|Catcher / Manager|
Born: January 4, 1914|
Died: March 30, 2009 (aged 95)|
Salt Lake City, Utah
|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|
|Runs batted in||43|
Career highlights and awards
Herman Louis Franks (January 4, 1914 – March 30, 2009) 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 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). 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 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.
As a New York Giant, he was a member of two National League championship clubs (
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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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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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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 ). 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.
- Goldstein, Richard (April 1, 2009). "Baseball’s Herman Franks Dies at 95". The New York Times. Retrieved April 1, 2009.
- "Passings". Los Angeles Times. April 1, 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2009.
- Salt Lake Tribune obituary, 31 March 2009
- Baseball in Wartime
- The New York Times, March 31, 2009
- Shea, John. "Herman Franks 1914-2009: Led Giants to four 2nd-place finishes," San Francisco Chronicle, Tuesday, March 31, 2009.
- Baseball-Reference.com - career managing record and playing statistics
- McGrath, Dan. "Former Chicago Cubs manager Herman Franks dies at 95," Chicago Tribune, Wednesday, April 1, 2009.
- Herman Franks at Find a Grave
- Drew, Jay. "SLC baseball legend Herman Franks dies at 95," The Salt Lake Tribune, Wednesday, April 1, 2009.
- Herman Louis Franks Sr. – The Salt Lake Tribune Obituary Notices.
- 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.
|Chicago Cubs General Manager
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