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Neal Hertweck

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Neal Charles Hertweck

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Seventeen-year-old Neal Hertweck was signed as an amateur free agent by the St. Louis Cardinals before the 1949 season. The Cardinals assigned Neal to the Albany Cardinals of the class D Georgia-Florida League and the youngster played in 139 games with a .254 batting average and hit 12 home runs. Neal spent four seasons (1949-1952) in the minors at about the same speed and the first baseman was just twenty years old when he got a late-season call-up in 1952 by his hometown Cardinals. He played in a couple of games, going hitless in six at-bats, but has fond memories of his years in baseball.

Neal remembers: "I played in the last game of the season and Stan Musial clinched the batting title with a base hit late in the game. We were playing the Chicago Cubs and their outfielder Frank Baumholtz was battling Musial for the title. After Stan clinched it, he came on to pitch to Baumholtz, who was a left hand hitter but switched to the right side. I remember he reached base on an error."

Hertweck spent four more seasons in baseball, all in the minors, with his best year coming in 1955 with the Allentown Cardinals where he led the Eastern League with 112 RBIs, hit for a .292 average that included 20 home runs while playing in 138 games and being picked to play first base for the All-Star team. Allentown finished second in the league in 1955, but with help from Hertweck they rallied to win the league playoffs. Both Roger Maris and Bill Mazeroski were playing in the league that year.

The first baseman played one more season in the minors, and had a tough year playing for the Savannah Redlegs, Nashville Volunteers and finished up with the Rochester Red Wings. Neal ended his minor league days and his eight-year run with a .263 batting average with 76 home runs, while appearing in 1,036 games. Neal became employed by AT&T as an electrical engineer and after several years with the company retired in Troutman, North Carolina.

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Baseball Players of the 1950s

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