Monday, January 14, 2013

Hooks Iott and his One Career Shutout

I haven't hit the random page button on baseballreference.com lately but decided to give it a spin today.  What turned up was the 1941 St. Louis Browns pitching staff.  I knew of several of the pitchers on the staff but one name at the bottom of the register caught my eye- Clarence "Hooks" Iott. 

I jumped to his page and noticed short stints with the Browns in '41 and time with both the Browns and Giants in '47.  Like a lot players he missed time serving the military during World War II.  His career numbers show a hefty 7.05 ERA and a 1.849 WHIP in 81.2 innings.  What really stood out was his "1" in the shutout column.  Sure enough, according to br's play index Iott has the highest career ERA of any pitcher with a shutout.

Iott's gem was a two-hit blanking of the Cubs in his Giants debut on 6/4/47.  The wild lefty handed out five walks and fanned seven in front of 17,789 Wrigley faithful that afternoon.  The lone safeties were a triple by Peanuts Lowrey in the third inning and a single by Dom Dallassandro in the fourth. 

The 6'2" southpaw first got the attention of major league general managers in 1941 when he struck out an absurd 25 batters in a regulation game while pitching for Paragould in the D-league. A month later he K'd 30 in a 16 inning affair.  By September he was up with the major league Browns but pitched poorly and would have to wait until '47 for another crack at the bigs. 

He started the 1947 season back in St. Louis in the Browns pen.  By June he had pitched in just four games and allowed twice as many runs as innings pitched.  He was released and signed by the Giants and threw his shutout two hours after he rolled into town.  He scuffled the rest of the year allowing 48 runs in 62 innings.  The Giants sold his contract to Hollywood of the Pacific Caost league the following spring.

Iott never returned to the majors but won 175 games in the minors including three no-hitters.  Iott kept pitching until hanging up his spikes at age 37 in 1957.  Iott suffered a fatal heart atack and passed away in 1980.

Minor league stats

Good bio on Iott on Baseball in Wartime

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