Saturday, November 18, 2006
Jay Hook Born
"The '62 Mets, it seems, were having a lot of trouble defending the double steal...Stengel called a team meeting to address the problem and asked if anybody had any suggestions. Hook raised his hand and said, 'I've got an idea, Casey. When they try the double steal, why not have our pitcher intercept the throw down to second and then fire it back to the plate?'
As luck would have it, the next time the Mets were faced with a first-and-third situation, Hook was on the mound. The speedy Vada Pinson was on first and the plodding Wally Post on third. Reds' skipper Freddie Hutchinson put on the double steal...[so] Mets catcher Choo Choo Coleman caught the pitch and fired a strike right over the pitcher's mound. Instead of intercepting Coleman's throw, Hook ducked and watched the ball fly toward second base. Mets' second baseman Hot Rod Kanehl took the throw in front of the bag and made a great return throw that was on target to nail the chugging Post--except that Hook, suddenly remembering the new plan, reached up and cut it off!...which allowed Post to score easily"
~Mike Shannon [Quoting Richie Ashburn], Tales from the Dugout
[That's a fairly typical Jay Hook story, Hook was by all accounts a remarkably bright guy; he had a degree in engineering from Northwestern and supposedly had a genius level IQ. Hook, however, suffered from an almost total lack of both common and baseball sense so stories like that abound. As you might've guessed by his being a member of the '62 Mets, he also rather suffered from a lack of baseball talent, finishing his career with a 5.23 ERA.]