Friday, May 8, 2015

1964 Topps Colts Rookie Stars: Steve Hertz, Joe Hoerner

Steve Hertz was signed as an 18 year old by the Houston Colt .45s in 1963. He labored in the farm system from 1964-1969 but did come up for cup of coffee with the Colts in early 1964. Hertz remain involved with the sport well after his playing days were over. He managed at the high school level then junior college level in Miami amassing 778 JUCO victories. He even coached the Tel Aviv Lightning in the Israel Baseball League.

Impressive as all that is, the thing that fascinated me while researching Steve Hertz is that he had only 4 plate appearances in 5 games. He had 3 strikeouts, no hits, no walks, was not hit by a pitch, never stole a base, yet he scored twice. His first run came against the Cubs. He popped up to Lou Brock in left field. When Brock dropped the ball Hertz ended up on 2nd base. He scored on another error. Ernie Banks mishandled a Rusty Staub grounder to first base. His second run came as a pinch-runner against the Phillies. He filled in after Al Spangler drew a base on balls. A passed ball, 2 walks and a single later, Hertz was crossing the plate for the second and last time in his short career.

1964    19 HOU NL 5  4  4 2 0   0  0  0  3 .000   0   0
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 5/8/2015

Although his MLB career was anything but giant, I created this 1964 Topps Giant Card That Never Was to honor a player with some of the strangest MLB stats I have come across.


Joe Hoerner was originally signed by the White Sox in 1957 before being taken by the Colts in the 1961 minor league draft. He remained primarily a minor league pitcher with the exception of 1 game in 1963 and 7 in 1964 for Houston. The Cardinals picked him up via the Rule 5 Draft in 1966. He immediately assumed the role of closer, finishing 39 games and  earning 13 saves. He would help the Cardinals to the World Championship in 1967. In 1968 he would have his best year going 8-2 with a 1.47 ERA. He would also have 17 save, the 2nd most in the NL.

He was traded to the Phillies after the 1969 season as part of the infamous Curt Flood for Dick Allen trade in which Flood refused to report which ultimately led to free agency. He was the Phillies sole representative at the 1970 All Star game but never left the bull-pen. He continued pitching through the 1977 season with the Phillies, Braves, Royals, Rangers and Reds. He would finish his career with a record of 39-34 with 98 saves and an ERA of 2.99.

For his Card That Never Was I am going to re-use a 1969 Topps League Leader card I made for Cards That Never Were in recognition of his statistically best MLB season.


As usual, I found the stories behind these players more interesting than the card itself. But for that same reason I have to give it a 4 "Set Filler".


  1. Joe had a very successful travel agency in St. Louis for many years. He died at the age of 59.

  2. On Steve Hertz, I would just comment that I would almost rather score a run than get base hit and neither score a run nor drive one in. When you score a run, *you* actually matter in the final score. Even if you get a triple, and you are stranded, it is like your efforts were for naught.