Card 3/4 Billy Herman and Stan Hack

Billy Herman may be the most faceless of relatively recent hall of famers. There are a couple of reasons for this.  First, he was a defensive star in an era when offensive stars were the gold standard. Though he stayed around the majors as a coach, he wrapped up his career prior to the 1950s. His stats were pretty ordinary for a hall of famer, batting .304, with more than 2300 safeties, and no power numbers of note. In all fairness, his stats would have probably been buoyed a bit had he not missed two years to the War and he seemed to be very well regarded by his contemporaries, landing on ten all-star teams. Herman  shares the major league record for most hits on opening day, with five, set April 14, 1936. The other reason is that the name just doesn’t jump out at you.  There are a lot of good players…Bill Lee, Lee Smith, Dave Smith, Larry Jackson, Joe Carter…who are quickly forgotten despite considerable skill because of a, well, forgettable name.

Smilin’ Stan Hack played his whole career with the Cubs and actually his stats are pretty comparable to those of Billy Herman’s…about 2200 hits and a .301 average, little power, good glove. He drew a lot of walks and actually had the highest on-base percentage of any 20th century third baseman until Wade Boggs came along. He was a leadoff hitter who played very well in his World Series appearances. A popular player and five-time all star, he may well be as deserving selection Hall of Fame selection as Herman. But, come to think of it, his name isn’t all that exciting either.

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