Floyd Caves "Babe" Herman (1903
) was one of the best hitters in baseball
history, and also one of the most absent-minded. An atrocious fielder, Herman led the National League
in errors two years in a row in 1927
, and was allegedly once hit in the head by a flyball, but finished his career with a sparkling .324 career batting average
as well as a .532 slugging percentage
and a .383 on-base percentage
. In 1930
Herman had a season for the ages, batting .393 with 35 home run
s, 130 RBI
, and 142 runs scored.
Along with Dazzy Vance, Herman was the leader of the infamous "Daffyness Boys", the talented but airheaded Brooklyn Dodgers team of the 1920s and 1930s that took comic ineptitude to new heights. Twice Herman was on base when teammates hit homers and stopped running to watch the ball. Both times the surprised teammate passed Herman, reducing the homers to singles and earning Herman the nickname, "the Headless Horseman of Ebbets Field."
On August 15th, 1926, in one of the most famous incidents in baseball history, Herman "tripled into a triple play" against the Boston Braves at Ebbets Field. With no outs, Brooklyn had the bases loaded with Chick Fewster on first, Dazzy Vance on second, and Hank DeBerry on third when Herman came up to bat and drove the ball deep into right field. DeBerry scored easily, Vance, one of the slowest runners ever, chugged around third and headed home, and Fewster rounded third right on his heels. The speedy Herman, sure that both Vance and Fewster would score, headed for third himself, but he overestimated Vance's speed as the throw came home with Vance still only halfway to the plate. Vance and Fewster both headed back to third just as Herman slid in, leaving three Dodgers on the same base. The confused Braves third baseman tagged them all, hence the phrase "tripled into a triple play", but the actual scoring was that Herman doubled into a double play - the umpire correctly ruled that the base belonged to Vance, and Herman and Fewster were called out. The incident gave rise to the most famous of many "Daffyness Boys" jokes: "The Dodgers have three men on base." "Oh yeah, which one?"
Herman still holds the all-time Dodgers single season records for batting average, slugging percentage, OPS, hits, and total bases. Along with Bob Meusel, Herman is one of only two players to hit for the cycle three times.