Last week, White Sox Head Athletic Trainer Herm Schneider took the field at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago for Opening Day. This marked the 40th home opener with the White Sox for baseball’s longest-tenured athletic trainer — one of the best in the game.
After being raised in the Netherlands and in Rochester, New York, Herm Schneider aspired to make his mark on the game of baseball and the athletic training profession. He began his career in sports medicine in 1969 in the Instructional League with the Orioles, prior to joining the New York Yankees.
A few years after joining the Yankees organization, Schneider made his way up to the Major Leagues. He worked as the assistant athletic trainer on the Yankees’ World Series Championship teams 1977 and 1978, before joining the Chicago White Sox in 1979.
Schneider’s importance to the White Sox is second to none. No team has used the disabled list less frequently than the Sox since 2002 — 169 times, accounting for 8,267 days. The Astros are a distant second at 204 times and 9,942 days.
The White Sox even presented Herm with a bat commemorating the 690 players who have been in his care since 1979.
Last week, Ron Kittle presented head trainer Herm Schneider with a six-foot long bat that commemorated his 40th #WhiteSox Home Opener! The bat included the list of every one of the 690 players who have been under his care with the Sox since 1979. pic.twitter.com/YWXRO5fWXX
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) April 10, 2018
Prior to his 40th consecutive home opener — a new record for athletic trainers in baseball; we spoke to Herm about his career, his love for the game and his impact on the athletic training profession.
PBATS: What has 40 years with the White Sox mean to you?
Herm: It’s an incredible honor and achievement for me and also my staff with the White Sox. Longevity is something that I’ve strived for … for a very long time. It makes me so happy to work with such an amazing organization like the White Sox. I’m happy that I’ve had the privilege of taking care of so many amazing athletes.
PBATS: What are some of the highlights of your career?
Herm: World series championships are obviously a huge highlight, but seeing the athletes who unfortunately got injured take the field after working with me for days, weeks and sometimes months is really an amazing feeling. To me, knowing that an athlete was hurt, worked to get back on the field with me and then succeeded in his role back on the field is incredible. It’s an honor and a privilege to work with such talented people.
PBATS: What advice do you have for younger athletic training students on how to make this a long successful career?
Herm: To become a successful athletic trainer, it’s important to remember to do everything with a good thought and be as professional as you can. Hopefully, as you work hard and put yourself in a good position and surround yourself with great people, then good things will happen. You have to learn what not to do, when to make a firm decision, and also when to lean on other people, like your staff or players. You must have the ability and awareness to think before you act to make sure you’re doing things for the right reasons.
PBATS: What has being a member of PBATS meant to you?
Herm: I was a charter member, and I’m one of the very few that are still in the training room today. Back in the day, before the group was organized as it is today, we went off into a room to establish PBATS and bring together athletic training professionals. PBATS is near and dear to my heart. A lot of people never thought the society would be what it is today, and we all owe it to those who have come before us. I advise younger athletic trainers to work hard to understand what people did for them before they started in this profession, myself included.
PBATS is in great hands with Mark O’Neal and the executive committee that we have in place. Everyone seems to be doing an amazing job. But we can’t forget those who have come before us.