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Dick Gernert

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Richard Edward Gernert

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Biographical Information[edit]

Before the 1950 season Dick Gernert a 21-year-old first baseman was signed as an amateur free agent by the Boston Red Sox. A native of Reading, PA, Dick attended Temple University on a basketball scholarship where he played one year of freshman ball and another year of varsity. The 6'3" 210 pounder spent his first season in pro ball with three different clubs, the Louisville Colonels, the San Jose Red Sox and the Scranton Red Sox and appeared in 116 games combined, hitting 8 home runs with a .289 batting average. Dick was with the class A Scranton Miners in 1951, where he had nine round-trippers and hit for a .306 average.

His Boston Red Sox career, which lasted from 1952 to 1959, pales in comparison to those of other first sackers like Jimmie Foxx and even Mo Vaughn, but he did have his moments.

The big guy hit 19 home runs his rookie year and followed that with 21 four-baggers in 1953. He spent most of the next two seasons, 1954 and 1955, in the minors with the Louisville Colonels and the Buffalo Bisons before he established himself with the Red Sox for four more years starting in 1956. The nephew of former Red Sox and Chicago Cubs outfielder Dom Dallessandro, Gernert was not a fan of the inviting Green Monster in Fenway Park:

"I was not a pull hitter," explained Gernert. "I hit a lot of balls into the gaps and into right field. I think they wanted me to pull the ball. I tried to pull and my hitting didn't improve because of that. I think if I stayed the way I was when I came to the big leagues, I might have been a much better hitter."

Gernert, who was part of the Red Sox Opening Day Lineup in 1953, 1954 and 1957, batting cleanup behind Ted Williams, enjoyed his best overall season in 1956 when he hit .291 with 16 home runs and 68 RBIs, appearing in 106 games, playing first base and the outfield.

Traded to the Cubs after the 1959 season, he returned to the American League with the Detroit Tigers in 1960. He was then acquired by the Cincinnati Reds and played a key role in the Reds winning the 1961 National League pennant with his clutch pinch-hitting. Down the stretch he hit .302 with seven RBI in 63 at-bats.

Dick concluded his big league days with the Houston Colt .45s in 1962 and took with him a lifetime .254 batting average with 103 home runs and 402 RBIs. Gernert finished out 1962 with the minor league Tacoma Giants, with 20 homers and a .289 batting average. 1963 and 1964 found him with the Reading Red Sox, where he concluded his pro baseball career with 24 home runs and a combined .277 batting average.

Gernert played 15 active seasons in pro baseball (1950-1964) and along with his major league numbers he appeared in 765 minor league contests, went to bat 2,518 times, picked up 719 base hits (including 102 home runs) for a career .285 batting average and a .455 slugging percentage.

After baseball Gernert taught school for over 11 years. He then scouted for the Washington Senators and Texas Rangers and managed in their minor league system in 1969 and 1970. In 1975 and 1976 he worked as the team's first base coach under manager Frank Lucchesi. He then went to the New York Mets as their farm director for three years and then became a special assignment scout for the organization.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 2 (1953 & 1958)

Year-by-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1969 Wytheville Senators Appalachian League 31-35 4th Washington Senators none
1970 Pittsfield Senators Eastern League 33-24 -- Washington Senators replaced by P.J. Campbell (0-1) on June 26
Denver Bears American Association 40-33 4th Washington Senators Lost League Finals replaced Art Fowler (2-0) on June 27

Sources[edit]

Baseball-Reference.com
Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball: Third Edition
Baseball Players of the 1950s
SABR MILB Database:page

Further Reading[edit]

  • Don Hyslop: "Dick Gernert", in Mark Armour and Bill Nowlin, eds.: Red Sox Baseball in the Days of Ike and Elvis: The Red Sox of the 1950s, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2012, pp. 159-165. ISBN 978-1933599243

Related Sites[edit]