Wally Hebert, pitcher
Padres: 1936-1942 Wally “Preacher” Hebert had a nine year PCL career sandwiched between the St. Louis Browns and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Coming to San Diego with the Hollywood team, he was an original Padre. He led the mound staff in wins in 1936 and 1939. Additionally, Hebert had the lowest earned run average on the team in ’36, ’39, and ’42. He established the club record for complete games (33) in 1942 while logging 319 innings of work.
[Wally Hebert interview by Bill Swank, 25 February 1985, transcript notes.]
In ’31, ’32 and ’33, I was with the Browns. I didn’t do much there, but I did get to pitch against Babe Ruth. He was strictly a fast ball hitter and I had good success with him. The first time I pitched against the Yankees, the first hitter was Jimmie Reese and he got a single. Then, I got Babe to hit into a double play. He was sure mad. I was just a rookie.
Me and Jimmy Levey were traded to Hollywood for Alan Strange in ’34. Something happened that first year. Ed Wells just came down from the Yankees and he had a one run lead in the ninth. He got one on and [manager] Oscar Vitt put me in. I made one pitch and we lost the game! You don’t forget those games! But, another time against Seattle, the bases were loaded with no outs and I went in. A fly went to Jimmy Levey and he caught it at second. He could have walked to first, but he threw it. Otherwise, he would have made an unassisted triple play. So, I had one throw and got three outs!
I remember the series with Sacramento in ’37. We’d beat ’em seven straight and we got ’em so shook up, we beat ’em four straight in the playoffs, too.
During the War, the town [San Diego] got real crowded, but you could get gas. Those Navy guys and Marines would come to the games from basic training and cheer for us. Those old boys from Louisiana would call me Preacher, cause that’s what everybody in Lake Charles called me. That’s how y’all knew I was Preacher.
We had a lot of fun in the Pacific Coast League. My last year, Ray Prim beat me, 1-0 in the playoffs, but I beat him, 1-0 in the sixth game. That was in ’42. Well, the Angels won that last game.