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Dick Pole and Peter LaCock

October 15, 2006



The single reason these two are yoked in the minds of many baseball fans is because they were exactly the same height (6’3″) and weight (210 pounds). Though they each played in the American League throughout the 1977 and 1978 seasons, the sole instance in which they enacted the pitcher-batter swordfight was in the first inning of a game on May 28, 1978, between Dick Pole’s Seattle Mariners and Peter LaCock’s Kansas City Royals. The Seattle manager, whose name happened to be Johnson, yanked his Pole after Dick was abused for 4 hits and 5 runs in only 1 inning of work. The game was essentially decided by the time LaCock finally got his chance to further beat the spent Dick, but, for the record, the shriveled Pole teased LaCock into lining flaccidly to left.

6 comments

  1. 1.  4 comments from old CG site:

    Brother Ian said…
    O Lord, thank you for the gleeful belly laugh occasioned by this entry.

    I hope you’re enjoying writing these half as much as I do, reading them.

    — Ian

    11:20 AM

    Anonymous said…
    I am weeping with laughter at this one

    10:21 PM

    Anonymous said…
    Me again. Fact is, I am having more fun reading this entry (and your entire blog) than watching the mets play game 5 of nlcs with pete and helene wondering why I am in hysterics over at the computer
    -charles

    10:31 PM

    spudrph said…
    Hysterical. I’m giggling like a schoolgirl.

    9:14 AM


  2. 2.  Very good. Also, it looks like Dick Pole’s backdrop is the Oakland Coliseum. The All-O.C. team is pitching rich and fielding-hitting poor.


  3. 3.  My Pete LaCock story. In the tenth grade, I was a 5′ 0″ tall, skinny Taft High freshman forced into flag football in P.E. by an educational system that screwed me at every opportunity and eventually cost me my dream of entering MIT as a sophomore. I’d also read every book on how to play every sport that the West Valley Regional Library held. I was tiny, but I knew all the fundamentals. In my first gym class in high school, the idiot seniors who “ran” my team decided that I was a defensive end. I said I should be a defensive back, they explained that it wouldn’t be just the other team hitting me if I didn’t go to my spot on the line, and so I went.

    I knew what a defensive end is supposed to do: rush the passer, contain the scramble, strip away the lead blocker so the linebacker can make the play. And on my third play of PE, Pete LaCock, a senior on his way to play baseball in the majors, a guy who wasn’t on the football team so he’d run no risk of getting injured and harming his baseball career, comes leading a sweep around my end.

    What could I do? He weighed about twice as much as I did, but it was my job to take him out of the play. I didn’t know who he was other than the lead blocker; I was a freshman on my first day of high school, and only learned afterwards who he was from the gym coach. I threw myself at his knees, roughly head first, and we went down in a tangle. Unless he’d turned and run away from me, there was nothing he could have done to avoid it. I think the gym coach fainted up in the stands. The good headlines were going to be “Baseball Star Kills Freshman In Freak Accident”. The bad headlines were going to be “Baseball Star Injured in Freak Accident; Freshman Also Killed”.

    When I woke up, the PE coach, who had just seen his star baseball player taken down by a crazy tiny kamikaze kid, told me that I’d be better off playing non-contact sports (which I’d wanted in the first place, but they were all full). I don’t think the play ever finished; everybody was too shocked at what they’d just seen. I never apologized to Pete (nobody in school called him Peter); I think I was mildly concussed. I don’t think I affected his career any, but I might have lost a few points off my IQ. A truly smart coach would have put me on the football team as a gunner; by my senior year I’d grown a foot and gained 80 pounds and was still crazy. But that’s LA City Schools for you. It wasn’t until my younger brother was in the 11th grade that they figured out he couldn’t read because of dyslexia, but they kept on passing him. My sister (the youngest one) got to go to private school. And I got concussed by Pete LaCock.

    My other bit of LaCock trivia: his father was Peter Marshall (stage name), host of the original “Hollywood Squares”.

    And as long as I’m rambling, the best baseball player I was in high school with was Robin Yount, who I actually knew from 7th grade on. He lived about three blocks away from me. He told me in our Computer Programming class second semester senior year that he was going to take the full scholarship to Arizona State unless he got offered enough of a bonus to pay of his parents’ mortgage. He didn’t even know to include tax in his estimate of how much of a bonus was enough. But IIRC the eventual bonus was more than enough even with tax.


  4. 4.  3 : Great Lacock story. I also like the image of Robin Yount in a computer programing class in the mid-’70s. I’m surprised that they had such classes back then, and even more surprised that Yount was in one of them.


  5. 5.  Dick Pole and Pete LaCock both figure into my life as a baseball fan.
    Dick Pole because he was the pitching coach for my favorite team under Roger Craig, which looking back, now appears to bring new meaning to Craig’s favorite phrase ‘humm-baby’.
    LaCock also, though I remember nothing about him as a baseball player. My memories of him are derived from some trivia my dad told me when I was a kid. Some of this trivia was accurate, some was not. While watching Hollywood Squares one night, my dad told us that the host Peter Marshall had a son in the big leagues. “Really, who?” I will never forget the laughing fit my brother and I had when my dad uttered the name ‘Pete LaCock’. I was also dumfounded, and even doubtful. I mean how can anyones name be Pete LaCock? Being the doubting Thomas that I am I pointed out that the 2 men don’t have the same last name. This is where my dad’s information was slightly off. He told us that Pete Jr. changed his name to LaCock. This made us laugh even harder and for longer. The only thing I couldn’t figure was why one would name themselves Cock. Was it gay? Or was it a great sense of humor the guy had?
    Imagine my disappointment later when I realized my dad, duh, had it backwards. LaCock Sr. who was in showbiz changed his name to Marshall- for obvious reasons.
    I only wish I hadn’t told half of my junior high the opposite story. I wonder how many of my fellow classmates still think that a man named himself ‘the cock’.


  6. For whatever reason, I have no recollection of Pete LeCock… I’m guessing none of his cards ever CAME my way. HAR!

    Different story for Dick Pole… I can remember when I acquired his 1978 Mariners card because I was actually pretty close to assembling a complete Mariners team… This was no small feat considering it was 1981 or 82 and I was trading for cards passed down to other kids from their older brothers… or in this case… from the older brother himself.

    It was a normal day of trading cards with a few kids from our circle… The aforementioned older brother comes home, sees what we are doing… and while not interested in trading, offers to sell some old cards. Paying money for individual cards was a completely foreign concept to our seven year old selves… but it was not our place to question a teenager. Anyways, he brings down a shoe box of cards from the mid/late 70s and we all start digging thru… A few minutes later, obviously not hiding my excitement well enough for a needed ’78 Mariner… I exclaim… “I want your Dick Pole!” or something to that effect… Older brother laughed hysterically. The rest of us didn’t get it. I got his Dick Pole, don’t recall if I paid him anything or he just handed it over… But until this particular older brother moved away from home a few years later… “You taking good care of my Dick Pole?!?” or “How do you like my Dick Pole?!?” was shouted in my direction whenever he saw me… and I still never got it.



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