Dennis Cook: 2000 NL Champion Mets Reliever (1998-2001)

Dennis Cook was born October 4th, 1962, in La Marque, Texas. The six-foot three right hander was named to the All-Southwest Conference Team while playing for the University of Texas. For the Longhorns he played primarily as an outfielder. 

Cook got drafted in the 6th round of the 1983 MLB draft by the San Francisco Giants but did not sign. He was then signed in 1985 by the Giants as a pitcher.

MLB Career: Cook was a Giants September call up in 1988 winning his first game, while pitching in relief. On September 25th in his second start he pitched a complete game shutout against the eventual World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. 

In 1989 he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies along with Terry Mulholland & Charlie Hayes in exchange for Steve Bedrosian. 

Brawl: In a 1990 game between the Mets & Phillies, Dwight Gooden had hit two Phillies with pitches. Phillie pitcher Pat Combs hit Gooden with a pitch & He charged the mound. This led to a nine minute bench clearing brawl, that saw many people throw punches. Darryl Strawberry & Darren Daulton went at it, as they continued thier fued from the previous season. 

In the mix Dennis Cook got thrown to the ground by home plate umpire Joe West. Six players including Cook were ejected. 

He was 6-8 before getting traded to the L.A. Dodgers in 1990.
The next season the journeyman was on the move again getting sent to the Cleveland Indians. 

In Cleveland he eventually became a full-time reliever, moving on to the Chicago White Sox as a free agent in 1994. After getting placed on waivers he was picked up by the Indians once again. In mid 1995 he was sent to the Texas Rangers for a minor leaguer.

In 1996 with Texas, he went 5-2 pitching in a career high (up to that point) 60 games, also appearing in two ALDS games. That impressed the Florida Marlins where he was signed for next season. 

Marlins Championship Season: In the Marlins 1997 Championship season, cook was a member of their bullpen. He appeared in 59 games for the Fish going 1-2 with a 3.90 ERA.

1997 Post Season: In the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants, he was the Game #1 winning pitcher, after pitching two scoreless innings. He also pitched in Game #3 at San Francisco. 

In the NLCS win over the Atlanta Braves he was credited with holds in Game #1 & Game #3.

1997 World Series: In the World Series against his former Cleveland Indians team, he was credited with a hold in Game #1 in South Florida. 

In the wacky Game #3 Marlins 14-11 victory, Cook was the winning pitcher, pitching a scoreless 8th. In the 9th inning the Marlins sent ten men to the plate & scored seven runs breaking a 7-7 tie. They won the game 14-11.

In Game #7 he held down the Indians in the 7th Inning, striking out Jaret Wright & Omar Vizquel. The Marlins won the game 3-2 winning their first Championship.

Mets Career: In 1998 he was part of the Marlins salary dumping fire sale. He was traded to the New York Mets in exchange for two minor leaguers. 

Trivia: Buster Olney reported to Mets fans that "Cook is all Texan from his thick prairie drawl to his pickup truck. His dog is even named Stonewall Jackson"

Cook would become part of the Mets & Bobby Valentine's strong bullpen leading the club with 73 appearances that season. Cook led the pitching staff in ERA (2.38) & went 8-4 striking out 79 batters in 69 innings, while just walking 27. He was credited with 21 holds as well in the bullpen, blowing four save opportunities.

1999 Wild Card Season:
In the Mets 1999 Wild Card season, Cook was true to form again. He led all relievers & was fifth on the staff with ten wins going 10-5 with three saves while posting a 3.86 ERA. He was the most reliable lefty in the bullpen outside of John Franco.

He struck out 68 batters in 63 innings making 71 appearances (third on the staff). In the first month alone, he was 4-0 with an ERA of 2.00. He was 7-2 at the All-Star break & would finish up with 19 holds as well.

At the end of the season, the Mets went on a seven-game losing streak before recovering to make the playoffs. 

In a loss to the Braves on September 27th, Dennis Cook took out his frustrations on umpire Alfonso Marquez, barking at him getting tossed out of the game. It may have sparked the club as they won four of their last five games to tie for the wild card berth. They beat the Reds in a
tie breaker to advance.

1999 Post Season: In the NLDS he appeared in the Mets Game #1 victory at Arizona. He held
the d-backs scoreless & hitless pitching the 6th & 7th innings. 

He then appeared in three games of the NLCS loss to the Atlanta Braves, allowing no runs on one hit in 1.1 innings of work.

2000 Mets Pennant Season: 
He earned the Mets first win of the season, coming in Japan as they beat the Chicago Cubs in a short two game series there to start the season. A good April had him at 3-0. with three holds by the end of the month.

On May 13th he blew a lead serving up a three run HR to the Marlins Preston Wilson at Shea Stadium, taking the loss. On May 30th he gave up a run to the Dodgers blowing another lead, leading to a Mets loss. 

On June 8th, he struck out two Orioles in the 10th inning, of an 8-7 Mets win, earning himself his 5th win to get to 5-2. In his next appearance he was hit for four runs on six hits in just 0.2 innings of work in the subway series matchup.

On June 22nd he earned the first of his two saves of the season, his second was against Arizona on August 4th. 

On August 15th he earned a win against the Rockies, in relief of Pat Mahomes in the top of the 7th inning. The Mets scored four times in the bottom of the 7th, thanks to four walks & a wild pitch from the Rockies bullpen.

He struggled in the final month blowing three save opportunities in September, although he was credited with two holds & only allowed two runs in eight innings.

In the Mets 2000 NL Championship season, Cook was 6-3 with a pair of saves, striking out 53
batters & walking 31 in 59 innings of work, over 68 appearances, third to Turk Wendell & Armando Benitez. 
He notched ten holds on the year as well.

2000 Post Season-NLDS: In the NLDS win over the San Francisco Giants, he pitched part of
the 7th inning in Games #1. 

In Game #3 at Shea Stadium, he relieved Rick Reed with the Mets down 2-1. He walked Marvin Bernard to start the 7th, then retired the next two batters. He was relieved by Turk Wendell who struck out Jeff Kent. The Mets won the game in the 13th inning on Benny Agbayani's walk off HR.

2000 NLCS: In the NLCS win over the St. Louis Cardinals, cook made one appearance. He struck out Jim Edmonds & Will Clark in the 8th inning of the Mets Game #3 loss.

2000 World Series: In Game #3 of the World Series, Cook came in relief of Turk Wendell with two out & one on in the 7th inning, with the score tied at 2-2. 

After hitting David Justice with a pitch, he struck out Bernie Williams to end the inning. 

Cook then walked the first two batters he faced in the 10th inning & was removed. He was saved by Glendon Rusch who kept the game scoreless.  The Mets went on to a 4-2 win.

After the Pennant: In off season the Mets wanted to trade him but there were no takers. 

The White House: He & six other Mets players were invited to the White House on a June off day. There he met with President George W. Busch & the two Texans talked about their favorite fishing spots in the state.

In 2001 he made 43 appearances for the Mets before he was traded along with Turk Wendell to the Philadelphia Phillies for Bruce Chen & a minor leaguer. 

Mets Career: He spent four years with the Mets, the most of any team in his journeyman career. In that time he was 25-13 with a 3.86 ERA in 255 games 919th all time amongst Mets pitchers).

He ended his career with the 2002 World Champion Anaheim Angels but was not on the post season roster.

Career Stats: In his15 year career, he pitched for eleven MLB teams, Giants (1988-1989) Phillies (1989-1990) Dodgers (1990-1991) Indians (1992-1993) White Sox (1994-1995) Rangers (1995-1996) Marlins (1997) Mets (1998-2001) Phillies (20010 & Angels (2002).

He was 64-46 with a 3.91 ERA, making nine saves, striking out 739 batters, walking 390 in 665 career appearances. 

Good Hitting Pitcher: Dennis Cook was one of the best hitting pitchers in his era, ranking at #2 in that time. He was 29-110 with two HRs 9 RBIs & a .264 batting average.

Retirement: Cook has coached at many levels including the University of Texas & in Europe. He was the Swedish National Team's head coach from 2009-2014, including the2010 World Baseball Classic. 

In 2018 he was the pitching coach for the Chatham Angler of the Cape Cod League.

Family: Just before he arrived for Spring Training 1998 with the Mets, his wife Tammy gave birth to triplets.

Honors: Dennis Cook was on hand for the Mets Old Timers Day in 2022. He was a teammate of Al Leiter on two World Series teams, the Mets & Marlins.


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