Born: May 11, 1920
Died: August 9, 2010
Eugene Victor Hermanski was born May 11, 1920 in Pittsfield, MA. His family moved to Newark when he was four. Gene was a good all-around athlete who made a name for himself as a hard-hitting outfielder for East Side High. He also played semipro ball as a teenager for teams around Essex County. The Philadelphia A’s scouted Gene and signed him after graduation.
In his second year of pro ball, Gene found himself playing alongside Carl Furillo, at the time a Dodgers farmhand. At the end of the season, he became a free agent and the Dodgers signed him. Gene had a great year in 1941 playing for the Class-D Olean Oilers, and was expected to leapfrog up to the AAA Montreal Royals in 1942. But World War II intervened and Gene joined the Coast Guard.
Gene was able to play a few games in the minors in 1943 while on leave and did so well the Dodgers called him up to Brooklyn, where he played left field for three weeks in August and batted .300 with 12 RBIs before shipping off to flight school. He wanted to become a naval aviator. For the rest of the war, Gene was able to play ball on a more or less regular basis, so when he reported to Spring Training in 1946 he was in prime playing shape. He spent the season as a reserve before earning a share of the everyday left field job in 1947. The Dodgers won the pennant in 1947. Gene batted .275 in 79 games. He started all seven games in a World Series loss to the Yankees and hit the ball hard, but right at the New York fielders.
Gene became the team’s regular right fielder in 1948 and had his best year in the majors. He led the club with 15 homers and hit .290. Three of those round-trippers came in an August game against the Cubs in Ebbets Field. The Dodgers won another pennant in 1949, with Gene serving as a platoon outfielder. He hit .308 in the World Sereis, but the Yankees won again. After one more productive year with the Dodgers, he was traded to the Cubs early in the 1951 season in a multiplayer deal that landed Brooklyn Andy Pafko.
The Cubs dealt Gene to the Pirates early in the 1953 campaign in a deal that brought Ralph Kiner to Chicago. A year later, Pittsburgh released Gene. He played a couple more seasons in the minors before getting into construction equipment and truck sales for a company in New England. He worked for a Jersey City firm in the 1970s and lived in North Plainfield. He passed away at the age of 90 after retiring to Homosassa Springs, Florida.