The odds against Wally Hergesheimer's success in hockey were as firmly stacked in place as sandbags against a flood. At the start of his pro career with the Minneapolis Millers in 1947, he stood 5' 8" and weighed only 145 pounds. He was also humourously known as "Fingers" because he'd lost his index and middle fingers up to the knuckles of his right hand in a punch-press accident.
"When I made it to the NHL," he recounted, "it was something I never really expected. It was little Wally this and little Wally that?but I just kept going and?everything seemed to fall into place."
By 1951, Hergesheimer was voted the AHL's most outstanding rookie on the strength of his 96 points in 82 games with the Cleveland Barons. The New Rangers brought him on board the following season. He quickly established a reputation for angling his way into the goal crease to cash rebounds into goals. His success earned him the nickname "Garbage Collector."
In 1956, Hergesheimer was traded to the Blackhawks where he played one year before heading to Buffalo of the AHL for a season. 1958 brought one final crack at the NHL that lasted only 22 games. He then played three seasons respectively with Buffalo of the AHL plus Calgary and Los Angeles of the WHL.