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Don Hoak

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1952 Parkhurst
1959 Topps

Donald Albert Hoak
(Tiger)

BR page

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[edit] Biographical Information

1954 Topps
Patricia Wettig: "I like baseball. I just don't memorize who played third base for Pittsburgh in 1960."
Crystal, Kirby, and Stern (simultaneously): "Don Hoak"
-- from the movie City Slickers, 1991.

Don Hoak was a solid hitter and fielder who played 3rd base for the Pittsburgh Pirates during their world championship season in 1960. Hoak hit over .290 three times during his career and retired with a solid on-base percentage of .345. Although he died at age 41, he had a very busy life, playing major league baseball, managing minor league baseball, serving as a major league coach, and working as a sportscaster. He was in the Marines and was married to an actress. He even claimed to have batted against Fidel Castro.

He served in the U.S. Marines during World War II (BN). He graduated from Roulette, PA, High School and was signed to his first baseball contract at 19 by Spencer Harris for Olean, NY, in the Class D PONY League.

For 11 seasons from 1954 to 1964 he played third base in 1263 games for the Dodgers, Cubs, Reds, Pirates and Phillies. He played in 3 games in the 1955 World Series for the Brooklyn Dodgers beating the New York Yankees and in 7 games in the 1960 World Series for the Pirates again defeating the Yankees. He also played in the 1957 All-Star Game.

1960 Topps

The reference to Hoak in the City Slickers movie is to one of his best seasons: in 1960, when the Pirates won the Series, Hoak made enough of an impression that he was 2nd in the regular season MVP voting.

He tried broadcasting Pirate games on radio and televison (1965-1966) and then coached for the Phillies (1967) before managing minor league baseball.

He died at age 41 from a heart attack while at the wheel of his car, chasing his brother-in-law's stolen car. He was married to singer and actress Jill Corey. Previously, he had wed Phyllis Warner in a quadruple wedding at home plate at La Grave Field on August 21, 1950; fellow infielders Russ Rose and Joe Torpey and pitcher Johnny Rutherford were wed at the same time.

In 1964, Hoak wrote an article about batting against Fidel Castro in a game in Cuba, shortly after Castro had taken power there. The story, widely circulated in the following decades, was shown to be a hoax long ago.

[edit] Notable Achievements

[edit] Further Reading

  • Jack V. Morris: "Don Hoak", in Mel Marmer and Bill Nowlin, eds.: The Year of Blue Snow: The 1964 Philadelphia Phillies, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2013, pp. 123-131. ISBN 978-1-933599-51-9

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