by Mark McDermott/BaseballSacramento.com
Nickname: “Smiling Stan”
Born: December 6, 1909
Died: December 15, 1979
High School: Sacramento
Bats: Left—Throws: Right
Height: 6-0—Weight: 170
Position: Third Base
Debut: April 12, 1932
Last Game: September 24, 1947
Teams: Chicago Cubs 1932-1947
“Smiling Stan” was the best third baseman of his time. He played 16
seasons, all with the Chicago Cubs, and appeared in four All-Star Games and four World Series.
Born in 1909, he worked in a bank and played semi-pro ball until he caught on with the Sacramento
Solons. His .353 batting average with the Solons in 1931 caught the eye of Cubs president Bill
Veeck, Sr. who traveled to the West Coast, was impressed and signed the
In 1934 at age 25, Hack became a Cubs fixture at third base. A patient leadoff hitter, six times he
would hit better than .300 and seven times score more than 100 runs in a season. His best season
was 1941, batting .317 with 33 doubles, 99 walks and .417 on-base percentage in a league where the
average batting mark was .258 and on-base percentage .326.
Hack broke into the major leagues during the Cubs’ 1932 pennant-winning campaign. The team won
again in 1935 and 1938. That 1938 season, he had a .320 average, walked 94 times, had 11 triples
and finished seventh in the National League MVP voting.
No one stole many bases in Hack’s heyday. During the five-year period from 1936-40, he led the
league in stolen bases twice and was second three times. An excellent glove man, he led the N.L. in
putouts five times, fielding percentage three times and assists twice. He also finished second in
assists six times.
After the 1943 season, Hack retired partly because he didn’t get along with manager Jimmy Williams.
Williams was fired 14 games into the 1944 season and replaced by Charlie Grimm whose first order of
business was to talk Hack out of retirement.
Two years later at age 35, Hack hit a career-high .323, walked 99 times, scored 111 runs and led
the Cubs to the pennant for the fourth time. In the 1945 World Series, he had 11 hits and four
walks in a seven-game loss to the Detroit Tigers. In his four World Series appearances, he hit .348
in 18 games. When he finished playing in 1949, he had tied the then-record for most years as a N.L.
third baseman (16).
Stan (above) is taking his hacks during spring training in 1937
when the Cubs trained on Catalina Island. The fellow bent over adjusting his
radio equipment is WHO reporter, Ronald "Dutch" Reagan. That
summer, Reagan took a screen test in Hollywood and began a new
Hack never fared well in the Hall of Fame voting. In the time
from 1900-1950, third basemen didn’t earn much respect, Hack
among them. His 2,193 hits wasn’t close to the magic 3,000, his 1,239 runs scored wasn’t close to
the magic 1,500 and his .301 career average didn’t impress voters because he was a singles hitter.
It’s important to note that there are fewer third basemen enshrined in Cooperstown than any other
An opposing player once said that Hack “has more friends than Leo
Durocher has enemies.” Stan liked people and liked to have fun even more. He was known to
party in his early career and reportedly was often carried home by drinking partner Pat
Veeck turned Hack’s captivating smile and fan appeal into a Cubs
promotion. He once walked the Wrigley Field bleachers selling a grinning picture of Hack on the
back of a mirror with the slogan, “Smile with Stan Hack.” However, the fans began shining the
mirrors in opposing players’ eyes, prompting the umpires to confiscate the giveaways and threaten
to forfeit the game.
Career Statistics -- Stan