Chatham’s Cook Brings Tradition to Cape Cod
From Babe Ruth calling his shot to Wade Boggs and his pre-game chicken meals, rituals tend to be quite existent in the game of baseball. Whether they’re for show, therapeutic, or just for fun, they’ve entertained fans of the sport for a long time.
For Chatham pitching coach Dennis Cook, his ritual takes place away from gameplay. Cook is a proud caretaker of his own personal garden, located beside his team’s respective bullpen.
Cook is in the midst of his second stint in Cape Cod, but his baseball roots go back a long time. He played collegiate ball for the Longhorns of Texas, where he would pitch and play right field.
His skills in college attracted lots of attention, resulting in Cook being drafted by the San Francisco Giants. Fifteen years after his draft selection, his career with nine different teams would come to a close, headlined by his two World Series trophies.
Cook’s 739 career strikeouts certainly impressed on the diamond, but his own personal gardens have brought him lots of smiles as well. The tradition stems from his time in A-Ball, where Cook began his gardening work to save money.
“Really it was out of necessity because we didn’t make a lot of money. So I grew a lot of cherry tomatoes and some peppers and we’d sit down in the bullpen and eat them.” said Cook.
When Cook was a child, his grandmother was the gardening specialist. That same passion passed down to her grandson, and Cook’s been entertained ever since.
“I’ve always enjoyed doing it. It’s kind of calming and peaceful for me to get out there and work in the dirt.” said Cook.
Through all of the different ballparks Cook has seen in his career, the tradition has been a part of every single one. This now includes Veterans Field in Chatham, where the garden can be spotted in front of the Angler bullpen.
This time of year, Cook’s summer focus is on the tomatoes and peppers. His focus is of course also on the Chatham Anglers, where his team sits comfortably in third place in the East Division.