Herman Layne

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Herman Layne

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Biographical Information[edit]

Outfielder Herman Layne was hitless in 11 games in the majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1927 but was a star in the minors. He hit .327 with 2,097 hits and 315 stolen bases in 1,696 games in 13 minor league seasons and hit over .300 for 11 consecutive years. He played on five pennant winners.

He was the son of a miner from West Virginia's coal country. Layne's twin brother, Harry Layne, played minor league ball from 1922 to 1934, winning the Three-I League batting title in 1926. Herman attended West Virginia University, then began his professional career with Bristol of the Appalachian League in 1922. He led the league with a .354 batting average and his contract was purchased by the Detroit Tigers. By 1926, he was with the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League and led the circuit with 16 triples. Toronto traded him to the Pittsburgh Pirates for $ 30,000 and two players, and he was expected to become the Bucs' regular right fielder in 1927. However, he was beaten out of a job in spring training by future Hall of Famer Lloyd Waner and headed for the bench. He appeared in only 11 games in the season's first two months, 8 of them as a pinch-runner, before being sent down to the Indianapolis Indians of the American Association. On June 30, he hit two home runs in an exhibition game against the Pirates, but he would never get another shot at the big leagues.

After the 1929 season, he was traded to the Louisville Colonels of the American Association in return for Ed Sicking. He led the league in triples and stolen bases in 1930, then returned to Indianapolis in 1933, finishing out his career with Charleston of the Middle Atlantic League in 1934.

After his retirement, Herman Layne returned to his hometown and had a long and successful career in business. He died of a heart attack in 1973.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Clifford Blau: "Leg Men: Career Pinch-Runners in Major League Baseball", in The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 38, Number 1 (Summer 2009), pp. 70-81.

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