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MSHSL History Capsule: Paul Giel

Posted: Thursday, October 20, 2022 - 10:07 AM

Winona native Paul Giel was revered in the late 1940's as one of the most gifted, all-around high school athletes in Minnesota history. The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder starred in football, basketball and baseball for the Winhawks before graduating in 1950.

He remained true to his Minnesota roots and enrolled at the University of Minnesota where he gained All-American recognition in football and baseball. In 1953, his senior season of football, he was selected the Associated Press Back of the Year, and by United Press International, he was chosen the Player of the Year. Giel was a narrow runner-up to Notre Dame’s John Lattner for the Heisman Trophy, an honor given to the top player in college football for that season.

Giel played Major League Baseball between 1954 and 1961 as a pitcher with the New York Giants, San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates and the Minnesota Twins. He missed the 1955 season to complete a military obligation as an Army Officer in Germany.

In 1988, Giel was selected for induction into the Minnesota State High School League’s Hall of Fame, and later, was selected for the National High School Hall of Fame.

He passed away in 2002 at the age of 69.

Winona's Paul Giel was a three-sport star who went on to play professional baseball.

Winona's Paul Giel, a three-sport standout in football, basketball and baseball, went on to star at the University of Minnesota and then was a pitcher in the Major Leagues.

Winona High School pays tribute to its three-sport star with the football field named in his honor.

Paul Giel Field in Winona is a tribute to the heroics of the three-sport star at Winona High School.

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