Ben’s Baseball Alphabet: Hoover

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In 1907 a man named Murray Spangler had asthma. Spangler worked as a night janitor and one of his duties was sweeping up the dust. Unfortunately for him, his asthma was aggravated by dust. This made his job unpleasant. Spangler needed to find a way to reduce dust in the air.

Luckily he was also an inventor. And so he set about creating a machine that would suck the dust out of the air that he was breathing. Pretty soon Spangler had a fan attached to a tin soap box, attached to a pillowcase. But his contraption needed stability, so he affixed it to a broom handle. Spangler called it his “suction sweeper” and it worked like a charm. Not only did it alleviate his asthma, but it also caused dollar signs to swirl about in front of his eyes, and he was shortly in search of a financial backer. Enter W.H. Hoover, who kept Spangler on as a partner, and the rest is vacuum cleaner history.

A Hoover in the Field

It is an infielder’s job to field baseballs that are hit and bunted in the infield. It’s as simple as that, but it’s not a simple thing to do.  All infielders (as well as outfielders, catchers, and pitchers) boot, misplay, and make mistakes. These mistakes are called errors, although they aren’t proper errors unless the official scorer deems them so. The idea is to commit as few errors as possible and those who do are considered the best at their position. These highly sought-after fielders are showered with accolades and positive verbal reinforcement. They may be given a Gold Glove Award or a pat on the back accompanied by a “great job, buster!”. They may also, if they are an infielder, meaning a first baseman, second baseman, shortstop, or third baseman, be called a Hoover.

A Hoover infielder is known to suck up baseballs with the deft precision of a Hoover vacuum cleaner. Well-known Hoover infielders are Ozzie Smith, Keith Hernandez, Roberto Alomar, and Brooks Robinson.

A Hoover at the Plate

And while a Hoover in the field is a must, cleaning power is also needed at the plate. As you may or may not know the ultimate goal when playing a baseball game is to score more runs than your opponent. So, when a team is on offense the best thing to have in one’s lineup is a player who gets a lot of hits when runners are on base. This Hoover at the plate is good at cleaning up the bases when they are loaded with runners. Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Albert Pujols are considered great tidiers of the bases.

While many people enjoy cleaning their homes with a Hoover vacuum cleaner, baseball Hoovers are the greats who have cleaned up the field with their skills. And that is why H Is for Hoover.

Main Photo:

Embed from Getty Images

Players Mentioned:

Ozzie Smith, Keith Hernandez, Roberto Alomar, Brooks Robinson, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Albert Pujols