SEASON: 5 | YEAR: 1953

Game 28 | December 16, 1953 | Paul Giel
The junior from Winona had just finished his fifth season of football by gaining 1,079 yards. Not only that, but major league baseball scouts were after him as a pitcher. Giel made multiple additional appearances as a Dunkers speaker and, in 1971, became the first former speaker to serve as Dunkers Head Coach.

Game 29 | January 26, 1953 | Lefty Gomez, Rogers Hornsby
Once again the Mid Winter Baseball Banquet furnished the guests, two Hall of Fame baseball players. Gomez, who also doubled as a humorous emcee, won 189 major league games, mostly with the Yankees in the 1930s and early '40s. Hornsby, a member of the St. Louis Cardinals' famed "Gashouse Gang," won the National League triple crown twice and retired with a career batting average of .358, highest in National League history.

(LtoR) Back row: Rosy Ryan, Lefty Gomez; Front row: Charlie Johnson (physician), Roger Hornsby

Game 30 | April 7, 1953 | John Mariucci
After a successful career with the Chicago Blackhawks, Mariucci came back to Minnesota to coach Gopher hockey in 1952-1953. He held that position until 1966. A member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, his Gopher teams won 215 games, and the new hockey facility on the University of Minnesota campus in 1993 was named in his honor.

(LtoR) Herman Lange, John Mariucci, Lyle Wright (physician)

Game 31 | April 29, 1953 | Jack Kramer
Seven years after his singles championship at Wimbledon, Kramer became the first tennis star to appear at Dunkers. Tall and powerful, he dominated men's tennis in the United States throughout most of the 1940s. He won the U.S. singles championship in 1946 and 1947, and led the United States to Davis Cup championships the same years.

Game 32 | May 11, 1953 | Biggie Munn
A former Gopher football great, Munn was entering his final year as Michigan State's football coach in 1953. He was hired to bring Spartan football into the Big Ten with success, and he exceeded all expectations, building a record of 54-9-2. He lobbied to have Notre Dame added to the Spartan schedule and promptly beat highly regarded Frank Leahy-coached teams three straight years. He served 18 years as MSU athletic director. He's a member of both the Gopher and Spartan Sports Hall of Fame, and the Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing still carries his name.

Game 33 | June 30, 1953 | Fred Fitzsimmons
Known affectionately as "Fat Freddy," Fitzsimmons replaced Chick Genovese as the manager of the Minneapolis Millers in the second half of the 1953 season, in which they finished fifth in the American Association. Catcher Ray Kaat led the team in hitting with a .326 average and 28 home runs. Fitzsimmons won 217 games over his major league career with the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers.

Game 34 | September 9, 1953 | George A. Barton
A well-known national boxing referee, Barton was a writer and columnist for the various Minneapolis newspapers from 1903-1957. He presided over more than 12,000 fights, including 25 in which world champions competed. He served on the State Athletic Commission from 1942 until his death in 1969 at age 84.

Game 35 | October 31, 1953 | Lowell "Red" Dawson
Dawson's Pittsburgh Panthers were ranked 14th in the nation when they came to Memorial Stadium to face the Gophers. Minnesota, in Wes Fesler's final year, was learning how to utilize the talents of Paul Giel, who won the Big Ten MVP Award in both 1952 and 1953. Fresh off a 22-0 upset of #5 Michigan, the Gophers destroyed Pittsburgh 35-14.


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