Sunday, May 19, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #518 - Chicago Cubs / Herman Franks

  • Herman Franks started his career in the St. Louis Cardinals organization at the age of 18 in 1932. Franks played in the minors until 1939. Herman batted .059 in 17 games for the Cardinals in 1939 and then was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers.
  • Herman spent two seasons as a backup catcher with the Dodgers (.183 in 65 games in 1940 and .201 in 57 games in 1941) and then served in the military for the next three years.
  • Franks played for AAA Montreal in 1946 was a player-manager for the AAA St. Paul Saints in 1947. Herman left the Dodger organization in 1947 to be a backup catcher for the Philadelphia A's for the rest of the 1947 season and for the 1948 season.
  • Herman became a coach for the New York Giants under Leo Durocher in 1949. In the famous Bobby Thomson home run game in 1951 Franks was in the center field clubhouse in the Polo Grounds. He apparently was looking at the opposing catchers' signs with a telescope and then relaying them to bullpen catcher Sal Yvars, who would then relay the sign to the batter. Franks always denied being part of such an operation. Herman coached with the Giants until Durocher was fired in 1955.
  • Franks was a Giants scout and the General Manager of the AAA Salt Lake City Bees from 1956-1964. Herman also coached under Giants' manager Alvin Dark in 1964. 
  • In 1965 Franks became the manager of the Giants. The Giants finished second for four straight seasons (1965-1968). Herman stepped down as the Giants' manager after the 1968 season. Franks didn't really need the job -- he was making enough money outside of baseball to have a comfortable living.
  • Herman was out of baseball and became a successful businessman between 1969 and 1976.
  • Franks was hired to be the manager of the Chicago Cubs after the 1976 season. Herman managed the Cubs from 1977 until he stepped down in late September 1979. Franks served as the interim General Manager of the Cubs in 1981 before the Tribune Company bought the club.
  • Franks had a good managerial career even though he never won a pennant. His teams finished at .500 or better in six of his seven years as a major league manager, and the other club (the 1978 Cubs) were just slightly below .500.
  • Herman Franks passed away at the age of 95 in 2009.
  • Record: 81-81, 4th in NL East, 20 games behind Philadelphia
  • Attendance:  1,439,834 (5th in NL)
  • Team Batting: .266 (5th in NL)
  • Team HR: 111 (10th in NL)
  • Team Stolen Bases: 64 (12th in NL)
  • Team ERA: 4.01 (8th in NL)
  • Team Fielding: .977 (8th in NL)
  • All Stars: Jerry Morales (OF), Rick Reuschel (P), Bruce Sutter (P), Manny Trillo (2B)
  • Awards:  none
  • NL Leaders: Bobby Murcer (sacrifice flies - 10)
  • Batting Leader: Steve Ontiveros (.299)
  • Home Run Leader: Bobby Murcer (27)
  • RBI Leader: Bobby Murcer (89)
  • Stolen Base Leader: Ivan DeJesus (24)
  • Victories Leader: Rick Reuschel (20)
  • Losses Leader: Ray Burris (16)
  • Strikeout Leader: Rick Reuschel (166)
  • Saves Leader: Bruce Sutter (31)
  • ERA Leader (starters): Rick Reuschel (2.79)
  • ERA Leader (relievers): Bruce Sutter (1.34)
  • Players who could have had Cubs cards in 1977 (batters with over 100 AB, pitchers with over 40 innings) :
    • Gene Clines (OF) (pictured with Texas Rangers) - .293, 3 HR, 41 RBI in 101 games
    • Greg Gross (OF) (pictured with Houston Astros) - .322, 5 HR, 22 RBI in 115 games
    • Donnie Moore (P) (first card 1978) - 4-2, 4.07 ERA in 27 games (1 start)
    • Dave Roberts (P) (pictured with Detroit Tigers) - 1-1, 1 save, 3.23 ERA in 17 games (6 starts)

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