Scott Cooper 1994 Topps – Sully Baseball Card of the Day for July 17, 2017

IMG_1028Scott Cooper was a two time All Star for the Boston Red Sox in the mid 1990’s.

I was a rabid out of my mind Red Sox fan in the mid 1990’s, so you would assume Scott Cooper was one of my favorite players. I did not dislike Scott Cooper. I just had no feelings about Scott Cooper which might go to show you what kind of impact Scott Cooper had on your pal Sully’s life.

Scott Cooper was not a BAD player. Two time All Stars tend not to be. But he was as unmemorable a player as I can recall.

Oh I will dutifully look up his stats and pull a game here or a game there that made me say “Oh yeah! That was a great Scott Cooper game.” But the fact that none come to mind right now is kind of telling.

Perhaps his biggest legacy in Red Sox nation was the team chose to keep him instead of future Hall of Famer and Massachusetts native Jeff Bagwell. But that is just hindsight.

Scott Cooper was from St. Louis and went to high school in suburban Maryland Heights. The Red Sox picked him in the third round of the 1986 draft.

As the team was developing young bats at the major league level, Cooper looked like he was going to fit right in. A line drive left handed batter with decent home run power, he looked like he was going to hit doubles in the gap for all time in Fenway. Cooper and Mo Vaughn made for a solid 1-2 punch in the 1990 Pawtucket lineup along with Phil Plantier and Tim Naehring.

With all of those bats producing at AAA and third baseman Jeff Bagwell struggling to find his home run stroke, it looked like one of the bats were expendable for bullpen depth down the stretch in 1990.

So it was Bagwell that was the odd man out, not Cooper, to deal to the Astros for Larry Andersen. In retrospect, that is a big time OOPS. Didn’t hear many people crying at the time.

Cooper made cameos with the 1990 and 1991 Red Sox but in 1992 was on the club for good. He stared many games at first and at third and made enough of an impression on the team that they did not offer a contract to future Hall of Famer Wade Boggs.

That’s right. The Red Sox front office thought highly enough about Scott Cooper that they traded away one future Hall of Famer and let another one go to make room for him.

In 1993, the Red Sox teetered on the verge of contention but could not keep up with Toronto, New York or Baltimore. The first half of that year, Cooper batted .282, posted an OPS of .763 and hit 6 homers. Not bad. Not eye popping. And good enough to represent an uninspiring Red Sox team in the All Star Game. (Roger Clemens had an off year in 1993 and without Boggs, there was no default pick.)

To Cooper’s credit, he batted .310 in September that year. To his detraction, his .773 OPS for September was not significantly better than his production all season.

In the strike shortened 1994 season, the Red Sox limped along under manager Butch Hobson.

The first half of the year, he batted .292 with 13 homers and an OPS of .841. Not bad. Certainly closer to All Star numbers, which he achieved by being named to his second squad.

And he did indeed have some big games. He hit for the cycle on April 12 in a bizarre 22-11 win over the Royals. A week later he went 4 for 5 with a homer and $ RBI against Oakland.

He had 26 multi hit games for the Red Sox in 1994. I don’t remember any of them. The season ended that August and so did his time with the Red Sox.

When play resumed in 1995, he was traded to the Cardinals for Mark Whiten. After a year in St. Louis and a year in Kansas City, he played some in Japan before retiring.

In some ways, Cooper reminded me of the last gasp of the Yawkey era in Red Sox baseball. No offense to Cooper, but he was just another bland white guy who played hard and made zero impression. That seemed to be the Yawkey era M.O.

Mrs. Yawkey died and soon the team started to look and feel a lot different. When play resumed, Tim Wakefield and Trot Nixon were in spring training for the Red Sox. They roster that would ultimately yield a World Series title was starting to form.

Scott Cooper was not part of the team or many memories. No offense to Scott. He was a player at the wrong time.

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