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Hall of Fame Member Directory

August Herrmann

Class of 2008

Garry was always more of a sport than a businessman, and as a host and entertainer he was without peer.

- Historian Lee Allen in 'The Cincinnati Reds'

Born in Cincinnati in 1859, August "Garry" Herrmann was a key player in the government of George "Boss" Cox, whose political machine dominated Cincinnati public affairs throughout the last two decades of the 19th century. Herrmann worked his way through the ranks and ascended to the leadership of Cincinnati's Waterworks, an enterprise that was considered to be the finest in the nation.

In 1902, Herrmann was part of a group of prominent Cincinnatians that joined together to buy the Reds. Herrmann was installed as the club's president and remained in that position until he retired in 1927.

As club president, Herrmann oversaw the construction of Redland Field, the ballpark that was later renamed Crosley Field and that served as the Reds' home until the middle of the 1970 season. Herrmann was also at the helm for the Reds' first World Series victory in 1919, a triumph that was tainted when it was learned that members of the opposing Chicago White Sox had conspired with gamblers to intentionally lose the Series.

The scandal that followed the World Series was especially difficult for Herrmann given his role in the very creation of the Fall Classic. At the turn of the century, the National League was trying to ward off the upstart American League. After two years of conflict, the leagues negotiated a peace settlement in January 1903 that called for the formation of a three-man National Commission that would mediate league disputes and oversee the general operations of the game. Each league president would sit on the commission and Garry Herrmann was chosen by his peers to be the third member and chairman, a position he would hold until 1920 when the Commission was dissolved amidst the fallout of the 1919 World Series scandal. As chairman, Herrmann took the lead role in negotiating an agreement between the two leagues that called for the establishment of a postseason "World's Series" that would pit the champions of each league against each other in a best-of-seven series. Inaugurated as an annual event in 1905, the World Series was an immediate sensation and earned Herrmann the nickname "Father of the World Series".

Despite the scandal surrounding the World Series, the 1919 edition of the Reds represented the apex of on-field achievement for the club during Herrmann's reign. Like most club presidents of the time, Herrmann acted as his own general manager and the 1919 team had come together largely at his direction. The 1919 club built under Herrmann featured Edd Roush, Heinie Groh, Jake Dabuert, Rube Bressler, Dolf Luque and Larry Kopf, each of whom has been inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame. Fellow Reds Hall of Famers Eppa Rixey, Hughie Critz, Bubbles Hargrave, Pete Donohue and Red Lucas also made their Reds debuts over the quarter century that Herrmann led the club. In all, under Herrmann, the Reds won one World Championship and garnered three second place and four third place finishes.

While the Reds did not always win under Herrmann, he always seemed to find a way to have a good time. A flashy dresser well known for his gold rings and his rounded frame, Herrmann was the life of every party and became the standard-bearer for the Cincinnati style of celebration. Once declaring himself, "the champion beer drinker and sausage eater," Herrmann took these Cincinnati favorites with him everywhere he went. So beholden was Herrmann to his culinary preferences that he once cut a Long Island yachting trip short when his sausage delivery failed to arrive. He simply could not go more than a day without it.

Herrmann's professional career was wide and varied. He began as a typesetter before embarking on a public service career that allowed him to rise to local prominence. His position in the Cox machine was a stepping-stone to his leadership of the Reds and the significant role he played in the governance of the game. Regardless of his profession or his position, Herrmann was first and foremost a Cincinnatian. "He was the living personification of Cincinnati culture," historian Lee Allen wrote. "To remember him is to remember the outdoor beer gardens and vaudeville, the singing waiters, the foaming steins of beer, the Liederkrantz sandwiches, the belching, guffawing laughter of long-forgotten nights."

August "Garry" Herrmann died in Cincinnati in 1931.

August Herrmann
Nickname:
Garry
Height:
' "
Weight:
Born:
May 3, 1859, Cincinnati, OH
Death:
April 25, 1931, Cincinnati, OH
How Acquired:
Named club president on August 9, 1902
Inducted
into the Reds Hall of Fame 2008
Player image for August Herrmann

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