Leonard Levin and Robert H. Schaefer
The opportunity for Gene Hermanski to become a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers arose when one of the Class D teams he played for in 1940 folded after the season. When that happened, Hermanski became a free agent. Signed by the Dodgers, he eventually made his way to the big leagues, where he became a reliable backup outfielder on the 1947 pennant-winning Dodgers, and carved out a career playing mostly a utility role for nine seasons.
Eugene Victor Hermanski was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, on May 11, 1920, to Stephen and Pauline (Oboyski) Hermanski (the family name was also spelled Horomanski and Horomenski). Stephen, seeking new opportunities, moved his family to Newark, New Jersey, in 1924 shortly after their second son, Roman, was born.1
Baseball became an important part of Gene’s life at an early age. He played for Newark’s East Side High School, winners of the state championship, and also played in the semipro Essex County League.2 After he graduated, Hermanski signed with the Philadelphia Athletics, and in 1939 he played for Kinston (North Carolina) in the Class D Coastal Plain League and Federalsburg (Maryland) in the Class D Eastern Shore League. Gene, a left-handed-hitting, right-handed-throwing outfielder, hit a combined .244 in seventy-six games in his first season of professional baseball.
Gene Hermanski started all seven games of the World
Series against the Yankees.
In 1940 he again played at Kinston and Federalsburg but ended the season with the Pocomoke City (Maryland) Chicks of the Eastern Shore League. Though the Chicks were an Athletics affiliate, Hermanski teamed there with a future Dodgers teammate, All-Star outfielder Carl Furillo. At Federalsburg and Pocomoke City, Hermanski hit a combined .309 with eleven home runs.
Pocomoke City, which finished last in the eightteam circuit, disbanded at the end of the 1940 season, making the twenty-year-old Hermanski a free agent. Gene then notified the Dodgers he was available; they signed him and sent him to the Montreal Royals, their Class Triple-A affiliate in the