Herman Franks

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.

Herman Franks
Herman Franks 1965
Catcher / Manager
Born: January 4, 1914
Price, Utah
Died: March 30, 2009 (aged 95)
Salt Lake City, Utah
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 27, 1939, for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
August 28, 1949, for the New York Giants
MLB statistics
Batting average.199
Home runs3
Runs batted in43
As player

As manager

As coach

Career highlights and awards

Playing career

A left-handed hitter who threw right-handed, Franks was listed at 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) tall and 187 pounds (85 kg). 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 Brooklyn's manager. As a Dodger, Franks caught Tex Carleton's no-hitter on April 30, 1940.[4]

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).[5] 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.

Coaching career

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 from 1949–55, he was a member of two National League championship clubs (1951, 1954) and was the third-base coach of the World Series (1954) title team. 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 tiebreaker playoffsBaseball'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 (positioned 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.[8] Furillo, whose hatred for Durocher was so intense that he would engage Durocher in a fistfight in a Giant dugout filled with enemy players,[8] 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."[9]

Managing career

Herman Franks, 1977
Herman Franks, Cubs manager, 1977

Durocher quit the Giants after the 1955 season, and the team relocated to San Francisco after 1957. 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 1964 season.

Even though the team featured future Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry, Franks' four seasons (1965–68) 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 1965 and 1½ games in 1966. It finished farther behind the Cardinals the next two years, 10½ lengths out in 1967 and nine back in 1968. 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.[10]

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.


  1. ^ Goldstein, Richard (April 1, 2009). "Baseball's Herman Franks Dies at 95". The New York Times. Retrieved April 1, 2009.
  2. ^ "Passings". Los Angeles Times. April 1, 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2009.
  3. ^ Salt Lake Tribune obituary, 31 March 2009 Archived 14 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1940/B04300CIN1940.htm
  5. ^ Baseball in Wartime
  6. ^ Retrosheet
  7. ^ a b The New York Times, March 31, 2009
  8. ^ a b Saccoman, John. "Carl Furillo". Society for American Baseball Research Biography Project. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  9. ^ Golenbock, Peter (1984). BUMS: An Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. p. 283. ISBN 0-399-12846-8.
  10. ^ Shea, John. "Herman Franks 1914-2009: Led Giants to four 2nd-place finishes," San Francisco Chronicle, Tuesday, March 31, 2009.

External links


  • Baseball-library.com
  • 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
Succeeded by
Dallas Green
1940 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1940 Brooklyn Dodgers finished the season in second place. It was their best finish in 16 years.

1941 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1941 Brooklyn Dodgers, led by manager Leo Durocher, won their first pennant in 21 years, edging the St. Louis Cardinals by 2.5 games. They went on to lose to the New York Yankees in the World Series.

In The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, this team was referenced as one of "The Greatest Teams That Never Was", due to the quality of its starting lineup. Dolph Camilli was the slugging star with 34 home runs and 120 RBI. He was voted the National League's Most Valuable Player. Pete Reiser, a 22-year-old rookie, led the league in batting average, slugging percentage, and runs scored. Other regulars included Hall of Famers Billy Herman, Joe Medwick, Pee Wee Reese, and Dixie Walker. Not surprisingly, the Dodgers scored the most runs of any NL team (800).

The pitching staff featured a pair of 22-game winners, Kirby Higbe and Whitlow Wyatt, having their best pro seasons.

1947 Philadelphia Athletics season

The 1947 Philadelphia Athletics season involved the A's finishing fifth in the American League with a record of 78 wins and 76 losses.

Except for a fifth-place finish in 1944, the A's finished in last or next-to-last place every year from 1935–1946. In 1947, Connie Mack not only got the A's out of last place, but actually finished with a winning record for the first time in 14 years.

1948 Philadelphia Athletics season

The 1948 Philadelphia Athletics season involved the A's finishing 4th in the American League with a record of 84 wins and 70 losses.

1949 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1949 New York Giants season was the franchise's 67th season. The team finished in fifth place in the National League with a 73-81 record, 24 games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers. The games were now broadcast on the then new station WPIX-TV, which was launched the year before.

1951 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1951 New York Giants season was the franchise's 69th season and saw the Giants finish the regular season in a tie for first place in the National League with a record of 96 wins and 58 losses. This prompted a three-game playoff against the Brooklyn Dodgers, which the Giants won in three games, clinched by Bobby Thomson's walk-off home run, a moment immortalized as the Shot Heard 'Round the World. The Giants, however, lost the 1951 World Series to the New York Yankees in six games.

1952 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1952 New York Giants season was the franchise's 70th season. The team finished in second place in the National League with a 92-62 record, 4½ games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers.

1955 Caribbean Series

The seventh edition of the Caribbean Series (Serie del Caribe) was played in 1955. It was held from February 10 through February 15, featuring the champion baseball teams from Cuba, Alacranes de Almendares; Panama, Carta Vieja Yankees; Puerto Rico, Cangrejeros de Santurce, and Venezuela, Navegantes del Magallanes. The format consisted of 12 games, each team facing the other teams twice. The games were played at Estadio Universitario in Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela, which boosted capacity to 22,690 seats, while the ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Marcos Pérez Jiménez, by then the President of Venezuela.

1965 San Francisco Giants season

The 1965 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 83rd year in Major League Baseball, their eighth year in San Francisco since their move from New York following the 1957 season, and their sixth at Candlestick Park. The team finished in second place in the National League with a 95–67 record, 2 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.

1966 San Francisco Giants season

The 1966 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 84th year in Major League Baseball, their ninth year in San Francisco since their move from New York following the 1957 season, and their seventh at Candlestick Park. The Giants finished second in the National League with a record of 93 wins and 68 losses, a game-and-a-half behind their arch-rivals, the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

1967 San Francisco Giants season

The 1967 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 85th year in Major League Baseball, their tenth year in San Francisco since their move from New York following the 1957 season, and their eighth at Candlestick Park. The team finished in second place in the National League with a record of 91 wins and 71 losses, 10½ games behind the NL and World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals.

1968 San Francisco Giants season

The 1968 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 86th year in Major League Baseball, their eleventh year in San Francisco since their move from New York following the 1957 season, and their ninth at Candlestick Park. The team finished in second place in the National League with an 88–74 record, 9 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

1977 Chicago Cubs season

The 1977 Chicago Cubs season was the 106th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 102nd in the National League and the 62nd at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished fourth in the National League East with a record of 81–81, 20 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies.

1978 Chicago Cubs season

The 1978 Chicago Cubs season was the 107th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 103rd in the National League and the 63rd at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished third in the National League East with a record of 79–83.

1979 Chicago Cubs season

The 1979 Chicago Cubs season was the 108th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 104th in the National League and the 64th at Wrigley Field, and the first to be beamed via satellite and cable television to viewers all over the United States on WGN Television, thanks to a postseason decision by the company management to uplink its broadcast signals via satellite with the help of Oklahoma-based United Video Satellite Group, making them the pioneer superstation in the country's midwest and the Cubs games of that season the third superstation baseball broadcasts live via satellite relay after the Braves and the Yankees.It was the first season of over 40 to be broadcast all over the county, slowly making the team a national brand. The Cubs finished fifth in the National League East with a record of 80–82.

Franks (surname)

Franks is also, an Anglo-American surname, derived from the given name Frank and originally came from England and Germany.

The name was in the early records, of the Virginia Colony, starting in the 1660s. The Jewish surname, Franks has also, been found as early, as the 17th century, in New York City.

People with the surname include:

Abigail Franks (c. 1696–1756), Colonial-era New York City Jewish woman and letter writer

Arthur Temple "Dick" Franks (1920 - 2008), Head of the Secret Intelligence Service (1979-1982)

Augustus Wollaston Franks (1826 - 1897), English antiquarian

Bobby Franks (1909 - 1924), murder victim

Daniel "Bubba" Franks (born 1978), American footballer

Carl Franks (born 1960), American college football coach

Cecil Franks (born 1935), former English Member of Parliament

David Franks (loyalist) (1720 - 1794), prominent Loyalist in the American Revolution

David Franks (aide-de-camp) (David Salisbury Franks) (1740 - 1793), aide-de-camp of Benedict Arnold

Herman Franks (1914 - 2009), American Major League baseball player and coach

Hermina Franks (1914-2010), American baseball player

Jimmy Franks (born 1972), real name of musician Jimmy Pop

Jordan Franks (born 1996), American football player

Lynne Franks (born 1948), English public relations consultant

Michael Franks (musician) (born 1944), US-American jazz singer/songwriter

Michael Franks (athlete) (born 1963), US-American sprinter

Mike Franks (tennis) (born 1936), American tennis player

Oliver Shewell Franks (1905 - 1992), English philosopher

Paul Franks (born 1979), English cricketer

Philip Franks (born 1956), British actor

Robert Douglas Franks (1951-2010), American Republican politician

Stephen Franks (born 1950), New Zealand lawyer

Tanya Franks (born 1967), English actress

Tillman Franks (1920 - 2006), American bassist and songwriter

Tim Franks (born 1968), BBC journalist

Tommy Franks (born 1945), U.S. general

Trent Franks (born 1957), former Republican member of the United States House of Representatives

Wilbur R. Franks (1901 - 1986), Canadian scientist

William Sadler Franks (1851 - 1935), British astronomer

List of Chicago Cubs managers

The Chicago Cubs are a Major League Baseball team that plays in the National League (NL) Central Division. Since their inception as the White Stockings in 1876, the Cubs have employed 60 managers. The duties of the team manager include team strategy and leadership on and off the field. The Cubs have had 13 general managers. The general manager controls player transactions, hiring and firing of the coaching staff, and negotiates with players and agents regarding contracts. The first person to officially hold the title of general manager for the Cubs was Charles Weber, who assumed the title in 1934. The franchise's first manager was Baseball Hall of Famer Albert Spalding, who helped the White Stockings become the first champions of the newly formed National League.After co-managing with Silver Flint during the 1879 Chicago White Stockings season, Hall of Famer Cap Anson began an 18-year managerial tenure in 1880, the longest in franchise history. Under Anson, the team won five more NL pennants — in 1880, 1881, 1882, 1885 and 1886—tying the 1885 World Series and losing the 1886 World Series in the process. Anson won 1,283 games as the White Stockings' manager, the most in franchise history. After taking over for Hall of Fame manager Frank Selee in 1905, Frank Chance — another Hall of Famer — managed the team through the 1912 season. During his tenure, the franchise won four more NL pennants in 1906, 1907, 1908, and 1910, winning its only two World Series titles in 1907 and 1908 until 2016 Chance's .664 career winning percentage is the highest of any Cubs manager. After Chance, from 1913 through 1960, the Cubs employed nineteen managers, nine of which were inducted into the Hall of Fame. During this period, the Cubs won six more NL pennants, including three under manager Charlie Grimm. Split between Grimm's two managerial stints in the 1930s and 1940s, plus a brief appearance as manager in 1960, Grimm accumulated 946 career wins, second-most in franchise history behind Anson.Owner P. K. Wrigley then began experimenting with the managerial position and in December 1960, announced that Cubs would not have only one manager for the coming season. Instead, the team implemented a new managerial system known as the "College of Coaches". The system was meant to blend ideas from several individuals instead of relying on one manager. During its first year, the team rotated four different managers into the role: Vedie Himsl, Harry Craft, El Tappe and Lou Klein. The next year, under the guidance of Tappe, Klein and Charlie Metro, the Cubs lost a franchise-record 103 games. Bob Kennedy managed the team for the next three seasons until Hall of Famer Leo Durocher assumed the managerial role for the 1966 season, effectively ending the five-year-long "College of Coaches" experiment. During his first season as manager, Durocher's Cubs tied the franchise's 103-game loss record set four years earlier by the "College"; however, he maintained a winning record for the rest of his seven-year tenure.In the last 37 seasons since Durocher, the Cubs have had 22 managers. Jim Frey and Don Zimmer led the team to the National League Championship Series (NLCS) in 1984 and 1989, respectively. In both of those seasons, the team's manager won a Manager of the Year Award. Jim Riggleman managed the team for five years from 1995 through 1999, earning the team's first and only wild card playoff spot in 1998. Dusty Baker's Cubs lost in the 2003 NLCS during the first year of a four-year managing tenure. Baker's successor, Lou Piniella, led the team to two consecutive National League Central Division titles during his first two years with the team and was awarded the 2008 Manager of the Year Award. On July 20, 2010, Piniella announced his intention to retire as manager of the Cubs following the end of the season. However, on August 22, 2010, Piniella announced he would resign after that day's game with the Atlanta Braves, citing family reasons. Third base coach Mike Quade would finish the rest of the season as manager. The Cubs' current general manager is Jed Hoyer, who replaced Jim Hendry.On November 7, 2013, the Cubs hired Rick Renteria as their new manager. He replaced Dale Sveum. He was fired on October 31, 2014 as the team prepared to hire Joe Maddon.

List of Chicago Cubs owners and executives

This is a list of owners and executives of the Chicago Cubs.

List of National League pennant winners

Each season, a National League team wins the league's pennant, signifying that they are its champion and they win the right to play in the World Series against the champion of the American League. In addition to the pennant, the team that wins the National League playoffs receives the Warren C. Giles Trophy, named after Warren Giles, who was the league president from 1951 to 1969. Warren's son Bill Giles, the honorary league president and owner of the Philadelphia Phillies, presents the trophy to the National League champion at the conclusion of each National League Championship Series (NLCS). The current National League pennant winners are the Los Angeles Dodgers, who won their second-consecutive NL pennant in October 2018.For most of the history of the National League (94 years), the pennant was presented to the team with the best win–loss record at the end of the season. The first modern World Series was played in 1903, and after a hiatus in 1904, continued until 1994, when a players' strike forced the cancellation of the postseason, and resumed in 1995. In 1969, the league split into two divisions, and the teams with the best records in each division played one another in the NLCS to determine the pennant winner. The format of the NLCS was changed from a best-of-five to a best-of-seven format for the 1985 postseason. In 1995, an additional playoff series was added when Major League Baseball restructured the two divisions in each league into three. As of 2010, the winners of the Eastern, Central, and Western Divisions, as well as one wild card team, play in the National League Division Series, a best-of-five playoff to determine the opponents who will play for the pennant.By pennants, the Los Angeles Dodgers (formerly the Brooklyn Dodgers; 23 pennants, 31 playoff appearances) and the San Francisco Giants (formerly the New York Giants) (23 pennants, 27 playoff appearances) are tied for the winningest teams in the National League. In third place is the St. Louis Cardinals (19 pennants and 28 playoff appearances), followed by the Atlanta Braves (17 pennants and 23 postseason appearances between their three home cities of Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Boston) and the Chicago Cubs (17 pennants and 20 playoff appearances [as the Cubs and White Stockings]). The Philadelphia Phillies won the league in back-to-back seasons in 2008 and 2009, becoming the first National League team to do so since the Braves in 1995 and 1996. The Los Angeles Dodgers would also win the league in back-to-back seasons in 2017 and 2018. Before 1903 there was no World Series as we know it today because the leagues were only loosely affiliated. As of 2018, the New York/San Francisco Giants and the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers have the most World Series appearances at 20, followed by the St. Louis Cardinals with 19.

The team with the best record to win the National League pennant was the 1906 Cubs, who won 116 of 152 games during that season and finished 20 games ahead of the Giants, playing in New York at the time. The best record by a pennant-winner in the Championship Series era is 108–54, which was achieved by the Cincinnati Reds in 1975 and the New York Mets in 1986; both of these teams went on to win the World Series.National League champions have gone on to win the World Series 48 times, most recently in 2016. Pennant-winners have also won the Temple Cup and the Chronicle-Telegraph Cup, two pre-World Series league championships, although second-place teams won three of the four Temple Cup meetings. The largest margin of victory for a pennant-winner, before the league split into two divisions in 1969, is ​27 1⁄2 games; the Pittsburgh Pirates led the Brooklyn Superbas (now the Dodgers) by that margin on the final day of the 1902 season.The only currently-existing National League team to have never won a pennant is the Washington Nationals (formerly the Montreal Expos). While the Milwaukee Brewers have never won a National League pennant, they did win a pennant during their time in the American League.


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