It’s the birthday of former Twins pitcher and front office exec. Bob Gebhard, born in Lamberton, Minnesota in 1943. The Twins drafted Gebhard out of the University of Iowa in the 44th round of the very first amateur draft in 1965. That summer he went 11-2 with a 1.91 ERA for the St. Cloud Rox.
Gebhard pitched professionally for 11 years, including 30 relief appearances with the Twins between 1970 and ‘71, and two innings with the ‘74 Expos. He was a player/coach with the Expos’ triple-A club in ‘74 and ’75, minor league field director and pitching coach from 1976 to ’81, part of the major league coaching staff in ’82, and director of minor league operations through 1986.
Andy MacPhail brought Gebhard home to Minnesota in 1987, hiring him as director of major league personnel. Here’s a fun remembrance MacPhail shared of Gebhard’s first season back in Minnesota: “Literally we had just won the world championship and Bob Gebhard turns to me and goes ‘Damn, Andy, we won this thing. We were just trying to get organized!’”
He assumed the title of vice president of player personnel in 1988. Following the 1991 World Series, Gebhard became general manager of the expansion Colorado Rockies, who began play in 1993. He hired ’87 Twins World Series hero Don Baylor as manager, signed first baseman Andres Galarraga the day before the ’92 expansion draft, and pulled off a trade for slugger Dante Bichette immediately following the draft. He signed Larry Walker in the spring of ’95, and that year, just the team’s third in existence, the Rockies won the NL West. The following season the Rockies won the NL’s first-ever wild card spot. Gebhard resigned from the Rockies on August 20, 1999 amid speculation that he was about to be fired.
Gebhard served in the St. Louis Cardinals front office from 2000 to 2004, and as vice president, special assistant to the general manager of the Diamondbacks from 2005 to 2016. He received the Roland Hemond Award from the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) in 2012 in recognition of his contributions to the community of professional baseball scouts.
Gebhard makes his home in Centennial, Colorado.