Joe Hoover

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Joe Hoover
Im284 Joe Hoover in baseball uniform.jpg
Hoover in 1939 with the Hollywood Stars
Shortstop
Born: (1915-04-15)April 15, 1915
Brawley, California
Died: September 2, 1965(1965-09-02) (aged 50)
Los Angeles, California
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 21, 1943, for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
September 23, 1945, for the Detroit Tigers
Teams

Robert Joseph Hoover (April 15, 1915 – September 2, 1965), was a professional baseball player from 1937 to 1946. He played three years in Major League Baseball as a shortstop for the Detroit Tigers from 1943 to 1945. He also played six years in the Pacific Coast League for the Hollywood Stars from 1938 to 1942 and the San Francisco Seals in 1946.

Early years[edit]

Hoover was born in Brawley, in Imperial County, California, in 1915.[1] He spent most of his childhood in Pomona, California, and played high school and junior college baseball there.[2][3]

Minor leagues[edit]

Hoover began his professional baseball career in 1937 playing for the Rock Island Islanders of the Western League and the Indianapolis Indians of the American Association. He next played for five years with the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League from 1938 to 1942. In 1942, he compiled a .327 batting average with 34 doubles, 10 triples, 11 home runs, 62 RBIs and 14 stolen bases.[4]

Detroit Tigers[edit]

On October 1, 1942, the Detroit Tigers purchased Hoover from the Stars after all three Detroit shortstops — Billy Hitchcock, Johnny Lipon, and Murray Franklin — were inducted in the military during World War II.[5][6] Hoover had a draft deferred status as a married man with a family. At the time of Detroit's purchase of Hoover, The Sporting News described him as "hustle personified" and "not a chatterbox type." Physically, it described him as "a regular Adonis" with a "wasp-like waist" and "a fine pair of shoulders and a strong pair of legs to keep him in the lineup day after day."[2][3]

Hoover became the Tigers' starting shortstop in 1943 and hit .243 with a .300 on-base percentage in his three seasons with the Tigers.[1] In 1943, he compiled a .243 batting average and led the American League in outs with 478 and in sacrifice hits with 28. He was also second in the league with 101 strikeouts in 1943.[1]

Before the start of the 1944 season, Hoover was reclassified as 1A by the draft board, raising fears that the Tigers would lose yet another shortstop to the war.[7] Nevertheless, Hoover remained the Tigers starting shortstop in 1944. His batting average dipped to .236, but he was steady defensively, ranking second in the American League in range factor (5.55) and double plays turned (102) by a shortstop. He also ranked third in the league in putouts by a shortstop with 256.[1]

In his final major league season, Hoover was a member of the 1945 Detroit Tigers team that won the American League pennant and defeated the Chicago Cubs in the 1945 World Series. However, after two seasons as the team's everyday shortstop, Hoover in 1945 divided shortstop duties with Skeeter Webb; Hoover started 55 games at shortstop, while Webb started 99.[1][8] Hoover's last major league appearance came in Game 6 of the 1945 World Series. He had a single in three World Series at bats. He also had an RBI and scored a run in an 8–7 loss to the Cubs.[9]

San Francisco Seals[edit]

On January 24, 1946, the Tigers sold Hoover to the San Francisco Seals in the Pacific Coast League.[10] Hoover compiled a career low .200 batting average in 87 games for the Seals.[4]

Family and later years[edit]

Hoover was married to Alice Smith Andres in November 1935. They had one child, Joethel Ann, born in approximately 1941.[3] Hoover died in Los Angeles, California in 1965 at age 50.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Joe Hoover". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Oscar Reichow (November 19, 1942). "Joe Hoover, Tiger Recruit, a Vacuum Cleaner at Shortstop: Hollywood Grad Loves to Play Ball, Has Speed and Fine Arm in His Equipment". The Sporting News. p. 2. 
  3. ^ a b c Dick Ferrington (June 3, 1943). "Hoover Sweeps Into Corner on Tigers Job at Short". The Sporting News. p. 3. 
  4. ^ a b "Joe Hoover Minor League Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Hollywood Peddles Hoover, Perez and Kalin to Major Clubs". The Sporting News. October 8, 1942. p. 5. 
  6. ^ Dillon Graham (April 4, 1943). "Joe Hoover Gets Big Break With Tigers: Rookie Infielder Improves by Paying Others To Pitch, Bat to Him". The Sunday Spartanburg Herald-Journal (AP story). p. 17. 
  7. ^ Sam Green (April 20, 1944). "Over-26 Draft Slowup Lifts Tigers' Hopes". The Sporting News. p. 9. 
  8. ^ "Skeeter Webb". Baseball-Reference.com. 
  9. ^ "1945 World Series - Detroit Tigers over Chicago Cubs (4-3)". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  10. ^ Jim McGee (January 31, 1946). "Hoover Crowds Spot at Short: Former Tiger Third Player for Position; One May Be Shifted to Second". The Sporting News. 
  11. ^ "Joe Hoover". The Sporting News. September 25, 1965. p. 32.