Open Access Articles- Top Results for Herman Franks

Herman Franks

Herman Franks
Catcher / Manager
Born: (1914-01-04)January 4, 1914
Price, Utah
Died: March 30, 2009(2009-03-30) (aged 95)
Salt Lake City, Utah
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 27, #REDIRECT Template:Baseball year for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
August 28, #REDIRECT Template:Baseball year for the New York Giants
Career statistics
Batting average .199
Home runs 3
Runs batted in 43

As Player

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As Manager

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Career highlights and awards

Herman Louis Franks (January 4, 1914 – March 30, 2009)[1][2] was a catcher, coach, manager, general manager and scout in American Major League Baseball. He was born in Price, Utah, to Italian-American immigrant parents[3] and attended the University of Utah.

Catcher with Cardinals, Dodgers and A's

A left-handed hitter who threw right-handed, Franks was listed at Script error: No such module "convert". tall and Script error: No such module "convert".. He broke into professional baseball with the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League in 1932, but he was soon acquired by the St. Louis Cardinals and joined their vast farm system.

He made the Cardinals for just 17 games and 17 at-bats in 1939, before being drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers, where he served as a second-string catcher in 1940–41 and began his long association with Leo Durocher, then the manager of the Dodgers. Franks missed 3½ seasons during World War II, when he served in the United States Navy in the Pacific Theater of Operations and attained the rank of lieutenant (junior grade).[4] He resumed his playing career in 1946 with the Triple-A Montreal Royals, then became the playing manager of the Dodgers' St. Paul Saints affiliate in the Triple-A American Association in 1947. In August of that season, however, he resigned his post to return to the Major Leagues as a backup catcher with the Philadelphia Athletics, where he appeared in 48 games in 1947–48 and batted .221.

As a Dodger, Franks caught Tex Carleton's no-hitter on April 30, 1940.[5]

As a coach: Durocher's right-hand man

In 1949, Franks received his first coaching assignment, as an aide to Durocher with the New York Giants, and was activated for one final MLB game on August 28, 1949—going 2-for-3 against the Cincinnati Reds in a 4–2 New York triumph.[6]

As a New York Giant, he was a member of two National League championship clubs (

  1. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year,
  2. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year) and one World Series (1954) title team through 1955. According to author Joshua Prager in his 2006 book The Echoing Green, Franks played a critical role in the Giants' Bobby Thomson's famous pennant-winning home run in the 1951 NL playoffs—Baseball's Shot Heard Round The World. According to Prager, Franks was stationed in the Giants' center-field clubhouse at the Polo Grounds, their home field, stealing the opposing catcher's signs through a telescope and relaying them through second-string catcher Sal Yvars (stationed in the bullpen) to the Giants' coaches and hitters.[7] When asked where he was when Thomson hit his home run, Franks said, in 1996, that he was "doing something for Durocher" at the time.[7]

Whatever his role may have been on that day, Franks was known as a devotee of Durocher-style, win-at-any-cost baseball, including intimidation through flying spikes and brushback pitching. Dodger outfielder Carl Furillo told author Roger Kahn that Franks was known to poke his head into the Brooklyn clubhouse before games, to taunt Furillo that Giant pitchers were planning to throw at his head in the upcoming contest. Furillo, whose hatred for Durocher was so intense that he would engage Durocher in a fistfight in a Giant dugout filled with enemy players, said of the Giants, in Peter Golenbock's book Bums: An Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers, "They were dirty ballplayers ... They all wanted to be like Durocher, to copy Durocher. That Herman Franks, he was another one."

Manager of Giants and Cubs

Durocher quit the Giants after the

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  2. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year. From 1956 to 1964, Franks was briefly a Giants' scout, then the general manager of the PCL Salt Lake City Bees. He also spent two additional one-year terms (in 1958 and 1964) as a San Francisco Giants' coach before succeeding Alvin Dark as the club's manager after the
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Even though the team featured future Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry, Franks' four seasons (1965–1968) managing the Giants each produced frustrating second-place finishes in the National League. The club lost close pennant races to the Los Angeles Dodgers by two games in

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  2. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year. It finished farther behind the Cardinals the next two years, 10½ lengths out in
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  4. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year. After he stepped down as skipper following the conclusion of the 1968 season, he was quoted as saying, " Is finishing second so evil?" He was replaced by Clyde King.[8]

A highly successful businessman off the field, Franks spent the next eight years out of the Major League spotlight, apart from a partial season (August and September 1970) as a pitching coach under Durocher with the Chicago Cubs. After the 1976 campaign, Franks returned to the Major Leagues when he replaced Jim Marshall as manager of the Cubs. In 1977, he led the Cubs back to the .500 level, but the team lost ground in 1978 and was just one game above the break-even mark in September 1979 when Franks resigned (issuing a number of complaints about certain players [1]). He was the interim general manager of the Cubs from May through November 1981. However, most of his tenure was taken up by the 1981 players' strike. He lost his chance to be named full-time general manager when the Tribune Company bought the Cubs and replaced him with Dallas Green.

Although Franks compiled a poor record as a player (a batting average of .199 with three home runs in 188 games over parts of six seasons), he notched a winning record as a manager: 605–521, .537.


External links


  • Official Baseball Register (1968 edition). St. Louis: The Sporting News.
  • Golenbock, Peter. Bums: An Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1984.
Preceded by
Bob Kennedy
Chicago Cubs General Manager
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Succeeded by
Dallas Green