Sunday, June 26, 2011

Legend of Baseball : Mickey Cochrane

Gordon Stanley "Mickey" Cochrane (April 6, 1903 – June 28, 1962) was a professional baseball player and manager.[1] He played in Major League Baseball as a catcher for the Philadelphia Athletics and Detroit Tigers. Cochrane was considered one of the best catchers in baseball history and is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Cochrane was born in Bridgewater, Massachusetts to Northern Irish immigrant John Cochrane, whose father had immigrated to Ulster from Scotland and Scottish immigrant Sadie Campbell. He was also known as "Black Mike", because of his fiery, competitive nature.Cochrane was educated at Boston University where he played five sports, excelling at football and basketball. Although he considered himself better as a football player than as a baseball player, professional football wasn't as established as Major League Baseball at the time so, Cochrane signed a contract to play for the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League in 1924.

After just one season in the minor leagues, Cochrane was promoted to the major leagues, making his debut with the Philadelphia Athletics on April 14, 1925 at the age of 22. He made an immediate impact by earning the starting catcher's assignment over Cy Perkins, who was considered one of the best catchers in the major leagues at the time. A left-handed batter, Cochrane ran well enough that manager Connie Mack would occasionally insert him into the leadoff spot in the batting order. Most frequently, Cochrane would bat third, but wherever he hit, his primary job was to get on base so that hard-hitting Al Simmons and Jimmie Foxx could drive him in. In May, he tied a major league record by hitting three home runs in a game.[8] He ended his rookie season with a .331 batting average and a .397 on base percentage, helping the Athletics to a second place finish.

Cochrane compiled a .320 batting average while hitting 119 home runs over a 13 year playing career. His .320 batting average was the highest career total for catchers until being surpassed by Joe Mauer in 2009. His .419 on-base percentage is among the best in baseball history, and is the highest all-time among catchers. In 1932, Cochrane became the first catcher in Major League Baseball history to score 100 runs and have 100 RBI in the same season. He hit for the cycle twice in his career, on July 22, 1932 and on August 2, 1933. In his first 11 years, he never caught fewer than 110 games. Cochrane led American League catchers six times in putouts, and twice each in double plays, assists and fielding percentage.

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