Stan Hack : biography
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).
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.
Hack became a minor league manager, leading Des Moines in 1948-49, Springfield in 1950 and the Los Angeles Angels from 1951–53, 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).
- "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
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 for $40,000 after hitting .352 in his first minor league season that year. He broke in with the Cubs in , 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 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 scored 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.