Teams: Chicago Cubs, 1931-1941; Brooklyn Dodgers, 1941-1943; 1946; Boston Braves, 1946; Pittsburgh Pirates, 1947
Until Rod Carew retired in 1985, Billy Herman was the last player to appear in 1,000 or more games at second base and retire with a career batting average above .300. During his 15 major-league seasons, he participated in 10 All-Star games and played on four pennant winners.
Herman was the last major-leaguer to play
1,500 or more games at second
base and retire with a .300-plus
career batting average.
Born in New Albany, Indiana, William Jennings Bryan Herman (1909-1992) barely played enough in high school to earn a letter. Not until he graduated did he develop enough upper body strength to attract the interest of professional scouts. He was signed by Vicksburg of the Cotton States League in 1928, and hit .332. He advanced to the Central League in 1929, and finally to Louisville of the American Association in 1930.
When he hit .350 for the Colonels in 1931, he was brought up by the Cubs for a late-season trial. Billy played so well that Chicago player-manager Rogers Hornsby decided to turn his second base post over to the rookie in 1932.
In his first full big-league campaign, Herman tied for the National League lead in games played with 154, batted .314, and collected 206 hits. After suffering a slight case of the sophomore jinx in 1933, Billy rebounded in 1934, hitting .303 and playing in his first All-Star Game.
In 1935, Billy collected 57 doubles, a record for National League second basemen, and then tied his own mark the following season. He topped NL second basemen in putouts a record seven times and ranked as the best all-around keystone sacker in the senior loop for nearly a decade.
Herman remained the linchpin of the Cubs infield until 1941, when he was traded to Brooklyn and sparked the Dodgers to their first flag in 21 years. Teaming with shortstop Pee Wee Reese, Billy gave Brooklyn one of the top keystone combinations in the game.
After hitting a hefty .330 in 1943 and driving in a career-high 100 runs on just two homers, Billy spent the next two seasons in the Navy. He returned from World War II to hit .298 in 1946, most of which he spent with the Boston Braves after an early-season trade.
Dealt to Pittsburgh at the close of the 1946 campaign, he was named player-manager of the Pirates. Unprepared for the job, Herman was fired after a cellar finish in 1947. Given the Boston manager’s job in 1965, he lasted two seasons before being replaced by Dick Williams.
Named to the Hall of Fame in 1975, Billy last worked in baseball with San Diego. From 1976 through 1979 he served as the Padres’ minor-league hitting coach and special assignment scout.
Here are Billy Herman's major league totals:
| BA||G ||AB ||R||H||2B||3B||HR ||RBI ||SB |
|.304||1,922||7,707||1,163||2,345||486||82 ||47||839 ||67|
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