Friday, November 15, 2013

Don Hoak (#305)

Here is Phillies’ 3rd baseman Don Hoak, who looks somewhat like Mickey Mantle in this photo, IMO.

Hoak played in the minors from 1947-53, and was a third baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1954-55), Cubs (1956), Reds (1957-58), Pirates (1959-62), and Phillies (1963-64).

His lone all-star appearance came in 1957, when he also led the NL with 39 doubles. Hoak was one of SEVEN Cincinnati players voted into the NL starting lineup for the all-star game. As a result of the ballot box stuffing, the commissioner replaced several Reds players, and took the voting away from the fans, which they did not regain until 1970.

We’ve all heard of the saying that “no team can win with 3 ex-Cubs on the roster”. The exception was the 1960 Pirates, but I once heard a funny explanation that, since Hoak was only with the Cubs for 1 season, and he hated his time there, he didn’t count toward The Curse.

Hoak spent the final 2 seasons of his career with the Phillies. He was acquired from the Pirates in November 1962 for Pancho Herrera (who had been the team’s regular 1st baseman from 1960-61, but spent 1962-74 in the minors) and journeyman outfielder Ted Savage.

Don was the Phil’s regular 3rd baseman in 1963, but at age 35, he only hit .231 in 115 games. The following season, rookie Richie Allen took over the position, and Hoak was released on May 18th, having only made 6 pinch-hitting appearances up to that point.

When I first started following the Phillies in 1967, Don was their 1st-base coach. He also managed in the Pirates’ farm system during the ’68 and ’69 seasons.

Hoak passed away in October 1969 at age 41.

1 comment:

tinctureofhorsehide said...

To these two eyes, he doesn't look much like Mantle. Seem to recall that he died of heart failure chasing would-be car thieves.