Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hall of Fame Profile: Herb Pennock

The fourth player inducted into the Hall of Fame as a Yankee was Herb Pennock.

Full Name: Herbert Jefferis Pennock

Born: February 10, 1894  Died: January 30, 1948

Nickname(s): The Squire, Knight of Kennett Square

Hall of Fame Induction: 1948 (by BBWAA with 77.7% in 8th year on ballot)

Teams Played for: Philadelphia Athletics (1912-1915), Boston Red Sox (1916-1922, 1934), and New York Yankees (1923-1933)

Career Statistics (courtesy of

Wins: 241 (55th)
Losses: 162
Winning Pct: 59.8% (124th)
Strikouts: 1227
ERA: 3.60
CG: 247 (83rd)
Shutouts: 35 (71st)
Saves: 33
IP: 3571.2

ERA+: 106
WHIP: 1.348
WAR: 44.1 (129th)
20-win Seasons: 2
World Series Titles: (4: 1923, 1927, 1928, and 1932)


While Herb Pennock didn't amass monster single-season numbers like fellow Yankee Hall-of-famer Jack Chesbro, he grinded out his wins eventually ending with 241, enough to be voted into the HOF on the 8th ballot by the Baseball Writer's Association of America.  On his first ballot, he only received 7.5% of the vote, narrowly staying on the docket for the 2nd vote.  He had less strikeouts than Chesbro but played twice as long: 22 seasons with the Philadelphia A's, Boston Red Sox, and New York Yankees.  But he only gave up 917 free bases and slightly under 6 home runs per season, which would suggest he was a consistent "contact pitcher," think Mike Mussina.  He only had two 20-win seasons and his 162-game average was 16-11 in the W/L column.

Herb Pennock debuted in the major leagues in May of 1912 for Connie Mack's Philadelphia A's and was the youngest ballplayer that season in the bigs.  He started the year playing under a pseudonym for Mack's collegiate team to protect his collegiate eligibility.  After throwing a no-hitter against a negro league team, he was called up for the Athletics.  Over the first 4 years of his career he only started 27 games amassing a 17-11 record.  In  1914 he was 11-4 with a 2.79 ERA and would pitch in the World Series against the Boston Braves, which Philadelphia lost.  He would start the opener in 1915 against the Boston Red Sox in which he threw a complete game shutout.  Later that year Mack would sell Pennock's contract to those same Red Sox due to his "lackadaisical style of play."   Mack would later call it his "greatest mistake."

Most of the 1915 and 1916 seasons were spent in the minor leagues by Pennock and he didn't get to partake in either of the World Series Championships for the Sox.  1917 passed without him being used much and in 1918 he enlisted in the Navy during World War I.  1919 would prove to be his best season in a Sox uniform as he went 16-8 with a 2.71 ERA, 16 complete games, and 5 shutouts.  He would never see a World Series with Boston and ended with a record there of 62-59.  A 10-17 season in 1922 along with a league-leading 7 wild pitches would see him get traded to the Yankees in the offseason.

His greatest successes would be seen in the Pinstripes as he debuted as a Yankee in 1923 just in time to take advantage of some major run support in the form of a one-man wrecking crew known as Babe Ruth.  His very first year he had a 19-6 record, a respectable 3.13 ERA, with 21 complete games and 93 strikeouts.  He would see the World Series for the first time since 1914 going 2-0 with a save against the cross-town New York Giants to help secure the Yankees first title.  1924 was an even better year individually for Pennock as he went 21-9 posting a 2.83 ERA with 25 complete games and 4 shutouts.  He would eventually have 3 more outstanding years with the Yankees going 23-11 in 1926, 19-8 in 1927, and 17-6 in 1928.  The 1926 and 1927 campaigns ended at the World Series with 1927 and 1928 being WS victories for the Yanks.  1924 and 1926 saw Pennock get voted in the top-4 for MVP, which he had no shot of actually winning with the likes of Ruth on his own team.

Pennock would get one more World Series ring in 1932 as the Yankees defeated the Chicago Cubs in 4 games straight, but Herb's talents were obviously on the decline as he only recorded 47 more wins for the Yankees from 1929-1933, an average of less than 10 wins per season.  Pennock was released by the Yankees after the 1933 season in which he served primarily as a relief pitcher.  He would spend one more season in MLB playing for the Red Sox in 1934 before retiring.  Although looking at his numbers he doesn't stand out immediately as a Hall of Famer to many reading this, he was part of a dominant Yankee team that won 4 championships in a span of 10 years with a record of 162-90 or 64.3%.



3. Pictures sourced from and

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