Wednesday, October 1, 2014

DEDICATED "ROOKIE CARDS" #7: 1972 CECIL COOPER

I was always a HUGE fan of Cecil Cooper, and I also always thought he never got the recognition he deserved.
The guy was a machine! And it always seemed he was among the leaders in runs batted in, batting average, doubles and hits.
A while back a had a small series of "dedicated rookie cards" featuring Hall of Fame players who had their first card appearance on a multi-player rookie card during the 1970's.
I wanted to expand on that series with players that never made it to Cooperstown, but had great careers nevertheless.
Funny enough, I already profiled Cooper's rookie card since he shared it with Carlton Fisk.
Check it out:


So with that, allow me to present my 1972 "dedicated rookie card" for Cooper:


Cooper had such a solid 17-year career: over 1000 runs scored, 2000 hits, 400 doubles, 200 homers and 1000 runs batted in to go along with a .298 lifetime average.
But it was his five year stretch from 1979 to 1983 that I really remember.
He topped 200 hits three times, led the American League in doubles twice, runs batted in twice, and topped 100 R.B.I.'s four times.
Cooper also finished in the top-10 in M.V.P. voting four of the five seasons, also garnering all-star selection four times along with two Gold Gloves and three Silver Slugger Awards.
His 1980 season is GROSSLY underrated (thanks in large part to George Brett's amazing year), where he had 219 hits, 25 homers, 122 R.B.I.'s, 17 stolen bases, a league-leading 335 total bases and a .352 batting average!
I guess what hurt him the most as far as "big" career numbers was the fact that he didn't really hit his stride until he was 27, his first year as a Milwaukee Brewer.
Nevertheless, I'll always remember Cooper as a force at the plate as part of that incredible Brewers line-up that also featured Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Gorman Thomas, Ben Oglivie, and Ted Simmons.
How awesome are those names?

3 comments:

  1. Nice card. People have sometimes suggested that Cooper never reached his potential with the Red Sox because of racism--the Sox were the last major league team to integrate (more than a decade after Jackie Robinson), and Tom Yawkey had a reputation of being less than enlightened on racial issues. Some say that's why the Sox traded for Danny Cater rather than giving Cooper the starting job in 1972, and why he was so often platooned. OTOH, Yaz needed to move to first at least some of the time, the emergence of Jim Rice and Fred Lynn gave them an abundance of OF/1B types, and when Cooper was traded, it was for a black player, George Scott. So perhaps it wasn't racism, just circumstances.

    Whatever the case, Cooper certainly was a major acquisition for the Brewers (although they were criticized for the trade at the time). You're right that he's deserving of more recognition than he gets.

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  2. Great player. Woulda gotten much more play nationally if he had stayed in Boston. Very underrated. Probably in that next tier of players behind the all time greats of that era. Could have found a spot on 80% of the teams in the 70's and early 80's. Most teams would have been happy to have him.

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  3. Bob Lemke made a couple of custom cards for Fisk based on the 70 and 71 topps style. He also did two for Cooper based on the 71 set. One as a Redsox and one as a Cardinal. Cooper was drafted off the Sox roster in 71 only to return after spring training

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