The Man with a Plan

The primary player in an ever-changing Brooklyn Dodgers’ right field platoon, Gene Hermanski saw a lot of players come and go. He was a relatively new arrival himself on 1947’s Opening Day, having gotten in a only a handful of contests bookending WW2.

That 1947 date is tied to Hermanski’s legacy because it was the first time Jackie Robinson took the field with the rest of the Dodgers. Hermanski was one of a handful of Dodgers to make a point of shaking hands with the new first baseman. Not long after that, Robinson was regularly on the receiving end of threatening letters. Some threatened to shoot him from the stands. Hermanski, who played directly behind Robinson in right field, suggested all players wear Robinson’s number in an effort to distract would-be assassins.

Hermanski must have been popular with baseball card manufacturers as he appeared in almost every major set of his era. Both Bowman and Leaf included him in their 1949 editions. Bowman continued with Hermanski in 1950, 1951, and 1952. Topps made him part of its ultra-small inaugural red back set in 1951. He appears above with the Chicago Cubs in Topps’ 1952 first series. They would trade him to Pittsburgh halfway through the following season, but not before Topps included him in a Cubs hat for the 1953 release. Hermanski did not make the team in 1954, but Topps still saw fit to include him in the 1954 checklist.

The stadium architecture looks great in the ’52 Topps photo.