Mickey Cochrane

Position: Catcher
Teams: Philadelphia Athletics, 1925-1933; Detroit Tigers, 1934-1937

Mickey Cochrane was the first major-leaguer to play a full season on a pennant-winning team managed by Connie Mack and then later manage a pennant winner himself.

In the spring of 1923, Gordon Stanley Cochrane (1903-1962) signed his first professional contract in the Eastern Shore League under the name Frank King. Mickey used an alias not to protect his college eligibility -- he had already graduated from Boston University, where he had been a five-sport star -- but to guard against failure.

Cochrane was so raw defensively that several A's hurlers complained.
Cochrane was so raw defensively that several A's hurlers complained to manager
Connie Mack. Mack stood by Cochrane and was soon vindicated.

However, Cochrane did well at Dover, although it took him several weeks to learn his true position was behind the plate. Once he became a catcher, he caught the eye of Connie Mack. So certain was Mack of Cochrane’s future greatness that he took over Portland in the Pacific Coast League in order to give Mickey a place where he could hone his skills without danger of the A’s losing him.

Joining the Mackmen in 1925, Cochrane caught a rookie-record 134 games while hitting .331. Despite his good offensive numbers, Mickey was still a long way from being a polished maskman. Some felt that he never did fully master his trade.

When Pepper Martin ran wild for the Cardinals against the A’s in ­the 1931 World Series, Philadelphia pitcher George Earnshaw publicly blamed Cochrane for the embarrassment; others believed the responsibility belonged to the Athletics hurlers.

Mickey laid claim throughout his career to being the best-hitting catcher in baseball. His .320 batting average and .419 on-base percentage are both career records for a catcher, and his .478 slugging average is an AL record. Cochrane also had an exceptional batting eye -- he walked four times as often as he struck out.

Cochrane played on five pennant winners, three in Philadelphia and two more after he was traded to Detroit following the 1933 season. He had early success as a pilot -- Cochrane won flags in 1934 and ’35, his first two seasons at the Detroit helm. In 1937, Mickey was beaned on May 25 by Bump Hadley of the Yankees and hovered near death for more than a week before recovering.

Cochrane was eager to get back into action as soon as he was out of danger, but Detroit owner Walter Briggs would not permit it, especially since doctors had warned that a second beaning could prove fatal. Through as a player, Mickey managed the Tigers another season. He coached under Connie Mack in 1950 and later served in the front offices of the A’s and Tigers. Cochrane was named to the Hall of Fame in 1947.

Here are Mickey Cochrane's major league totals:


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