Sunday, May 25, 2008

(3) Gordon Stanley "Mickey" Cochrane

Born April 6, 1903 in Bridgewater, MA. Died June 28, 1962 in Lake Forest, IL.

Career Stats: G-1482 R-1041 H-1652 2B-333 3B-64 HR-119 RBI-832 SB-64 AVG-.320

Player: Philadelphia Athletics (1925-1933)
Detroit Tigers (1934-1937)
Manager: Detroit Tigers (1934-midway thru 1938)

World Series Champ in 1929 (Phila)....AB-15 R-5 H-6 2B-1 AVG. .400
1930 (Phila) AB-18 R-5 H-4 HR-2 RBI-4 AVG. .222
1935 (Det) AB-24 R-3 H-7 2B-1 RBI-1 AVG. .292

Lost World Series in 1931(Phila) AB-25 R-2 H-4 2B-1 RBI-1 AVG. .160
1934(Det) AB-28 R-2 H-6 2B-1 RBI-1 AVG. .214

After breaking in with the Philadelphia A's in 1925, he quickly established himself as one of the best offensive players ever at the catcher position. A left-handed batter, Cochrane ran well enough that manager Connie Mack (a catcher during his playing days) would occasionally insert Mickey into the leadoff spot in hopes he could get on base for Al Simmons or Jimmie Foxx.

In the 1931 World Series loss to the St. Louis Cardinals , Cochrane became the scapegoat of the press for the A's losing the series. Not only did he bat a paltry .160 but the Cardinals stole 8 bases in the Series (5 by Pepper Martin).

In 1934, Connie Mack started to disassemble his dynasty for financial reasons and sold Cochrane to the Detroit Tigers for Johnny Pasek and $100,000. Pasek was then traded with George Earnshaw (a 3-time 20-game winner) to the White Sox for Charlie Berry and $20,000.

Mickey Cochrane's playing career came to a sudden end on May 25, 1937 when he was hit in the head by a pitch from New York Yankee pitcher, Bump Hadley. No kidding! Cochrane was hospitalized for seven days as this injury nearly killed him. When Cochrane returned to the dugout he had lost his competitive fire. He was replaced midway through the 1938 season. His managerial record was an impressive W-348 L-250, a .582 winning percentage.

Mickey was a close friend of Ty Cobb. Cobb was good to Mickey, helping Cochrane out financially at the end of his life. Mickey, along with Ray Schalk and Nap Rucker were the only ballplayers to show up at Cobb's funeral on July 17, 1961.

In 1947, Mickey Cochrane was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Of all the information, I was able to gather, it appears that Mickey Cochrane was a serviceable backstop whose main asset was his offensive prowess. This might have been the exception to the rule of defense first for the catcher position. Proving throughout the history of baseball and life in general that there will always be room made for someone who can hit. Life has a tendency to make allowances for those who offer something most cannot.

There is one other thing of note on Gordon Stanley "Mickey" Cochrane. On October 20, 1931 in Spavinaw, Oklahoma, a proud father honored his newborn child when he named him after his favorite ballplayer, Mickey Cochrane. That baby was Mickey Charles Mantle.

(thanks to Wikipedia and Baseball-Reference)

Kevin Marquez