Harry Hooper wanted to be an engineer and saw baseball as a sideline to that. At least until he for a $2,800 offer from Red Sox owner John Taylor in September 1908 after a he hit .347 and stole 34 bases in just 68 games for the Pacific Coast League’s Sacramento Senators.
At that point, Hoop was committed to baseball.
He spent the 1909 season as a part-time player while — at the major-league level — worked to convert from his natural right-handed hitting to becoming a lefty swinger in order to maximize his speed out of the box, per the Society for American Baseball Research.
The experiment was a success and by 1910, Hooper was locked into the leadoff spot for the next decade, helping the Red Sox to four World Series titles.
Hooper remained with Boston until March 1921, when he was dealt to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Shano Collins and Nemo Leibold.
In 12 seasons with the Red Sox, Hooper hit .272/.362/.729 in 1,647 games, notching 30 homers, 496 RBI and 988 runs, while stealing 300 bases and legging out 130 triples.
He led the AL with 34 sacrifice hits in 1910 and had an OPS+ of 114 with Boston.
In four World Series appearances, all Boston wins, Hooper his .293/.375/.810 with two homers, six RBI and 13 runs.
Hooper played five seasons in Chicago before retiring at the end of the 1925 campaign.
In retirement, Hooper was a player-manager for the PCL’s Mission Bells in San Francisco in 1927 and then worked in real estate while playing for low minors clubs in Marysville and Santa Cruz.
He was coach at Princeton University in New Jersey for the 1930 season before resigning after being asked to take a pay cut.
Once again, Hooper returned to California’s real estate market, got through the Depression and made a lot of money. He was also the postmaster of Capitola, California for 20 years.
In 1971, the Veteran’s Committee chose Hooper for induction into the Hall of Fame and he died Dec. 18, 1974 at the age of 87 following a stroke.