Herbert Jefferis Pennock
(The Knight Of Kennett Square)
- Bats Both, Throws Left
- Height 6' 0", Weight 160 lb.
- Debut May 14, 1912
- Final Game August 27, 1934
- Born February 10, 1894 in Kennett Square, PA USA
- Died January 30, 1948 in New York, NY USA
"He just stands out there and looks at you ...and tugs on the bill of his cap ...and winds up and lets go. The ball never is where you think it's going to be. It was, just a split second before. But when you swing at it, the best you get is a piece of it. You fuss and fume and sweat and holler and he stands out there and looks at you. ...and tugs on the bill of his cap and - aw, what's the use?" - Bucky Harris
Herb Pennock pitched 22 seasons in the majors with a record of 241-162. He was often where the action was - he was on the Philadelphia Athletics at the time of the $100,000 infield, was on the Boston Red Sox when Babe Ruth was a pitcher there, and was with the New York Yankees for over a decade, including being part of the 1927 Yankees, considered by many to have been the best team in baseball history.
Born in Pennsylvania, Pennock was up with the Athletics at age 18 in 1912. In his second season with the team, they won the World Series, although Pennock did not appear. In his third season, 1914, he went 11-4 and appeared briefly in Game 4 of the 1914 World Series.
Herb split his time in 1915 and 1916 between the majors and the minors, spending time in Providence and Buffalo. Connie Mack was dismantling his great team and Pennock was selected off waivers in the summer of 1915 by the Boston Red Sox, where he became a teammate of Babe Ruth. The Sox went to the World Series in both 1915 and 1916 but Pennock did not appear. He missed the 1918 season, during which the Red Sox won their last World Series of the 20th century, because of military service in World War I. Herb won 16 games in both 1919 and 1920, but it was after an off-season in 1922, when he went 10-17, that he was traded to the New York Yankees.
The Yankees immediately made a difference in Herb's career. Whereas he had never previously been in the top ten in ERA, with the Yanks he made the top ten five times in six years between 1923 and 1928, finishing as high as second in the league. Although he had never previously been in the top ten in the league in victories, with the Yanks he did it six times, from 1923 to 1928, twice finishing second in the league. He pitched in four World Series for the Yanks with a record of 5-0. He won the last game of the 1923 World Series and won two games in the 1926 World Series which the Yanks lost. He won Game 3 of the 1927 World Series.
At age 40, he closed out his major league career pitching for the 1934 Red Sox. His ERA of 3.05 was the best on the staff of any pitcher who had at least five appearances (Herb appeared in 30 games). He is one of three players to win a game in his teens and in his forties (along with Bert Blyleven and Mike Morgan).
After his playing career ended, he was a Boston Red Sox coach from 1936 to 1939. In 1948 he was elected to the . His premature death in January of 1948 focussed a lot of attention on his career, and shortly thereafter he was elected to both the International League Hall of Fame and the Hall of Fame, the first of a number of players to get a boost in votes to Cooperstown after passing away.
George Pipgras gave Pennock credit for fixing his pitching motion:
"Yep, wildness was my problem. At least it was until Herb Pennock, another pitcher on our Yankee staff, straightened me out." - George Pipgras
- AL Winning Percentage Leader (1923)
- AL Innings Pitched Leader (1925)
- AL Shutouts Leader (1928)
- 15 Wins Seasons: 8 (1919, 1920 & 1923-1928)
- 20 Wins Seasons: 2 (1924 & 1926)
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 10 (1919-1928)
- Won six World Series with the Philadelphia Athletics (1913; he did not play in the World Series), the Boston Red Sox (1916; he did not play in the World Series) and the New York Yankees (1923, 1927, 1928 & 1932) (he did not play in the 1928 World Series)
- Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1948
- Keith Craig: Herb Pennock: Baseball's Faultless Pitcher, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Lanham, MD, 2016. ISBN 978-1-4422-5219-6