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Team Poland Hires Former MLB Pitcher Dennis Cook as Manager

 Julian Guilarte  |    Apr 25th, 2024 6:00pm EDT

New York RHP Dennis Cook throws. (Contra Costa Times/Jon McNally) (Photo by MediaNews Group/Contra Costa Times via Getty Images)

On April 11, Poland hired former MLB pitcher Dennis Cook to manage its national team. MLB reporter Michael Clair reported the news.

Cook spoke to the World Baseball Network about how the hire came together.

“I put my name out there a few months ago, momentum just built a little bit and they got back to me about a month and a half ago,” Cook told World Baseball Network.

Cook has a lot of experience coaching and managing at the international level. He managed the Swedish national team, was the pitching coach for Germany, and helped the Italian national team during the World Baseball Classic and European Championships.

Cook is half Swedish, and that’s how he got involved in managing the Swedish team.

“I met people there, and it just kept going from there. People just kept asking me to do different things, and I was always interested,” Cook said.

Cook always saw managing in his future, even while he was still pitching in MLB. Cook coached his sons when they were little, in high school, and at the University of Texas. Last year, he was also the pitching coach at Northwestern. Cook also does individual instruction in his backyard, which has a batting cage and pitching mound.

“I always knew I would be a baseball lifer one way or another,” Cook said.

Cook, 61, pitched in MLB for 15 years from 1988 to 2002. The highlight of his career was winning the World Series with the Florida Marlins in 1997. Cook was the winning pitcher in game three of the 1997 World Series against the Cleveland Indians. He pitched one scoreless inning with one strikeout.

“My favorite park to pitch in was Marlins Park in 1997. In Joe Robbie Stadium, the backstop made you feel like it was close because the mound was tall,” Cook said.

Cook’s career numbers were 1011.2 innings, 739 strikeouts, and an ERA of 3.91.

Cook is ready for the challenge of constructing team Poland and plans to have some Polish American players with Polish passports play.

“Working with Sweden gave me a blueprint of what I want to do,” Cook said. “I have an idea of what players I want to get and want to build excitement for baseball in Poland with some of the leagues to extract some of the players.”

Cook feels that his experience in his different roles will help him build a great team in each area.

“Finding the pitching is going to be the biggest challenge, finding the depth and quality of the pitching,” Cook said.

Cook will visit Poland in the next couple of days and talk with the federation about putting together a team plan.

Cook enjoys putting the team together, evaluating the talent, and helping each player improve.

Cook also managed the Abu Dubai Falcons in the Baseball United league, which debuted last fall in Dubai.

Cook will manage the senior Poland team in the qualifiers this summer for next year’s European from July 22 to July 28 in Kutno, Poland. They didn’t qualify for the 2023 European Championship.

Cook will also manage Poland’s U23 team in Zurich, Switzerland, from August 4 to August 10.

“I love the WBC. I think it’s a wonderful thing. I wish they would expand it to more countries. I would’ve played if I had a chance,” Cook said. “Everyone gets to play for their country. It’s good baseball, and it’s a good thing.”

Poland currently ranks 72nd in the WBSC rankings and 27th in the WBSC Europe sector.