Saturday, February 05, 2005
February 5th, 1928
Don Hoak Born
Don Hoak was a third baseman for a variety of teams in the 50s and 60s, best known probably for his time with the Pirates where he was viewed as the emotional leader of the 1960 team that defeated the Yankees in the World Series. Hoak had formerly been a boxer but he retired after receiving seven straight knockouts, although I can assume Don only remembered the first two or three.
Hoak is one of only a few players in the post World War II era to have a rule change instituted based solely on a play he made. In April 1957, Hoak was on second base with Gus Bell on first and Wally Post at the plate. Post hit a groundball to shortstop Johnny Logan for a seemingly sure double-play. However, before
Hoak died in 1969, he was pursuing a car thief who had stolen his brother-in-law's car when he apparently suffered a heart attack. It was the end—quite literally, I suppose—of a bad day all around for Hoak. Earlier he had received word that his manager from 1960, Danny Murtaugh, had been named manager of the Pirates for the 1970 season, a job that Hoak had coveted after some successful seasons managing in the minors.