Chet Hoff
T207 Card


Hal Chase
T206 Card

Following is an excerpt from an interview with former major league pitcher Chet Hoff, who played with Hal Chase for parts of the 1911-1913 seasons. This interview took place on November 18, 1995.

What was your first memory of Hal Chase ? A: 1911. It was all a big surprise. I pitched a couple of good games with a semi-pro team and a friend of mine noticed that I looked like a pretty good pitcher. He was a banker down on Wall Street and he used to go up to the Yankee games two or three times a week so he knew the manager Chase pretty well. I lived right next door to this guy, this banker, in Ossining, New York. He went down to the ballgame one day and had a talk with Chase. He told Chase he had a pretty good looking ball player up at home and he asked Chase if he could bring (me) for a tryout with the team. Chase said 'Yeah, bring him down.' So a couple of days later I got down there and had a tryout. Chase called the catcher over, he says, 'Take this young boy and have him practice a little bit to see what he's got.' The catcher reported to Chase and it must have been good results, 'cause Chase said 'Can you come down tomorrow?' I practiced with 'em three days - fourth day I had a New York Yankee uniform on. I met Chase in the clubhouse. He said, 'See that locker over there ?' I said 'Yeah.' Chase said 'Your uniform is in that locker. You put that on this afternoon and go out with the regular ballclub' — Chase was a wonderful guy! He was very easy to get along with...I was just a poor boy struggling along, just got out of school, I was about nineteen. He invited me up to have dinner with he and his wife. He had a beautiful wife. She was a wonderful woman. She cooked me a darned good meal! Chase, I thought he was the greatest. I think he understood baseball players, he must have understood me.

Q: Do you think Chase was a good manager? A: Hal Chase wasn't the greatest manager, but Hal Chase was a popular baseball manager. All the ballplayers loved him. I loved him. He gave me the job, he gave me the start in baseball.

Q: In 1913 Frank Chance was your manager. What do you remember about Chance ? A: He was no good. He was no good to me and he was no good to the players. The players didn't like him. None of the ballplayers got along with Chance. They did everything to discourage him. In practice, if they did get on base, they'd never get further than second base. They'd start to steal second and would overrun second, slide over. I didn't think he would last a year.

Q: So Chase and Chance didn't like each other very much ? A: They didn't get along. No.

Q: Do you remember spring training in Bermuda that year ? A: I went to Bermuda. Oh, that was a wonderful trip. What a beautiful trip. Everything was perfect. We were there thirty days, and we didn't see a drop of rain. Anyway, first thing — Chase kidded him (Chance). Chase made a bluff that he hurt himself out at practice. He had to get a bicycle. He couldn't practice. He said he had to have that bicycle to ride around and get in shape. He did that to get Chance mad, to get his goat. So thats the way it went on.

Q: Do you believe any of the stories about Chase gambling or throwing games on the team ?
I never heard anything about that. I never saw anything suspicious going on. I never saw him make an error.