Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

From Colby baseball to the Chicago Cubs: Norm Gigon

WATERVILLE, Maine -- Colby College graduate Norm Gigon likely would have had a big smile on his face after the Chicago Cubs won a World Series title early Thursday morning for the first time since 1908.

Gigon, who passed away in 2013, played his only season of major league baseball with the Cubs in 1967 after seven years in the minors.  Interestingly, one of his players at Lafayette College, where Gigon was the head coach for 14 years, was Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

Gigon played baseball for two years under Colby legend John Winkin, and basketball for three years before signing with the Philadelphia Phillies in spring of 1959. Gigon returned to Colby and earned his degree in history and government in 1960.

While Gigon played in both infield and outfield in his two years of baseball at Colby, he was a utility infielder during his professional career. After kicking around the minors in such places as Williamsport (Pa.), Birmingham (Ala.), Chattanooga (Tenn.), and Little Rock (Ark.), Gigon was traded to the Cubs in 1966 and played with Tacoma (Wash.) of the Pacific Coast League.

With Cub great Ron Santo out with an injury, Chicago and Hall of Fame manager Leo Durocher had Gigon start the 1967 season in the major leagues. 

Gigon made his major league debut April 12, but received his first start April 23. With the Cubs up 4-2 and two outs, Gigon hit his first and only big league home run to left field to help beat the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played 34 games that lone big league season, mostly at second base.

"Everything that has happened to me this spring has been a surprise," Gigon told the Pittsburgh Press after the April 23 game. "I gave away all my equipment except a glove two years ago. I wasn't getting a chance to make the majors and I didn't want to spend my career in the minors."

Gigon, a New Jersey native, valued education and spent three off-seasons, while in the minor leagues, earning his master's degree in history from the University of Rhode Island. He wrote his master's thesis on British imperialism in East Africa.

With baseball still about 10 years away from free agency and lucrative contracts, Gigon ended his playing career after 1967 and became head coach at Lafayette from 1968 to 1982. Maddon, who also was recruited for football, was at the school from 1972 to 1976. Gigon converted Maddon into a catcher and he played four seasons of minor league baseball before becoming a coach.

Baseball drops two games
April 2, 2017 Baseball drops two games