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Sports Then and Now

Catching Star Ed Herrmann

Posted on July 07, 2013 by Dean Hybl
Ed Herrmann

Ed Herrmann

The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was an American League All-Star in 1974 and a solid catcher during his 11 year Major League career.

Ed Herrmann had baseball in his blood as his grandfather, Marty Herrmann, did not allow a run or hit during his one inning of action as a major league pitcher for the Brooklyn Robins in 1918.

Fortunately for Ed, his major league career lasted much longer than that of his grandfather.

After appearing in two major league games (and going 2 for 3) for the Chicago White Sox during the 1967 season, Herrmann returned to the majors for good in 1969 and soon was entrenched as the regular catcher for the White Sox.
Over the next six seasons, Herrmann tended to a pitching staff that featured knuckleballer Wilbur Wood as the staff ace and at various points also included other notable hurlers including Tommy John, Terry Forster, Jim Kaat, Stan Bahnsen and a young fireballer named Rich “Goose” Gossage.

Herrmann’s best season at the plate came in 1970 when he hit .283 with 19 home runs and 52 RBI in just 96 games. It marked the first of five straight years in which the lefthanded hitter reached double figures in home runs.

He had his best game at the plate on June 24, 1973 when Herrmann dominated Oakland A’s pitchers John “Blue Moon” Odom and Darold Knowles as he blasted a three-run home run, two-run double and two-run single to account for seven RBI in an 11-1 victory over the defending world champions.

In 1974, Herrmann was named to the American League All-Star team for the only time in his career. Ironically, Herrmann did not play in the game as starting catcher Thurman Munson played the entire contest.

In an interesting twist, after a contract dispute with the White Sox following the 1974 season, Herrmann soon became Munson’s backup on a regular basis as he was traded to the Yankees prior to the 1975 season.

After hitting .255 with six home runs and 30 RBI while playing in 80 games (24 behind the plate and the rest as a designated hitter) for the Yankees in 1975, Herrmann was traded to the California Angels.

Having played his high school baseball at Crawford High School in San Diego, it would have been ideal for Herrmann’s homecoming to have been a storybook one, but unfortunately he hit only .174 in 29 games for the Angels before being shipped to the Houston Astros.

Over the next two seasons, Herrmann played primarily in a reserve role for the Astros, though he did hit .291 in limited duty during the 1977 season. He also was behind the plate on July 9, 1976 when Larry Dierker threw a no-hitter against the Montreal Expos.

After splitting the 1978 season between the Astros and Expos, Herrmann retired to conclude his 11 year major league career. He finished his career with 80 home runs, 320 RBI and a .240 career batting average.

After retiring, Herrmann was active as a scout and coaching youth baseball. In recent years he has been active on Facebook. According to recent Facebook posts, the 66-year-old former All-Star has recently started to undergo chemotherapy treatments for cancer.

We wish Ed much success with his treatments and are pleased to salute him as the July Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month.

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