Stan Hack

Stanley Camfield Hack (December 6, 1909 – December 15, 1979), nicknamed "Smiling Stan", was an American third baseman and manager in Major League Baseball who played his entire career for the Chicago Cubs and was the National League's top third baseman in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Usually a leadoff hitter, he batted .301 lifetime, scored 100 runs seven times and led the NL in hits and stolen bases twice each. His 1092 walks ranked fourth in NL history when he retired, and remain a franchise record; he also hit .348 over four World Series. His .394 career on-base percentage was the highest by a 20th-century third baseman until Wade Boggs exceeded it in the late 1980s, and was the top NL mark until 2001. Hack led the NL in putouts five times, in double plays three times and in assists and fielding percentage twice each. At the end of his career he ranked second in major league history to Pie Traynor in games (1836) at third base, second in NL history to Traynor in putouts (1944), assists (3494) and total chances (5684), and third in NL history in double plays (255).

Stan Hack
Stan Hack 1938.jpeg
Third baseman / Manager
Born: December 6, 1909
Sacramento, California
Died: December 15, 1979 (aged 70)
Dixon, Illinois
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 12, 1932, for the Chicago Cubs
Last MLB appearance
September 24, 1947, for the Chicago Cubs
MLB statistics
Batting average.301
Hits2,193
Home runs57
Runs batted in642
Managerial record199–272
Winning %.423
Teams
As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards

Career

Hack, who batted left-handed and threw right-handed, was born in Sacramento, California and played baseball at Sacramento High School. After high school he worked at a bank and played semi-pro baseball on weekends. He tried out for the Sacramento Solons in 1931, and was signed by Cubs president William Veeck, Sr. for $40,000 after hitting .352 in his first minor league season that year. He broke in with the Cubs in 1932, and backed up Woody English in his first two years – also hitting .299 in the International League in 1933 – before becoming the full-time third baseman in 1934. In the 1932 World Series against the New York Yankees, his sole appearance was as a pinch runner for Gabby Hartnett in the eighth inning of the final 13-6 Game 4 loss. In his first full year in 1934, he batted a respectable .289 and tied for fifth in the league with 11 steals. In 1935 he began to assume Traynor's mantle as the league's top third baseman, batting .311 and finishing third in the NL in on-base percentage and tied for fourth in steals.

He quickly became one of the sport's most popular players, and 21-year-old team employee Bill Veeck (William's son) staged a 1935 promotion in which fans were given mirrors labeled "Smile with Stan", with Hack's face on the reverse side; but the fans used the mirrors to reflect sunlight into the eyes of opposing batters, and the umpires threatened to forfeit the game if they didn't stop. The NL office quickly banned any similar promotions in the future. Batting an unusually low seventh in the 1935 World Series against the Detroit Tigers, he hit only .227 as the Cubs lost in six games. In Game 3 he singled, stole second base and scored to give Chicago a 2-0 lead in the second inning, and singled and scored again in the ninth as the Cubs tied the game 5-5, though they lost 6–5 in 11 innings. In Game 6 at Navin Field he doubled with two out in the sixth inning, and tripled to lead off the ninth with the score tied 3–3, but the Cubs were unable to drive him in. Manager Charlie Grimm opted to let starting pitcher Larry French bat with one out, and French hit a ground ball to the pitcher, with Augie Galan flying to left to end the inning; the Tigers won the Series in the bottom of the inning when Mickey Cochrane scored on Goose Goslin's single.

In 1936 Hack batted .298, and tied for second in the NL with 17 steals – the first of five straight years in which he finished first or second. He also scored 100 runs for the first time, and had a career-high 78 runs batted in. He led the league in putouts (151), assists (247) and double plays (25) in 1937, and was second in runs (106) and steals (16) and third in walks (83) while hitting .297. 1938 marked his best season to date as he hit .320 (sixth in the league), led the NL in steals (16), was second in hits (195) and runs (109), fourth in walks (94) and fifth in on-base percentage (.411). He had 67 RBI as the team featured a remarkably well balanced offense, with seven of the eight regulars having between 56 and 67 RBI. He was among the league's top ten players in doubles, triples (a career-best 11) and total bases, led the NL in putouts (178) and double plays (26), and made his first of five All-Star teams as the Cubs won the pennant by two games; Hack finished seventh in the MVP voting. In the World Series against the Yankees, he was one of the Cubs' scarce heroes, batting .471 although they were swept in four games. In Game 1 he had three singles and drove in the only Chicago run in a 3–1 loss. He singled and scored in the first inning of Game 2, and did so again to tie the score 2–2 in the third inning though they went on to lose 6–3. He doubled and scored in the fifth inning of Game 3 for a 1–0 lead, but they lost 5–2; he had two more hits in the 8–3 Game 4 loss.

In 1939 he batted .298 and tied for the NL lead in steals with 17, also finishing second in runs (112) and pacing the league in putouts (177). He had another outstanding campaign in 1940, topping the league in putouts (175), assists (302) and double plays (27), finishing fourth with a .317 batting average, and tying for the NL lead in hits (191). He was one behind the league leader with 21 steals, and was fourth in doubles (38, a personal best), fifth in runs (101), and sixth in on-base percentage (.395) and total bases (265). Although he did not make the All-Star team, he finished eighth in the MVP balloting. On May 17 of that year, he suffered a concussion after being hit in the head by a foul ball while standing on third base as a baserunner. 1941 saw him duplicate the previous year's accomplishments by again finishing fourth in the NL with a .317 batting mark and leading the league in hits; he was second in the league with a .417 on-base percentage and 111 runs, fourth in walks and fifth in doubles. And in 1942 he was third in hits and doubles, fourth in runs and walks, and fifth in on-base percentage, while again batting .300 and leading the NL in fielding average for the first time with a .965 mark.

1943 saw a slight dropoff in his performance, though he was still among the league leaders in walks and on-base percentage, with a .289 batting average, and was again an All-Star; but a strained relationship with manager Jimmie Wilson led Hack to retire at season's end. He was persuaded to return in mid-1944 after Grimm returned to lead the team, and batted .282 in 98 games – his lowest mark in over ten years – with similarly lowered averages in slugging and OBP. But 1945 marked a full comeback as he enjoyed one of his best years, leading the NL again in putouts (195) and fielding average (.975), and setting a record with 54 consecutive errorless games. He hit a career-high .323 (fourth in the league), and finished third in OBP (.420), hits (193) and walks (99) and fifth in runs (110). The Cubs won the pennant by three games, and Hack finished eleventh in the MVP vote, won by teammate Phil Cavarretta. In the World Series against the Tigers, he hit .367, though memories of the last game of the 1935 Series lingered. In Game 1 at Detroit he was observed staring out toward third base, and when asked what he was looking at he replied, "I was just looking to see if I was still standing there." He reached base four times in a 4-1 loss in Game 2, and had two hits in the 3-0 Game 3 win. Game 6 at Wrigley Field was a thrilling affair; after a walk and a single in his first two turns at the plate, he singled with the bases loaded in the fifth inning to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead, and went on to score himself. After another walk and single, he came to bat in the 12th inning with the score tied 7-7, two out and pinch runner Bill Schuster on first base; Hack doubled to left field off Tiger pitcher Dizzy Trout, with the ball taking a sharp bounce over outfielder Hank Greenberg's shoulder, giving the Cubs an 8-7 win and tying the Series. At the time, it was the first time in Cubs history any player recorded 4 hits in a World Series game; a feat that was matched 71 years later by Kris Bryant in Game 6 of the 2016 World Series. It was all for naught, however, as Chicago lost 9-3 in Game 7. They would not return to the Fall Classic until 2016.

In 1946 he hit .285 in only 92 games, though he was still fifth in the league with 83 walks. He ended his career in 1947 with a .271 average in 76 games. In a 16-season career, Hack had 57 home runs and 642 RBI; his totals of 1938 games, 7278 at bats and 2193 hits ranked second in Cubs history to 19th-century first baseman Cap Anson, and his totals in hits, doubles (363) and total bases (2889) placed him behind only Traynor among NL third basemen. His 1239 runs were the third most by a third baseman, behind only Arlie Latham (1478) and Lave Cross (1333); his 165 stolen bases were the fourth most by any National Leaguer between 1920 and 1950, trailing only Frankie Frisch, Max Carey and Kiki Cuyler. He was only 27 games behind Traynor's league record for games at third base, and was behind only Traynor and Heinie Groh in career double plays in the NL. His total of 1092 walks – then the most by any third baseman – placed him behind only Mel Ott (1708), Jimmy Sheckard (1134) and Billy Hamilton (1096) in NL history. In 2001, Chipper Jones moved ahead of his career on-base percentage among NL third basemen.

Managing

Hack became a minor league manager, leading Des Moines in 1948–49, Springfield in 1950 and the Los Angeles Angels from 1951 to 1953, and then took over as Cubs manager in spring training of 1954, replacing Cavarretta. They had losing campaigns during each of his three seasons running the team. He became a batting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1957–58, managing them for the last ten games in 1958, and then returned to managing in the minor leagues in Denver (1959), Salt Lake City (1965) and Dallas-Fort Worth (1966).

Personal life and post-career

He later became a restaurant manager, with his second wife Gwen, and died at age 70 in Dixon, Illinois. His first wife Dorothy Weisel Hack was a prominent amateur tennis player. He is buried in Grand Detour Cemetery in Grand Detour, Illinois. Stan had two sons with Gwen: Stanford Hack and David Hack. David had two sons with his first wife, Diane: Michael and Robert Hack, then a son and daughter with his second wife, Deb: Steven and Rebecca.

Quotations

  • "I watch the ball more than most hitters. I let it get right up on me – maybe I even swing a little late." – explaining why most of his hits went to the opposite field
  • "Hack came closest to an earthly manifestation of the ideal third baseman of the day. Tall, slender, handsome, confident – Hack was the idol of every sandlot urchin playing third base in a pair of torn knickers." – William Curran, author of a study on baseball fielding

See also

References

  • Baseball: The Biographical Encyclopedia (2000). Kingston, New York: Total/Sports Illustrated. ISBN 1-892129-34-5.

External links

1934 Chicago Cubs season

The 1934 Chicago Cubs season was the 63rd season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 59th in the National League and the 19th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished third in the National League with a record of 86–65.

1935 Chicago Cubs season

The 1935 Chicago Cubs season was the 64th season for the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 60th in the National League and the 20th at Wrigley Field. The season saw the Cubs finish with 100 wins for the first time in 25 years; they would not win 100 games in another season until 2016. The Cubs won their 14th National League pennant in team history and faced the Detroit Tigers in the World Series, but lost in six games.

The 1935 season is largely remembered for the Cubs' 21-game winning streak. The streak began on September 4 with the Cubs 2.5 games out of first place. They would not lose again until September 28. The streak propelled the Cubs to the National League pennant. The 21-game winning streak tied the franchise and major league record set in 1880 when they were known as the Chicago White Stockings.

1935 World Series

The 1935 World Series featured the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago Cubs, with the Tigers winning in six games for their first championship in five Series appearances. They had lost in 1907, 1908, 1909, and 1934.

The Tigers won despite losing the services of first baseman Hank Greenberg. In Game 2, Greenberg collided with Cubs catcher Gabby Hartnett and broke his wrist, sidelining him for the rest of the Series.

The Cubs had won 21 consecutive games in September (still a record as of 2018), eventually taking the National League pennant by four games over the defending World Series champions, the St. Louis Cardinals.

In Game 6, Tommy Bridges pitched a complete game victory to win the Series for Detroit. With the score tied 3–3 in the top of the ninth inning, Bridges gave up a leadoff triple to Stan Hack, but retired the next three batters without the runner on third scoring. In the bottom of the ninth, Goose Goslin drove in the winning run with two outs. After the game, manager Mickey Cochrane said the following of Bridges' gutsy performance: "A hundred and fifty pounds of courage. If there ever is a payoff on courage this little 150-pound pitcher is the greatest World Series hero."In addition to Bridges, the Tigers had a hitting hero. Right fielder Pete Fox accumulated ten hits and an average of .385 for the Series. Fox hit safely in all six games.

Detroit owner Frank Navin, then 64 years old, had been running the organization for 30 years and had seen four of his teams win American League pennants, only to lose four World Series. Six weeks after the Tigers finally won the World Series in October 1935, Navin suffered a heart attack while riding a horse and died.

1938 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1938 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the sixth playing of the mid-summer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 6, 1938, at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, Ohio, the home of the Cincinnati Reds of the National League. The game resulted in the National League defeating the American League 4–1.

1938 Major League Baseball season

The 1938 Major League Baseball season.

1939 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1939 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the seventh playing of the mid-summer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 11, 1939, at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, New York City, the home of the New York Yankees of the American League. The game resulted in the American League defeating the National League 3–1.

1940 Chicago Cubs season

The 1940 Chicago Cubs season was the 69th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 65th in the National League and the 25th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished fifth in the National League with a record of 75–79.

1941 Chicago Cubs season

The 1941 Chicago Cubs season was the 70th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 66th in the National League and the 26th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished sixth in the National League with a record of 70–84.

1941 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1941 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the ninth playing of the mid-summer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 8, 1941, at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Michigan, the home of the Detroit Tigers of the American League.

1942 Chicago Cubs season

The 1942 Chicago Cubs season was the 71st season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 67th in the National League and the 27th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished sixth in the National League with a record of 68–86.

1945 Chicago Cubs season

The 1945 Chicago Cubs season was the 74th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 70th in the National League and the 30th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs won the National League pennant with a record of 98–56, 3 games ahead of the second-place St. Louis Cardinals. The team went on to the 1945 World Series, which they lost to the Detroit Tigers in seven games. It would take 71 years before the Cubs made it to another World Series.

1945 World Series

The 1945 World Series matched the American League Champion Detroit Tigers against the National League Champion Chicago Cubs. The Tigers won the Series four games to three, giving them their second championship and first since 1935.

Paul Richards picked up four runs batted in in the seventh game of the series, to lead the Tigers to the 9–3 game win, and 4–3 Series win.

The World Series again used the 3–4 wartime setup for home field sites, instead of the normal 2–3–2. Although the major hostilities of World War II had ended, some of the rules were still in effect. Many of the majors' better players were still in military service. Warren Brown, author of a history of the Cubs in 1946, commented on this by titling one chapter "World's Worst Series". He also cited a famous quote of his, referencing himself anonymously and in the third person. When asked who he liked in the Series, he answered, "I don't think either one of them can win it."

In a similar vein, Frank Graham jokingly called this Series "the fat men versus the tall men at the office picnic."

One player decidedly not fitting that description was the Tigers' slugger Hank Greenberg, who had been discharged from military service early. He hit the only two Tigers homers in the Series, and scored seven runs overall and also drove in seven.

The Curse of the Billy Goat originated in this Series before the start of Game 4. Having last won the Series in 1908, the Cubs owned the dubious record of both the longest league pennant drought and the longest World Series drought in history, not winning another World Series until 2016.

The Series was a rematch of the 1935 World Series. In that Series' final game, Stan Hack led off the top of the ninth inning of Game 6 with a triple but was stranded, and the Cubs lost the game and the Series. Hack was still with the Cubs in 1945. According to Warren Brown's account, Hack was seen surveying the field before the first Series game. When asked what he was doing, Hack responded, "I just wanted to see if I was still standing there on third base."

1954 Chicago Cubs season

The 1954 Chicago Cubs season was the 83rd season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 79th in the National League and the 39th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished seventh in the National League with a record of 64–90.

1956 Chicago Cubs season

The 1956 Chicago Cubs season was the 85th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 81st in the National League and the 41st at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished eighth and last in the National League with a record of 60–94.

1958 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1958 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 77th season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 67th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 72–82 during the season and finished 5th in the National League.

Des Moines Bruins

Based in Des Moines, Iowa, the Des Moines Bruins were a minor league baseball team that played in the Western League from 1947 to 1958. Their home ballpark was Pioneer Memorial Stadium, and they were affiliated with the Chicago Cubs (1947–1957) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1958).

Grand Detour, Illinois

Grand Detour is an unincorporated census-designated place in Ogle County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2010 census, its population was 429. The village is named after an odd turn in the Rock River, which flows north past the village, rather than its normal southwestern course. John Deere invented the steel plow in Grand Detour, and the John Deere House and Shop is a U.S. National Historic Landmark.

Springfield Cubs

The Springfield Cubs, based in Springfield, Massachusetts, was an American minor league baseball franchise that served as a farm club of the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball from 1948–53. It was a member of the Class B New England League in 1948–49, and the Triple-A International League from 1950–53, and played at Pynchon Park.

Although the NEL Springfield franchise had mediocre won-loss records in 1948 and 1949, the team finished second in attendance in 1948 and led the New England League in its final season of operation (1949), drawing over 102,000 fans. After the NEL folded in the autumn of 1949, Springfield received a franchise in the International League when the Newark Bears transferred there for 1950. However, the Bears' parent team, the New York Yankees, did not follow, and Springfield retained its Cubs affiliation. It became Chicago's second Triple-A team, along with the Los Angeles Angels, the Cubbies' longtime franchise in the Pacific Coast League. Springfield's first Triple-A manager was Chicago favorite Smilin' Stan Hack.

The Triple-A Springfield franchise drew over 200,000 fans in its maiden season, and just missed the playoffs, finishing fifth in the eight-team International League. Future MLB third baseman Randy Jackson won rookie of the year honors. But that first season could not be duplicated, on or off the field. The Cubs did not have enough depth to field two strong Triple-A clubs, and the 1951–53 Springfield Cubs placed last in the IL and last, or next to last, in attendance. The franchise folded and was replaced by the Havana Sugar Kings in the 1954 IL lineup.

Times on base

In baseball statistics, the term times on base, also abbreviated as TOB, is the cumulative total number of times a batter has reached base as a result of hits, walks and hit by pitches. This statistic does not include times reaching first by way of error, dropped third strike, fielder's obstruction or a fielder's choice, making this statistic somewhat of a misnomer.

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