- The Knight Of Kennett Square
- March 10, 1894
- 160 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 5-14-1912 with PHA
- Hall of Fame:
"He just stands out there and looks at you ...and tugs on the bill of his cap ...and winds up and lets go. The ball never is where you think it's going to be. It was, just a split second before. But when you swing at it, the best you get is a piece of it. You fuss and fume and sweat and holler and he stands out there and looks at you. ...and tugs on the bill of his cap and - aw, what's the use?" - Bucky Harris
Pennock pitched with grace, economy, and style. Nothing he did was overpowering; everything he did was tantalizingly effective. A typical Pennock game had few strikeouts, but even fewer walks - 2.3 on average. He was hittable. Over 22 years, he allowed more than a hit an inning, yet those hits somehow produced only 3.61 earned runs a game. He seemed to give up many lazy flies to the outfield. Even-tempered, Pennock never got rattled under pressure. He threw with an effortless, unvarying motion, and it was said that a peek inside his head would reveal the weakness of every batter in the league. He pitched 35 shutouts.
Pennock came from historic Kennett Square, PA, amid comfortable country acres whose owners were horsemen and fox hunters. Pennock himself was an expert rider and a master of hounds. As a profitable hobby, he raised silver foxes for their pelts. Hence, the cumbersome but appropriate nickname: the Squire (or Knight) of Kennett Square.
Originally an unpromising first baseman, Pennock found his true talent on the mound, pitching a no-hitter in 1911, which his catcher, Earle Mack, brought to the attention of his father, Connie Mack. Only 18 when he joined the Athletics, Pennock steadily improved, even earning a brief World Series appearance in the 1914 loss to the Braves. Early in 1915, Mack waived Pennock to the Red Sox.
After two mediocre seasons and a year in the WWI Navy, Pennock hit his stride and, in 1923, became one of the many prizes the Yankees stripped from Boston. The price: three nondescript players and $50,000. In that first year with New York, he led the league in winning percentage (.760), going 19-6, the first of four over-.700 seasons. He then won two games in the 1923 Series triumph over the Giants. He followed with a 21-9 record in 1924, and was a combined 59-25 in 1926-28. He added two more WS victories in 1926, and one in 1927 - a jewel in which he retired the first 22 Pirates he faced and ended with a three-hitter.
"Yep, wildness was my problem. At least it was until Herb Pennock, another pitcher on our Yankee staff, straightened me out." - George Pipgras
The Squire retired in 1934 after one year as a Red Sox reliever. He was a Boston coach, 1936-40, then became the supervisor of their farm system. In 1944 Bob Carpenter made him general manager of the Phillies, a post he held until his death in 1948, the year of his induction into the Hall of Fame.
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