Babe Herman, a former Brooklyn Dodger who batted .324 over 11 major league seasons, died at Glendale Memorial Hospital, hospital officials said. He was 84.
Herman died Friday of complications stemming from pneumonia and a long illness that started with a series of strokes in 1984, according to his brother Robert. Herman was admitted to the hospital several times over the past two years.
Born June 26, 1903 in Buffalo, N.Y., as Floyd Caves Herman, he played parts of 7 of his 11 seasons with the Dodgers. He hit .393 in 1930, but finished second in the batting race to Bill Terry of the Giants, who hit .401.
The 6-foot-4 Herman liked to attack the ball, although he was not a power hitter. Herman hit only 181 home runs but batted over .300 nine times.
Herman, "the other Babe," broke into the majors in 1926 with the Dodgers, then the patsy of the National League. He became entangled with the Dodger myth of mediocrity and was known as a bad outfielder and the head clown on a team of buffoons. Casey Stengel said Herman was a reasonably good fielder whose mistakes were magnified because he played for bad teams.
Writers told of balls hitting him on the head in the outfield and of him once being one of three Dodgers who wound up at third base on the same play. In the latter incident, Herman came to the plate with runners at first and second. He hit a hard shot to right, but one runner hesitated, causing a double play. What many don't know is the other runner scored with the winning run.
In recent years, Herman has been considered by the Veterans Committee for induction to the Hall of Fame.
After six years in Brooklyn, Herman was traded to Cincinnati in 1932, where he played one season. He then played with the Cubs for two years before bouncing around with Pittsburgh, Cincinnati again and Detroit. In 1945, the Dodgers brought back Herman as a pinch-hitter and he appeared in 37 games.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday at Forest Lawn in Glendale.