Actions
Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Hershbergers in:
 • Visalia Public Cemetery
 • Visalia
 • Tulare County
 • California
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Discussion Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Willard McKee Hershberger
Birth: May 28, 1910
Lemoncove
Tulare County
California, USA
Death: Aug. 3, 1940
Boston
Suffolk County
Massachusetts, USA

Major League Baseball Player. The only active player to ever commit suicide during a baseball season. Born in Lemon Cove, California, he played three seasons with the Cincinnati Reds until his death. An excellent hitting catcher with a career average of .316, he was the backup to catcher Ernie Lombardi. He played for the pennant winning Reds in the 1939 World Series loss to the Yankees with a hit in two plate appearances. In July 1940 Lombardi suffered a finger injury and Hershberger took his place in the starting lineup. When the Reds lost a game to the New York Giants during a heated pennant race, Hershberger overheard teammates saying that they would have won if Lombardi was catching. He made it known that he blamed himself for the loss of another game on August 2nd to the Boston Braves. Reds manager Bill McKechnie told him it was nonsense to feel so depressed about the loss, but the next day Hershberger ended his life with a razor in his room at Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston. He was 30. (His father had also committed suicide, in 1928). Two months later the Reds won their first World Series Championship since the Black Sox scandal in 1919. Hershberger's uniform number 5 was retired by the team after the incident but reactivated in 1942, only to be retired again when future Hall of Famer Johnny Bench finished playing in 1983.  (bio by: K Guy) 
 
Burial:
Visalia Public Cemetery
Visalia
Tulare County
California, USA
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: K Guy
Record added: Feb 12, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 17914010
Willard McKee Hershberger
Added by: K Guy
 
Willard McKee Hershberger
Added by: Ron Moody
 
Willard McKee Hershberger
Added by: William Tatum
 
There is 1 more photo not showing...
Click here to view all images...
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.


- Ryan Curtis
 Added: Aug. 3, 2014

- bob tarte
 Added: Dec. 7, 2013

- Tom Cummings
 Added: Apr. 11, 2013
There are 43 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
Do you have a photo to add? Click here
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (3.6 after 21 votes)
 

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service