Monday, December 1, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #234 - Herman Franks

  • Herman Franks was a good-field/no-hit catcher during his playing career. Franks started with the St. Louis Cardinals organization and then moved on to the Brooklyn Dodgers organization in 1940. He had a large gap in his career during World War II. Herman became a player-manager in AAA in 1947, but then left the Dodgers to be a backup catcher for two years with the Philadelphia A's.
  • Franks worked as a coach under Leo Durocher with the New York Giants from 1949-1955. Franks was alleged to have been involved in a scheme to steal the opposing catcher's signs during critical games (including the Bobby Thomson home run game) in 1951.
  • After the 1955 season Franks left the Giants. He briefly did some scouting for the Giants and then served as the General Manager of the AAA Salt Lake City Bees from 1956-1964. During that time Franks had short stints as a Giants coach in 1958 and in 1964.
  • Herman replaced Alvin Dark as manager of the Giants in 1965. The Giants had four straight second place finishes during his tenure from 1965-1968.
  • Franks stepped down as the Giants' manager after the 1968 season. He mostly stayed out of baseball except for a short stint as the Chicago Cubs' pitching coach in 1970.
  • After the 1976 season Franks was hired as manager of the Cubs. The team had a good year in 1977 and were above .500 in both 1978 and in 1979. Herman resigned with one week to go in the 1979 season.
  • Herman had a short stint as the General Manager of the Cubs in 1981. 
  • Franks died at the age of 95 on March 30, 2009.