Apr 5, 2016

One Time St. Louis Rival & Former Mets Infielder: Tommy Herr (1990-1991)

Thomas Mitchell Herr was born April 4th in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. the six foot second baseman, was originally signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1974 as an amateur free agent.

Herr spent five years in the minor leagues, he hit well batting over .290 twice including a .293 1979 season getting him a September call up. In 1980 he began the season with the Cardinals but after a quick start fell to .163 getting sent back down to AAA Springfield where he batted .312 & after 37 games when he was brought back up.

In 1981 he became the Cards leadoff hitter & took over the second base job from Ken Oberkfell. He played the most games in the league at second base (103) & led the NL in assists (374) posting a .992 fielding % (second in the league). He stole 23 bases (10th in the NL) batted .268 with a .329 on base % in the strike shortened season, coming in 22nd in the league's MVP voting.

In the 1982 Cardinals Championship season Herr stole 25 bases hitting .266 scoring 83 runs and playing more fine defense.

Post Season: In the NLCS he batted .231 (3-15) against the Atlanta Braves. In the World Series, he only hit .160 but drove in five runs in the Cards seven game win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

In Game #6 at Busch Stadium, he helped the Cards even the Series with an 4th inning RBI double off Don Sutton, that scored Willie McGee. He later added a sacrifice bunt scoring Garth Iorg, giving the Cards a 5-0 lead.

Herr spent nine full seasons in St. Louis having his best year in 1985, as he drove in 110 runs (3rd in the NL) although he hit just 8 HRs. He is the last NL player to have driven in over 100 runs with less than ten HRs in a single season. He batted .302 (9th in the NL) scored 97 runs (8th in the NL) stole 31 bases & led the league with 13 sac flies. That season he made the All Star team & was fifth in the MVP voting, as the Cardinals went on to win the NL Pennant.

That season he was mostly batting in the third spot behind Vince Coleman & Willie McGee.

Post Season: He had a big NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers batting .333 with a HR & six RBIs. In Game #3 he doubled & hit a HR off Bob Welch, in the Cards 4-2 win at Busch Stadium. The next day in Game #4 he drove in two more runs in the Cards 12-2 romp. In the World Series loss to the Kansas City Royals he fell off to hit just .154.

After the Mets won the East & the World Series in 1986 the Cards returned atop the East in 1987. On April 18th 1987 he hit a walk off grand slam HR off the Mets Jesse Orosco in the bottom of the 19th inning at Busch Stadium. The fans went wild on seat cushion night & pelted the field with what was supposed to be their souvenirs. The Cards did not hold another seat cushion night until 2006, when after another extra inning win the fans once again tossed their cushions on the playing field after the game. 

In that 1987 game against the Mets Herr drove in six runs with three hits in the 12-8 win. That year they went to the World Series & were upset by The Minnesota Twins. That season he drove in 83 runs & stole 19 bases while hitting .263 during the regular season. In the post season he batted just .235.

In April 1988 he was traded to the Minnesota Twins for Tom Brunansky and played behind Steve Lombardozzi at second. The next season he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies and played two seasons there before getting traded to the New York Mets in August of 1990.

Herr made his Mets debut on September 1st at Shea Stadium in a game against the San Francisco Giants. In that game he hit a HR & had two hits in the Mets 6-5 win. Herr hit well that September batting .250 with a HR, five doubles & ten RBIs in 27 games.

In 1991 he played as a back up to Greg Jeffries in 70 games before getting traded to the Giants in early August. On May 11th he had hit a three run HR at Candlestick Park helping the Mets defeat the Giants 6-2. On June 7th Herr hit a pinch hit HR in Houston in the Mets 6-3 win there that day. In one of his last Mets highlight moments he drew a bases loaded walk in the top of the 8th inning scoring what would be the winning run in the Mets 2-1 win at Philadelphia.

Herr finished out his 13 year career with the Giants in 1991, in 1514 games he hit .271 with 1450 hits 28 HRs 254 doubles 41 triples 188 stolen bases 676 runs scored & a .347 on base %.

At second base he posted a .989 fielding % (11th all time) with 991 double plays turned, 3999 assists (46th all time) & 2932 put outs (61st all time) in 1416 games (45th all time).
 
Retirement: In 2004 he was manager of his hometown Lancaster Barnstormers in the Independent League.

He later managed in A ball with the Washington National organization but left after he was denied a position at AA. He then served as bench coach at Lancaster under Von Hayes in 2009.

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