Harry Hooper

Position: Outfielder
Teams: Boston Red Sox, 1909-1920; Chicago White Sox, 1921-1925

Harry Hooper
Hooper is the only outfielder in the Hall
of Fame who hit .235 in mid-career --
and for a pennant winner -- and never
had more than 80 RBI in a season.

Harry Hooper is the only outfielder who was elected to the Hall of Fame primarily because of his defensive skills. Although he made 2,466 hits and was an excellent leadoff batter with good speed, Hooper was never a league leader in a single major offensive department.

A native of Santa Clara County in California, Harry Bartholomew Hooper’s (1887-1974) driving ambition was to become an engineer. While at St. Mary’s College, however, he joined the Oakland team in the outlaw California State League to help pay his tuition.

During the 1907 season, Charlie Graham, manager of the Sacramento club, purchased Harry and cajoled him to play in Sacramento on the agreement that he was free to quit the game anytime and pursue an engineering career. When Harry did well for Sacramento, however, he opted to play a second year there.

During the 1908 campaign, Boston Red Sox owner John Taylor saw Hooper play while visiting his wife’s relatives in California. Urged by Graham to give major-league baseball a whirl, Harry agreed to go east when Taylor offered Hooper a contract for $2,800.

As a further inducement, Taylor told Hooper that the Red Sox might utilize his engineering knowledge in building Fenway Park, then still in the planning steps.

Hooper never again worked as an engineer and had no role in the construction of Fenway Park, but he was an important cog on four Red Sox world championship teams during the 1910s.

Stationed in right field, he played beside Tris Speaker, arguably the greatest center fielder in history. Speaker played so shallow that Hooper was left to cover not only his position but also balls hit to deep right-center field. The left fielder on the club, Duffy Lewis, also was a very good, fast fielder. Until the threesome was broken up after the 1915 season, they were the most famous outfield trio of their time.

In 1915, after hitting a personal-low .235, Hooper emerged as the hero of the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies. In the fifth and final game, played at Philadelphia, Hooper hit two ground-rule home runs into the temporary seats built around the outfield. The second blow gave the Red Sox a 5-4 win and their second world championship during Hooper’s tenure with the club.

Harry remained in Boston until 1921 when the Red Sox traded him to the Chicago White Sox, where he played five seasons. After a stint in the minors, Hooper served two years as the head baseball coach at Princeton University. He was named to the Hall of Fame in 1971.

Here are Harry Hooper's major league totals:


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