Dick Birmingham, a legendary Hillcrest High School baseball coach and business owner from Springfield, died on Tuesday. He retired from baseball instruction when he turned 80 years old last year.
Dave Davis, a friend, semi-retired broadcast journalism teacher and former baseball coach at Hillcrest High School, says Birmingham’s funeral will be Saturday at Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, Fremont Avenue at Primrose Street, at 10 a.m.
Birmingham was an internationally known coach and clinician. He also was president of Dick Birmingham Sports, a company specializing in baseball instruction at all levels.
Birmingham is in several Halls of Fame, including those for the American Baseball Coaches Association, the Missouri Baseball Coaches Association, the Iowa Baseball Coaches Association and the Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame. The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame inducted him in 2002.
He was the head baseball coach at Hillcrest High School in Springfield for 25 years and served as the Hillcrest American Legion Baseball head coach for 18 years. He was the American Legion Baseball Coach of the year in 1970 and the National High School Baseball Coach of the Year in 1979.
Birmingham was head of instruction and sales director at Mickey Owen Baseball School near Miller for 12 years and director of that school for 12 years. He also was a partner and director of Instruction for Baseball Schools USA for three years.
Birmingham was a co-founder and executive director of the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association and served on the Baseball Advisory Committee for the Missouri State High School Activities Association for more than 13 years.
Birmingham’s teams won more than 1,000 games. Fellow coaches and reporters say his teams always were fundamentally solid.
His high school teams won a state championship, reached the state semifinals five times, won district titles 10 times, and conference titles 15 times. His American Legion teams were national runner-ups twice, won three state championships and twice finished second in the state.
Birmingham was Hillcrest's first baseball coach after the school opened in 1958. Its baseball field bears his name.
Baseball101.com contributed to this report.