Bill Doak

From BR Bullpen


William Leopold Doak
(Spittin' Bill)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 165 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]


Bill Doak had a long pitching career, all in the National League. Much of his career was spent as a teammate of Rogers Hornsby on the St. Louis Cardinals, where he won two ERA championships.

Although he was a good pitcher, and one of 17 pitchers allowed to continue using the spitball after it was otherwise banned in 1920, Bill Doak's greatest contribution to baseball was the improvements he made to the modern fielding glove.

Before Doak's invention, gloves were primarily protective equipment that kept fielders' hands and fingers from being hurt by hard-hit balls. Around 1901, a pocket was added to the design, making the gloves much more effective. Doak improved the shape and design of the webbing between the glove's thumb and first finger that formed a pocket in which to catch the ball. He is sometimes credited with inventing the glove with a pocket, but such designs had already been around for two decades, dating back to 1901 or so. The Rawlings "Bill Doak" model that was first introduced in 1920 was so successful that it remained available until 1953 with only minor modifications. Doak's invention was the ancestor of the mass-produced modern glove.

After retiring, Doak was a high school baseball coach and golf pro in Bradenton, FL. He took over the managerial reigns of the Cocoa Fliers in mid-July 1941.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2-time NL ERA Leader (1914 & 1921)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 5 (1914, 1915, 1917, 1920 & 1921)
  • 20 Wins Seasons: 1 (1920)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 7 (1914, 1915 & 1917-1921)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Stephen D. Boren: "Bill Doak's Three 'No-Hitters'", in The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Number 31, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 2003, pp. 62-63.
  • John Snell: "The Invention of the Baseball Glove: The Case for the Forgotten 1901 Web-Pocketed Glove", Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Vol. 52 Number 1 (Spring 2023), pp. 96-101.
  • Steve Steinberg: "William Leopold Doak", in Tom Simon, ed.: Deadball Stars of the National League, SABR, Brassey's Inc., Dulles, VA, 2004, pp. 358-360.

Related Sites[edit]