April 1, 2011

Friday 5: Ed Herrmann

Major League Baseball has decided to make Opening Day a weekend-long event this season.

And so far...I kinda like it.

One guy that took part in his fair share of Opening Day festivities is former big league catcher Ed Herrmann

HOVG: You took part in a number of Opening Days and for six straight years (1971-1975) found yourself behind the dish and in the starting lineup. What’s the feeling of taking part in that first game of the season?

HERRMANN: Butterflies, adrenaline and finally the anxiety of starting the new season that you've been waiting for since the last day of the year before…at least until the first pitch and at bat. The anxiety never quits about what will happen for the rest of the season.

HOVG: Is hearing your name on the PA the same when it is in front of more than 30,000 at home at Comiskey Park as it is when the crowd is a third of that size and it is the middle of August?

HERRMANN: Actually, you really don't listen to the PA announcer. Your mind is working on the pitches that you will see and your ability to beat the pitcher at that at bat.

HOVG: Most of your Opening Day starts were on the road. What’s a better atmosphere as the visiting team…taking the field in front of 7000 in Kansas City or the close to 60,000 that you played in front of in Cleveland in 1975?

HERRMANN: It's always great to play in front of a lot of spectators. The atmosphere is better and you stay in the game a little easier because of the noise.

HOVG: Opening Day traditionally features the best pitchers and faced a number of them. How do you go from Spring Training to preparing to square off against the likes of Jim "Catfish" Hunter (1971) or Nolan Ryan (1974).

HERRMANN: In Spring Training, you are working on different aspects of your game to get you better. When the season starts, you revert back to what got you to the big leagues and to the opportunity to start. Facing "Catfish" was a lot harder than catching him as I did for the Yankees. Facing Nolan, I enjoyed the battle better than any pitcher I ever faced because he was so competitive and so was I.

HOVG: From supporting the children’s book A Glove of Their Own to helping raise money for your local American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life…anyone who follows you knows you’re super active in the community. What do you have going on next?

HERRMANN: Right now, in support of the American Cancer Society, my family and I are walking in the 24-hour Relay for Life on April 30 in San Marcos, California. To raise money for the event, our team "Strides of Hope" is holding a Facebook ON LINE Baseball Memorabilia Silent Auction ACS Fundraiser. I have autographed baseballs from Hall of Famers, photos, hats and books donated by the players and the writers specifically for this event. Anybody interested in helping, can friend me on Facebook. To find out more about the Relay, visit www.relayforlife.org/sanmarcosca and search for Ed Herrmann. Once this event is over, I have the Joe Niekro "Knuckle ball" Foundation to help with aneurysm awareness, "The Greatest Save" a national child safety education program, and charity golf tournaments in between.

Ed Herrmann played eleven seasons in the bigs and was selected to appear in the 1974 All-Star Game. In 922 big league games, he hit .240 with 80 career home runs. Since leaving the game, “Hoggy” has worked as a scout, tutor, coach and a manager of youth teams ranging in age from 13 through college.


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