Friday, March 16, 2012
#539) DENNIS COOK
Dennis Cook came to the New York Mets when he was traded from the Florida Marlins in exchange for Fletcher Bates and Scott Comer on December 18, 1997. The left-handed relief pitcher was part of the 1997 World Championship team. "They started trading everybody," Cook said. "In a way it was sad, because of everything we'd accomplished. We put so much hard work into it, and it's gratifying when you do that and something positive comes out of it."
The Cook family grew significantly back in Austin, Texas. Dennis and his wife welcomed their first children, a set of triplets. He was excused from part of spring training to be home for the event. "It was an incredible experience," Cook said. "and I appreciate the Mets giving me the time to enjoy it. I don't know what will happen to me the rest of my life, but nothing will ever replace this. It was a miracle."
Dennis made his Mets debut during Opening Day at Shea Stadium on March 31, 1998. Throwing an inning and a third of the New York 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. He would lead the team in appearances with 73 during his first season. Finishing with a 8-4 record, one save, and a 2.38 ERA.
The Mets would earn the National League Wild Card in 1999. Cook did his part with a 10-5 record, three saves and a 3.86 ERA. Dennis registered 68 strikeouts in his 63 innings pitched during the regular season. The southpaw then did not allow an earned run in any of his postseason appearances.
New York would once again secure the N.L. Wild Card entry in 2000, but it was a challenging year personally for Dennis. Several rough outings caused his ERA to rise to 5.34. "I have the same stuff, but good mechanics come with consistent work, and I would say I'm not where I want to be with my mechanics right now," Cook said in mid-August. "I've had stretches of being very good but when I've been bad, I've been very bad this year." When the postseason arrived he was ready. Again he did not allow a single earned run that included three appearances against the New York Yankees in the World Series.
By mid-season of 2001 the Mets had decided to part ways with the impending free agent. Dennis was traded along with Turk Wendell to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for young lefthanders, Bruce Chen and Adam Walker on July 27, 2001. "I'm excited about it," said Cook. "Philly's right in the thick of it. It's a little bit sad knowing how you spent four years together, World Series team, a lot of friendships. But that's the nature of the beast."
Dennis retired from baseball in 2002, but returned to the game in 2010 when he was named the head coach for Team Sweden. Cook has participated in Mets Alumni Association events including the City Harvest event in 2011.
Dennis Cook signed an index card for Nick Duinte of Baseball Happenings in New York City on June 4, 2011 that was used to make his card in the set.