Ernie Herbert Joins the Vols in 1916

Ern Albert “Ernie” Herbert, nicknamed “Tex”, a 5’10”, 165-pound right-handed pitcher from Breckinridge, Missouri, joined the Nashville ball club in 1916 after two seasons with the St. Louis Terriers of the Federal League in 1914 and 1915. He also pitched in six games with Cincinnati in 1913.

Accounting for his pitching record in the National and Federal leagues, he holds the major league career record for most innings pitched (115 2/3) without a loss.

Before the 1916 season began, the St. Louis Browns purchased his contract from the Terriers, and Nashville purchased his contract on February 6.

He got off to a rocky start to begin his season with the Vols when he turned his ankle on the first day of spring training on March 16. He recovered from that injury but started on April 3 in an exhibition contest in Louisville, even though he had a sore arm. He lasted five innings against the Colonels but was the losing pitcher by giving up five runs on 11 hits. The Vols lost, 7-1.

On June 21, in a game against Atlanta, he broke a blood vessel from a batted ball hitting his pitching hand and could not grip a baseball. At the time, he was 7-2.

He returned to action on July 16 after being under the care of the club physician for nearly a month and held Little Rock to three hits in Nashville’s win.  He soon came down with a case of malaria but considered himself healed. Manager Roy Ellam started him against Little Rock on July 25, but he did not pitch well.

 Herbert continued to recover, and on September 9 in Little Rock, he pitched a complete game victory for Nashville, 3-2, on the season’s final day for the pennant-winning Vols. He finished with 13 wins against eight losses.

After considering retirement, Herbert returned to the Vols in 1917 but was the last player to sign a contract. After two spring training games, Ellam gave him five days to hook on with another team, but he was kept on the roster as the regular season began. With no wins in two games, on April 30, he was given his outright release.

His career is unclear beyond his time with Nashville. Herbert passed away in Dallas, Texas, on January 13, 1968, at 80 years old and buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Marceline, Linn County, Missouri.


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