Billy Herman

William Jennings Bryan Herman
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1975
Primary team: Chicago Cubs
Primary position: 2nd Baseman

“Baseball was always kind of a struggle for me,” Billy Herman said. “I guess maybe I was doing all right and didn’t realize it, but it always seemed like a struggle to me.”

Any evidence of Herman’s struggles as a player is difficult to find. From the time he spent his first full season in the big league as a 22-year old in 1932, Herman was one of the best players in baseball. A 10-time All-Star, Herman finished his career with a .304 batting average and 2,345 hits, despite serving in the Navy for two years during World War II.

In Herman’s first full season in the big leagues, he led the National League in games played with 154 as helped the Chicago Cubs to the World Series. He finished ninth in MVP balloting after hitting .314. Though Herman missed the inaugural All-Star Game in 1933, he was named to the next 10 in a row.

Herman’s best season came in 1935 when he helped lead the Cubs to the National League pennant. He led baseball with 227 hits and 57 doubles and hit a career-high .341. 1935 was one of three seasons when Herman had more than 200 hits and earned him a fourth place finish in the MVP voting, which was won by his teammate Gabby Hartnett.

Herman’s tenure in Chicago ended in 1941 when he was traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers. He helped the Dodgers reach the World Series that year, the last of his four trips of the Fall Classic as a player. But it ended like the previous three, with a loss for Herman’s team.

World War II interrupted Herman’s career, and his swing never regained its previous form after he returned to baseball from the Navy. In his final two years, Herman hit .290 in just 137 games for the Dodgers, the Boston Braves and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Herman retired in 1947 after playing just 15 games as Pittsburgh’s player-manager. He holds the single-season N.L. record for putouts by a second baseman (466). He coached in the big leagues until 1964, when he began a three-year stint as the manager of the Red Sox.

"He was a wonderful fielder and as great a hit-and-run batter as I have ever seen. I can't remember anyone who could handle the inside pitch to right field better than Herman. "
Charley Grimm

Career stats

ESSENTIAL STATS
Year Inducted: 1975
Primary Team: Chicago Cubs
Position Played: 2nd Baseman
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Birth place: New Albany, Indiana
Birth year: 1909
Died: 1992, West Palm Beach, Florida
Played for:
Chicago Cubs (1931-1941)
Brooklyn Dodgers (1941-1946)
Boston Braves (1946)
Pittsburgh Pirates (1947)
Managed:
Pittsburgh Pirates (1947)
Boston Red Sox (1964-1966)
CAREER AT A GLANCE
GamesG
1922
At BatsAB
7707
RunsR
1163
HitsH
2345
Doubles2B
486
Triples3B
82
Home RunsHR
47
RBIRBI
839
Stolen BasesSB
67
WalksBB
737
Batting AverageBA
.304
OPSOPS
.774
On Base %OBP
.367
Slugging %SLG
.407