated from Bridgton in war-time 1944 and left to serve in the Marine Corps til 46.
He participated in the Guadalcanal and Okinawa invasions.
In 1947 Libby, who was a husky southpaw, began his diamond odyssey at Watertown, N.Y. For this Class C (remember those classifications?) Border League team, Dick recorded a 10-4 mark with an ERA of 3.35 -- a good Start for a rookie.
1948 was spent in Pennsylvania with Sunbury of the Class B Interstate League.
A 14-6 record at Sunbury, coupled with a 3.41 ERA, won a promotion to Class A. At Columbia, S.C. in the South Atlantic (Sally) League, DICK was areal workhorse and compiled 15 wins and 14 losses.
1950 was spent in West Virginia where, with Charleston of the Central League, Dick suffered his first losing season (9-14 and ERA 4.30).
But Dick must have impressed somebody -- or maybe he had a super spring the next year -- because in 1951 he was promoted to Syracuse, N.Y. in the AAA International League.
During this season, the N.Y. Giants bought his contract and he swung over to the Ottawa Giants.
He won 4 and lost 5 in 1951 (the big year for the Giants and Bobby Thompson) and registered a neat 2.61 ERA.
1952 was a big year for Dick.
He campaigned for the noted Minneapolis Millers, one of the minor league's most legendary franchises.
At Minneapolis, he pitched with an entire team of future or past major leaguers and the black HoFer, Ray Dandridge. Chuck Diering, Daryl Spencer, Clint Hartung, Ray Katt, and Bill Howerton all enjoyed good stints in the Bigs’.
Dick started slowly at Minneapolis, but was torrid in the second half, going 7-1 in one month.
He beat such big names as Herb Score, the brilliant Indian prospect, and Gene Conley of Celtic/Red Sox lore. He finished at 14-9 despite a lot of late inning miseries.
He lost three shutouts in the 9th and was KO'd four times in the 9th when leading.
Following the 1952 season, he trekked to South America, where he pitched with Magellanes in the Venezuelan Winter League.
It was back to Minneapolis in 1953 and, after 4-6, he was demoted to Nashville (AA) in the Southern Association, where he finished 5-2.
Dick returned to Nashville in 1954 and closed his career with 15 and 14 and a 4.02 LRA.
Eight seasons -- 5 winning seasons and a combined 90 wins and 74 losses -- not bad for the big fellow from Maine.
He pursued a Career in management for Hall's Motor Freight system and then 31 years for Yellow Freight System until his retirement in 1986.
Dick resides in Gulf Shores, Alabama, with his wife, Emily.
From Baseball Reference
Position: Relief Pitcher
Bats: Left • Throws: Left
6-1, 188lb (185cm, 85kg)
Born: May 4, 1925 in Bridgton, ME
Died: March 1, 2010 (Aged 84-301d) in Gulf Shores, AL
Full Name: Richard Elias Libby
Dick Libby compiled a career record of 82 wins and 72 losses in his 268-game pitching career with the Roanoke Red Sox, Watertown Athletics, Sunbury Reds, Columbia Reds, Syracuse Chiefs, Charleston Senators, Ottawa Giants, Nashville Vols and Minneapolis Millers. He began playing during the 1944 season and last took the field during the 1954 campaign.