Oct 1, 2016

2000 N.L. Champion Mets Relief Picher: Dennis Cook (1998-2001)

Dennis Bryan Cook was born October 4, 1962 in La Marque, Texas. The tall six foot two lefty went to the University of Texas at Austin getting named to the All Southwestern Conference team as an outfielder in 1984 & 1985.

He signed by the San Francisco Giants in the 18th round of the 1985 draft. In 1987 he was 9-2 with a 2.13 ERA in the Texas League at AA Shreveport. The next year he was 11-9 at AAA Phoenix followed by a 7-4 record in 1989 posting a 3.12 ERA.

In 1988 he began his MLB career with the San Francisco Giants getting used as a starter going 2-1 in four games. He would become a reliever and serve in both roles over the next 15 years as a journey man pitcher with nine different teams. He made stops with the Philadelphia Phillies (1989-1990/ 2001) Los Angeles Dodgers ((1990-1991) Texas Rangers (1995-1996), Cleveland Indians (1992-1993/ 1995), Chicago White Sox (1994), & Florida Marlins (1997) before coming to the New York Mets in 1998.

In 1990 he was 9-4 between Philadelphia & Los Angeles posting a 3.92 ERA pitching in 47 games, while still making 16 starts. In 1997 he landed with the World Champion Florida Marlins going 1-2 with a 3.90 ERA in 57 games as a middle inning reliever.

Post Season: In Game #1 of the 1997 NLDS against the San Francisco Giants, Cook earned the victory pitching in two innings relief, in the game at Joe Robby Stadium.

He then pitched two shutout innings over two games of the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves. In the World Series against the Cleveland Indians he appeared in three games. He got the victory in Game #3 after relieving Livan Hernandez. The Marlins rallied & scored seven runs in the top of the 9th inning in that game.

In December 1997 Cook came to the New York Mets in a great trade for Scott Comer & Fletcher Bates. He was used right away in the first game of the 1998 season quickly earning a spot as the teams set up man. He started out the month of April going 2-0 with three holds and was to remain consistent all year. By the All Star break he already had ten holds & lowered his ERA to below the two mark. From June 25th to the end of July he pitched well, he won four decisions (4-1) earned a save and posted a 2.15 ERA.

In August he won two more games & got credit for seven holds. He finished the season leading the team in appearances (73) going 8-4 with a one save, 21 holds & 18 games finished while posting a 2.38 ERA. He struck out 79 batters in 68 innings pitched proving to be one of leagues better mid relievers.

Cook resigned with the Mets as a free agent in 1999 and would go on with the club to two straight post seasons.

He had a busy April '99 making ten appearances and did not allow an earned run through his first eight games. By May 2nd he was already 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA with 14 strike outs in nine innings pitched. On July 4th he earned a big win at Shea Stadium against the Atlanta Braves, as Edgardo Alfonzo hit a three run HR off John Smoltz in the 7th inning. This win boosted his record to 7-1 while sporting a 2.13 ERA . The rest of the month he stayed busy earning another win, a save & four holds. He had a rough week from the end of July to early August blowing a win against the Pirates & then blowing a save in Chicago to the Cubs.

Along the rest of the way Cook continued to pitch well finishing 1999 at 10-5 with three saves & 19 holds, 12 games finished, posting a 3.86 ERA. Once again he struck out more batters (68) than innings pitched (63). Cooks only down side was his giving up eleven HRs.

Post Season: In the post season he made one appearance in the NLDS against the Arizona Diamondbacks & three appearances in the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves. He did not allow any runs or hits in three innings pitched over the four games, although he walked three batters.

In 2000 he had his usual good start going 3-0 with three holds in the month of April. He was once again Bobby Valentine’s left handed work horse specialist making 68 appearances on the year. By the All Star break he was 5-2 with seven holds although his ERA was extremely high at 6.00. He had a rough September blowing three saves, although he did get credit for two more holds. He finished the year 6-3 with two save, ten holds & 15 games finished while posting a 5.34 ERA.

Post Season: In the 2000 NLDS he made two appearances against the San Francisco Giants pitching one scoreless inning.

In the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals he appeared in one game & then three in the World Series. Overall he allowing no runs on two hits in three total innings of work. In his Mets years he appeared in two post seasons, a total of 10 games, pitching five scoreless innings with six strikeouts and no decisions.

In 2001 Cook was still pitching well at the age of 39, appearing in 43 games going 1-1 with six holds for the Mets but changes began to take place on the club & not for the better. On July 27, 2001 Cook & Turk Wendell, two quality Mets relievers in the Mets two consecutive playoff seasons, were sent to the Philadelphia Phillies for Bruce Chen. Looking back at Cook's Mets career he made 255 appearances, going 25-13 with six saves, fifty holds and a 3.86 ERA striking out 234 batters in 226 innings.

After 19 games with the Phillies he went to the Anaheim Angels in 2002 but did not appear on their post season roster although he did earn his second World Series ring.

He retired at the end of the season at age 40, finishing a 15 year career going 64-46 with nine saves, 739 strike outs 390 walks & a 3.91 ERA in 1011 innings pitched in 655 appearances. Cook was also a fine hitting pitcher posting a .264 career batting average with two HRs two doubles & 9 RBIs.

Retirement: Cook who is of Swedish descent, coached the 2009 Swedish national team and managed them in the 2010 European Championship.

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