Nobody in the history of Fenway Park was part of more World Championship Red Sox teams than Harry Bartholomew Hooper!
He played 12 seasons with the Red Sox starting in 1909 and for those 12 seasons he was a constant, leading off and playing right field. He was the first Red Sox hitter to bat in the history of Fenway Park and he was the leadoff hitter in every World Series game they played in 1912, ’15’, ’16’ and ’18’.
Still recognized as one of the best defensive right fielders to ever play the game, “Hoop” was a transitional player. In the early years of the Modern Era, ball players were primarily from the east and were, how should we say, not considered gentlemen. They were, for the most part, uneducated “tuffs” and not someone who dad’s wanted their daughters bringing home. Harry Hooper is one of the players that began to change all that. A college graduate with an engineering degree, Hooper taught himself to hit lefty so he could get to first base quicker.
Hooper was part of what many have called the best outfield in the Dead Ball Era. Playing along with Duffy Lewis in left and the incomparable Tris Speaker in center, opposing batters were hard pressed to get a ball, past, over or between them.
Lewis, Speaker and Hooper.
A solid, consistent offensive performer and a prototypical Dead ball Era leadoff hitter,”Hoop” amassed 20 stolen bases nine times, scored 80 or more runs 12 times and 92 years after he played his last game in a Red Sox uniform he remains their all time stolen base leader with 300. Inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971, he was a charter member of the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1995.
Harry Hooper, Carl Yastrzemski, and Duffy Lewis in 1962 at Fenway Park for the 50th Anniversary of the 1912 World Champion Red Sox.
A Hall of Famer who spent 12 of his 17 seasons with the Red Sox, you might wonder why his number is not retired on Fenway’s right field facade. Well, it’s simple, no numbers were worn while he played and the Red Sox did not put numbers on their backs until the 1931 season. However Harry Hooper has his place of honor as his banner flies outside of Fenway Park on Van Ness Street.
And so it was at this time in Fenway Park history, January 1912.