Bill Hockenbury

From BR Bullpen

William Edward Hockenbury

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 2", Weight 200 lbs.

BR Minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Bill Hockenbury, a native Philadelphian, was with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1947, but did not get into a major-league game. As The Ultimate Philadelphia Athletics Reference Book put it, "the closest he got to appearing in a big-league box score was when Connie Mack, who usually murdered players' names, looked at Bill and said, 'Hockenbocker, get in there and run for so-and-so' and before Bill could get up the steps Austin Knickerbocker had beaten him onto the field."

The book indicates that Hockenbury's call-up came in September 1947. However, a look at Retrosheet shows that Knickerbocker did not serve as a pinch-runner that month. It's therefore possible that Hockenbury may have been on the A's roster early in the season too. As Hockenbury told the story himself to the Philadelphia Daily News in 1999, a batter hit a double and hurt himself sliding into second. Knickerbocker pinch-ran six times in April and May 1947, and the circumstances that fit Hockenbury's description most closely came in the game of April 29th. Ray Poole had a pinch-hit single with a man on and took second on a throw to third, thereafter leaving the game.

The likelihood that Hockenbury was there at that time is diminished, though, because he played 145 games in the minors in 1947. The other possibility that fits the known facts is Knickerbocker's pinch-hitting appearance on September 26th.

Hockenbury's pro career began in 1946. The summer of 1947, at Savannah (Class A), was his strongest - the third baseman hit 19 homers and was named to the South Atlantic League's All-Star team by local sportswriters. Hockenbury turned to pitching in 1949 and served as a two-way player until his playing days ended in 1954.

Hockenbury came from a baseball family. Jim Hockenbury and Tom Hockenbury were his younger brothers (they were also A's farmhands). His mother, Mary Gilroy Hockenbury, was a "Bloomer Girl"; his father, also named Bill, was a semi-pro pitcher of some note.

Other sources: Women at Play, by Barbara Gregorich

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