News and Tribune

Floyd County

July 4, 2009

Billy Herman: Baseball Hall of Fame legend

When he was living, Billy Herman had hundreds and hundreds of stories to tell his grandchildren about his 40-plus-year career as a Hall of Fame baseball player and professional coach.

One of his grandkids remembers the New Albany legend’s stories vividly — current Indiana First Lady Cheri Daniels.

“He did not talk so much about his accomplishments. But the great thing about him was he was a great storyteller. He would talk about things that would happen on bus rides and traveling with the team,” said Daniels, a 1967 New Albany High School graduate. “He had a great sense of humor. He was so happy to play professional baseball, and he knew how fortunate he was to be able to do that.”

On Tuesday, several Billy Herman tales will probably be recited by his family in celebration of the day he would have turned 100 years old. Herman was born on July 7, 1909 in New Albany as William Jennings Bryan Herman. He was named after three-time Presidential candidate, William Jennings Bryan.

Herman died on Sept. 5, 1992 in West Palm Beach, Fla., after a bout with cancer.

In an article published in The Evening News and Tribune on Nov. 22, 2007, Herman’s nephew, Bob Herman, described his uncle as a man who never bragged about his achievements on the diamond.

“I would be around him for hours … and he would never mention baseball and I would never mention baseball. It was all about the family,” Bob Herman said. “He was an everyday regular fella.”



EARLY LOVE FOR THE GAME

Herman loved baseball so much as a youngster that his favorite song was “Take Me Out To the Ballgame.” And friends and family could tell because he sang the song over and over again to express his passion for the game.

“As a little boy, he would sing ‘Take Me Out To the Ballgame’ all the time,” Daniels said. “When he would come up to ‘One, two, three strikes — you’re out,’ it would make him sad.”

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