Celebrating 100 Years of Oakland Technical High School
Henry “Cookie” Lavagetto ’31
Cookie was a third baseman, manager, and coach in American League baseball. But he’s best known for a single hit he made during a 1947 World Series game when his Brooklyn Dodgers were facing the New York Yankees, in a game that would come to be called “The Cookie Game.” Harry played both football and baseball at Tech where he had two nicknames: “Harry “Loonatic” Lavagetto and Harry “Lovebird” Lavagetto.
After graduating Tech in 1931, Lavagetto, then still called “Harry,” tried out for the Oakland Oaks, a team in the Pacific Coast League owned by Cookie DeVincenzi. The team owner’s nickname eventually was applied to Lavagetto too, and stuck. Lavagetto played for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1934-1936, and was then traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1938, while with the Dodgers, he made the All-Star team, a feat he repeated four years in a row. His career was interrupted in January 1942 when he voluntarily enlisted alongside his brother in the Navy.
In 1945 he managed a Navy baseball team. When the war ended, Lavagetto played two more seasons with the Dodgers, but went out with a flourish in “The Cookie Game,” during Game 4 of the World Series. Bill Bevens of the Yankees was on the cusp of going down in history for pitching the first ever World Series no-hitter. Lavagetto’s last hit in the major leagues denied Bevens that satisfaction and gave the Dodgers a 3-2 win. (The Yankees went on to win the series, but it took all seven games.) In later years, Lavagetto was a coach for the Dodgers, a manager for the Washington Senators and the Minnesota Twins, and a coach for the New York Mets, before coming back to the Bay Area to manage the Giants from 1964-1967.
He died at home in Orinda in 1990 at the age of 77.