Monday, October 20, 2008

#534 John Herrnstein

John Herrnstein by you.
The updates are coming fast and furious, as the recent generosity of my fine readers has seen cards coming in at a faster rate than I can post them. If you've been keeping tabs on the Scoreboard on the left side of the blog, you'll see that I've completed over 20% of the set! These are exciting times.

Today's featured '65er is role player John Herrnstein, who continues the recent trend of players with ties to Michigan (he was a multi-sport athlete at UM, and even captained the Wolverine football team). He opened eyes with his power output in the minors, hitting 98 home runs in five seasons. Following cups of coffee in Philadelphia in 1962 and 1963, John appeared in over 100 games in 1964. In 25 of those games he was used as a pinch hitter, and shined in the role (7-for-21, 2 BB, 1 HR). He didn't fare quite as well in his other at bats, hitting .234 overall. That would be his high-water mark in a brief career. The outfielder/first baseman settled right on the Mendoza Line the following year, and pinballed around the National League in 1966. He played for three teams (Phillies, Cubs, and Braves) in just 30 games, batting .178 in what would be his final go-round in the majors. The most interesting footnote to his career? When the Phils traded him to the Cubs in a package for veteran pitcher Larry Jackson and Bob Buhl, one of the other players acquired by Chicago was a rookie hurler named Fergie Jenkins.

Fun fact: John's first career home run was a game-winner in September of 1963. With the Phillies and the host Giants tied 4-4 in the top of the ninth, Herrnstein pinch hit for shortstop Bobby Wine and deposited a Don Larsen pitch over the right field fence.
John Herrnstein (back) by you.


  1. First baseball game I ever attended was in July, 1964 at Connie Mack Stadium. John Herrnstein came up as a pinch hitter in the 9th inning. If anyone can remember the dimensions of the old park, at one time dead center field was 447 ft. John Herrnstein hit a ball to center field that had to go about 430-440 ft. that Curt Flood caught. Even though I was only eight years old, I still remember being amazed how far he hit that ball. And it was only a long out.

  2. John Herrnstein hit a lot of long fly balls. Long and high. Almost all of them for outs. That's why John Herrnstein wasn't a major leaguer for long!

  3. Mello, you clearly didn't follow Herrnstein. He played well and had a bum knee. Some would argue that baseball was his second sport given his All-Big Ten achievements at Michigan. He graduated high school at 16 and near the top of his class. After his baseball career was over, he returned to Chillicothe and headed several financial institutions. More notably was his raising 5 wonderful kids, coaching youth and serving the community. He took up tennis and became one of the best in the area, playing men's open division. If you are looking for character and leadership by example, John Herrnstein was a huge success on and off the field. Much better than being an MLB All-Star with those little performance enhancing drugs, a lady on the side, being arrested, etc. Am I a big JH fan? I am a huge Buckeye fan and he was an Ohio boy who went to Michigan. That didn't earn him any brownie pts. His actions over the 40+ years do! Thanks for all the memories on and off the field Mr. Herrnstein. Someday I hope you will sign the Topps rookie card showing you and Richie Allen.