Ed's grandfather, Marty Herrmann, pitched for the Brooklyn Robins in 1918. Ed was signed in 1964 as an amateur free agent by the Milwaukee Braves. The White Sox drafted him a couple months later in the first year player draft, where he would make his MLB debut in 1967. Once he returned to the big leagues in 1969, he became a fixture in the big leagues for the next ten years. A left hand hitting catcher, he hit .232, 8, 31 in 102 games in 1969, becoming the team's regular catcher through the 1974 season. 1970 was his best offensive season, where he hit .283, 19, 72 in 96 games for the White Sox.
Herrmann was known, however, for his defense. On a White Sox pitching staff that included Wilbur Wood, Hoyt Wilhelm and Eddie Fisher, he showed his ability to not only call the game, but to stand out as a receiver. One thing that all three pitchers had in common was the fact that they all threw the knuckleball. And I challenge you to name one catcher that was better at catching that pitch than Ed Herrmann. Wood, in particular, was a throwback in the sense that he was able to go out there on 2 or 3 days rest throughout the entire season. Particularly, in the 1972 and 1973 seasons, Wood made 49 and 48 starts, respectively. And to be able to do that, he needed to throw to somebody who could be trusted to catch the knuckleball. Herrmann caught all 49 of Wood's 1972 starts, a record for the most starts one battery made together since 1884 (52). Wood won 20 games for four straight seasons from 1971-1974, throwing almost exclusively to Herrmann.
As a defender, Herrmann was among the tops in the AL leaderboard in regards to fielding percentage and threw out 33% of the baserunners trying to steal for his entire career. Later on, he was traded to the New York Yankees where he DHed a little bit and backed up Thurman Munson. He would catch Astros RHP Larry Dierker's no hitter on 7/9/76. He finished his career as future HOF catcher Gary Carter's backup in Montreal in 1978.
I was lucky enough to get a brief chance to speak with Ed before he got sick in the summer time this year. Even through his toughest moments, he managed to stay in contact with me, and his wife had even said he would still like to do an interview when he was able to feel up to it. Doing the interview was not even important. This was a man who stood as strong as anybody could, facing such a horrible circumstance. If you can, take a moment to remember a very good MLB catcher, good man and one who always took time to mentor and teach young kids. Ed "Hoggy" Herrmann will be missed. A man who certainly was not afraid to teach others everything he knew, including the catchers he worked with during the last seasons of his MLB career. Rather than looking at this as a lost battle against a horrible disease, look Ed's fierce battle which was done with dignity. And that is a win. RIP