In Memory of Dick Gernert

Dick Gernert, 89, passes away, had long career in baseball
Reading [PA] Eagle
December 3, 2015

(c) Houston Astros

Dick Gernert came at the end of a sudden wave that swept seven Reading High products into the major leagues in the middle of the 20th century.

First, there was Charlie Wagner and Dom Dallessandro. Then, Vic Wertz and Whitey Kurowski, George Eyrich and Jesse Levan.

Gernert, who died Thursday at the age of 89, was the last, making his debut with the Boston Red Sox in 1952, after being signed by Wagner, then in the early stages of his long tenure as a team scout.

Ironically, it was the acquisition of Wertz in 1959 that prompted Gernert's Boston exit, leading to parts of three more major league seasons with the Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers and Houston Colt .45s.

Gernert spent 11 seasons in the majors, ending in 1962, batting .254 with 103 home runs and 402 RBIs.

He then played the 1963-64 seasons with the Reading Red Sox in the Eastern League before a series of positions in the game: manager in the minor leagues, coach in the major leagues, scout for four different teams and three years as director of player development for the New York Mets.

Gernert went to Northeast Junior High, then became a standout at Reading High in football, basketball and baseball, leading the basketball team in scoring as a junior and senior and graduating in 1947 as the outstanding senior athlete.

He also helped Gregg Post win one of its numerous state Legion titles in 1944.

He went on to an athletic scholarship to Temple University, playing basketball and baseball.

During the summer, Gernert played in the Nova Scotia League, creating quite a reputation.

"He is kind of a hero up there in Nova Scotia, isn't he?" Hall of Famer Ted Williams, who became Gernert's teammate with the Red Sox, said years later. "A hell of a guy, a pretty good hitter. Just a great guy."

After two years in the minors, he was called up to the Red Sox and had two solid seasons before illness, including hepatitis, slowed his career for two seasons.

He returned to the majors with the Red Sox in 1956 and was a fixture at first base for the next three seasons.

He was inducted in the fourth class of the Berks Chapter of Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1979, the Reading Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994 and the first class of the Reading High Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.

The other inaugural RHS inductees were Pete Carril, Jim Gano, Ruth Hartman, Stu Jackson, Paul "Cooter" Jones, Donyell Marshall, Lenny Moore and Fred Richardson.

Quite a lineup.