Meet the Players :: Francisco Herrera

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Name: Francisco (Panchon) Herrera
DOB: June 16, 1933   RIP: April 28, 2005
Birthplace: Havana, Cuba
Kansas City Monarchs 1952-'54

Position: first base, catcher Bats: right Throws: right

Francisco Herrera was born and raised in Havana Cuba on June 16, 1933. He began his professional baseball career in the United States in 1952. "Panchon," a catcher and first baseman filled a spot on the Kansas City Monarchs roster for three seasons. The Monarchs, much like every other Negro Leagues Baseball team, traveled by bus to kept up with their regular season schedule. It was common place for the team to seek and play additional games whenever possible. Challenging opponents included local teams, military and college teams, and the House of David teams. This activity is often referred to as barnstorming. Monies collected at the gate would be divided between the winner and the loser at a rate of usually 60% and 40% respectively.

Panchon retreat to Cuba in the winter months to play for the Havana Lions, the Cienfuegos Elephants. Mr. Herrera's career led him to the line-ups of the Philadelphia Phillies minor league organization from 1955 to 1961. He spent the 1962 season with Buffalo of the International League AAA Division. He also spent seasons south of the border in Mexico. He played in All Star games in nearly every year that he competed 1952, 1953, 1954, 1957, 1958 and 1959. Herrera suffered a broken leg during the 1959 season. After a period of rehabilitation, he made his comeback effort, returning to the fields he loved so much. Francisco was bothered by continued complications and ultimately chose to close the door on his baseball career.

After baseball, Panchon worked with the CAC (Cuban Association Clinic) for 22 years. He administered medical attention and personal support to aging Cubans. Mr. Herrera married his wife on September 24, 1955 and since then; they have together raised a happy family and have been blessed with four grandchildren.

Francisco enjoys working with and coaching kids, especially those who are interested in pursuing a future in the game of baseball.

*Panchon Herrera and fellow NLB Living Legend Paul Casanova are working with Chico Fernandez to start a baseball academy within the Miami, Florida community.

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