Friday, May 29, 2009

Group of 79 Project - Dick Gernert

Well, the Group of 79 Project is actually the Group of 80 Project. My list was missing a player. I changed the details on the page but I'm keeping the title for two reasons.

1: I don't want to try and figure out how to change all the tags and stuff, especially if anyone has things (particularly the display page) bookmarked

2: 79 is a much better number than 80. 79 is prime and cannot be written as the sum of three squares. 80 is four score and in base 3 is written as 2222. 79 is cooler for what it is not compared to what 80 is.

But we're a long way away from getting to either number and I fully expect another player to achieve the feat this season which would force me to go through the changes all over again. Worry about it when it happens, I guess.

Today's player is Dick Gernert. Mr. Gernert responded extremely quickly to my request for his autograph through the mail. You'll note that this is his 1960 card and that he only played for the Cubs for part of the 1960 season. Could this have something to do with the accomplishment? Probably not.

Gernert was primarily a first baseman for the Red Sox where he often batted behind Ted Williams. No doubt part of the reason Ted Williams was so great was because pitchers were forced to pitch to him because of his being protected by Gernert in the lineup (I could not type that last sentence with a straight face. Not because of anything to do with Gernert, just the whole lineup protection thing).

Gernert was quite an athlete, attending Temple University on a basketball scholarship. After his playing career, he took a break from the professional ranks to teach but then returned as a coach, manager and scout.

I found it interesting that five of Gernert's ten comparable players on Baseball Reference are among the Group of 79.

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