Remember When?

From Gaels to Red Sox

Saint Mary’s has a proud baseball tradition that reaches back to its earliest years, and its teams attracted national attention in the early 1900’s when a number of former SMC players made it to the major leagues, including Hall of Famer Harry Hooper ’07. Hooper, who graduated with a degree in civil engineering, is pictured at the far right during the 1915 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies, which Boston won 4-1. Two other former SMC baseball players also played that year for the Red Sox, George (Duffy) Lewis and Dutch Leonard.

The 1907 Saint Mary’s baseball team that Hooper played on may have been one of greatest college teams of all times, wrote Paul J. Zingg, former dean of SMC’s School of Liberal Arts, in an article about higher education and baseball published in the Journal of Sport History in 1990. Along with Hooper, the team included five other future professionals, had a record of 26 wins and one tie, and defeated the Chicago White Sox in an exhibition contest. The SMC teams of the early 1900s were honored in the “Baseball As America” exhibit at the Oakland Museum from September 2005 to January 2006.

Hooper became the first major leaguer to hit two homeruns in a World Series game in 1915, although he never hit more than 11 home runs a season. A right fielder and leadoff hitter, he played for Boston from 1909 to 1920, and for the Chicago White Sox from 1921 to 1925. His Hall of Fame plaque in Cooperstown says he was noted for his speed and his strong arm, and that he had a lifetime fielding average of .966. He played in four World Series, in 1912, 1915, 1916, and 1918.

— Erin Hallissy