Mickey Cochrane Biography

Though not known for his defense, Mickey Cochrane was one of the greatest hitting catchers of all-time. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1947.

While not the greatest defensive catcher in the game, Mickey Cochrane was certainly one of the best offensive players to ever play that position.

A five-sport star at Boston University, Cochrane chose to sign a minor-league baseball contract in 1923. He played for Portland of the Pacific Coast League under the eye of Connie Mack, who saw the potential in Cochrane right away.

Cochrane joined Mack's Philadelphia Athletics in 1925, where he caught 134 games and batted .331, both rookie records. He hit .331 again in 1929 to go with 69 walks. Known for a keen eye, he only struck out eight times that entire season. He helped lead his team to the World Series in 1931 against the St. Louis Cardinals, but his leadership was with his bat, not his defense. In fact, Athletics' pitcher George Earnshaw publicly blamed Cochrane for the numerous stolen bases the Cards had in that series, especially Pepper Martin, who stole five. The Cardinals won, 4-3.

Cochrane played on three pennant winners while in Philadelphia (including World Series wins in 1929 and 1930), and two more with Detroit in 1934 and 1935, as a player-manager for the Tigers. In 1935, his Tigers won the championship, four games to two, over the Cubs.

Cochrane's playing career came to a sudden end on May 25, 1937. Batting against New York's Bump Hadley, Cochrane was beaned in the head. For the next week, Cochrane was in bed fighting for his life. While he made a full recovery, Detroit owner Walter Briggs, on the recommendation from doctors, forbade Cochrane to play anymore. Briggs kept Cochrane on as manager for another year-and-a-half before moving him to the front office.

Cochrane finished his playing career with a .320 batting average and .419 on-base percentage, both career records for a catcher. He also walked four times more than he struck out. Cochrane was named to Baseball's Hall of Fame in 1947.

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