Ric Lessmann, who ranks among the all-time winningest baseball coaches in National Junior College Athletic Association history, will be inducted with the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in enshrinement ceremonies Jan. 25 in Springfield.
Lessmann joins an enshrinement class that includes former St. Louis Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter, former Kansas City Chiefs kicker Nick Lowery and recent Kansas City Royals designated hitter Billy Butler.
The ceremonies are scheduled Jan. 25, with an 11 a.m. reception at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in southeast Springfield and a 4 p.m. reception at University Plaza Hotel and Convention Center. The induction ceremony begins immediately afterward. Tickets are $150 each, and reserved tables of 10 are $1,500. All proceeds benefit the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
Known as one of the state’s most renowned baseball instructors, Lessmann was a head baseball coach for 46 years, including 27 seasons at St. Louis Community College-Meramec and 17 at Washington University.
Lessmann, who signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees in 1955, managed to recruit talent that led his teams to construct a career record of 1,365-556 (.711).
He was 963-318 (.752) at Meramec from 1967 to 1994. He guided Meramec to the National Junior College Athletic Association World Series nine times, winning the championship in 1974. He currently ranks 24th on the all-time list of the winningest junior college coach. His Meramec squads won 14 Region XVI titles and 16 Midwest Community College Athletic Conference crowns. At Meramec, more than 250 of Lessmann’s players earned scholarships to four-year schools and 40 signed professional contracts. Eight of his players went on to play in the major leagues.
Lessmann was enshrined in the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1991.
At Washington University, 11 of his 17 teams won 20 or more games, including a program-best 34-7 record in 2006. He compiled a record of 396-231 with the Bears. Lessmann also coached youth-league summer teams for 17 years. He last coached in college in 2010 at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
A graduate of St. Louis Southwest High School, Lessmann pitched six seasons in the minor leagues.
Along the way, he studied and later earned a bachelor’s degree in 1960 from Harris-Stowe Teachers College. He earned a master’s from Washington University three years later and completed 36 postgraduate hours at Saint Louis University in educational administration.