Cardinals Sign Herr To Play 2nd
The Cardinals in keeping with a family tradition, have signed second baseman Aaron Herr. He will report to the Double-A Springfield Cardinals. Herr, 24, was taken in the supplemental first round (40th overall) in the 2000 amateur draft by the Atlanta Braves and had spent the past five seasons in the Braves organization until he was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the Triple-A portion of the Rule-5 Draft in December. Herr asked for his release from the Mariners last month when he learned the organization didn't have a starting role for him. He then signed on with his hometown team, the Lancaster Barnstormers of the independent Atlantic League, but didn't even appear in a game before the Cardinals signed him. Herr is coming off his best season last year, when he batted a career-high .272 with seven homers and 32 RBI in 94 games for Double-A Greenville. He also reached career highs with 20 doubles, seven stolen bases and a .341 on-base percentage. Overall, in 5 minor league seasons he has hit .254 with 31 homers in 402 games. The now 24-year-old served as a batboy when his father, Tom, was an All-Star second baseman for the Cardinals in the 1980s. Tom now manages the Barnstormers. "He grew up in that Cardinal clubhouse in Busch Stadium," Tom told the Lancaster New Era. "It's going to be a thrill for him to put on that uniform, I can tell you that. It's almost too good to be true." The St. Louis Cardinals can only hope that the apple doesn't fall to far from the tree. Tommy Herr took over as St. Louis' second baseman in 1980. With Ozzie Smith, he formed one of the best double play combinations in baseball, three times leading the NL in twin killings. He made only six errors at second base in 1984, nine in 1986, and seven in 1987. Not known for power, the selective switch-hitter did not get his first home run until his 337th major league game. Nonetheless, his speed and ability to make contact made him an excellent third-place hitter, especially in Busch Stadium with its distant fences and Astroturf. In 1981 and 1982 he did not go hitless more than two games in a row and in 1985 and 1986 he led Cardinals batters in RBI. Despite just eight home runs, he drove in 110 runs in 1985, becoming only the seventh second baseman in history to reach the century mark. He batted .302 with 38 doubles and 31 steals that season, providing much needed run production for a St. Louis team that won the NL pennant even with slugger Jack Clark losing time to a rib injury. Herr also drove in 83 runs for the Cardinals pennant-winning 1987 squad. Traded to the Twins for Tom Brunansky early in the 1988 season. Tommy Herr is still remember as one of the most popular players in Cardinals' history. The Baseball Library contributed to this report.