Gordon Stanley "Mickey" Cochrane
(April 6, 1903 – June 28, 1962)
Micky Cochrine was a professional baseball player and manager. 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.
Gordon Stanley Cochrane was born on April 6, 1903, in an eastern Massachusetts town called Bridgewater. Born to Northern Irish immigrant John Cochrane, whose father had immigrated to Ulster from Scotland and Scottish immigrant Sadie Campbell.
He was the fifth of seven children to John and Sarah Cochrane. Cochrane’s nickname “Mickey” would come from the derogatory term “Mick,” applied to Irishs immigrants. At age five, Cochrane’s father bought a 16 acre farm, and became a full time farmer. Little Mickey never showed an interest in farming, and would always wander off to get involved in sports of some kind. As a child, he played ball and ran races against friends; hunting and fishing were other past times of the neighbourhood children.
Along with loving these activities at such a young age, Cochrane had an unusual aspiration from the age of ten. He wanted to be a major league baseball manager. Cochrane states, “A lot of kids want to be big-league players, but I don’t know of another who looked beyond that to the manager’s job.” Young Mickey’s dream was eventually accomplished, but he got to that step after years of dedication to the sport of baseball.
Cochrane was educated at Boston University where he played five sports, excelling at American football and basketball. Although he considered himself better as an American 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. He ended his rookie season with a .331 batting average and a .397 on base percentage, helping the Athletics to a second place finish.
In 1947, Cochrane became the second catcher enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame, after Roger Bresnahan. With the Athletics having moved out of Philadelphia in 1954, and never retiring the uniform number 2 he wore with them, the Philadelphia Phillies honored Cochrane by electing him to the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame at Veterans Stadium. The Athletics' plaques from that display have been moved to the Philadelphia Athletics Museum in Hatboro, Pennsylvania. The Tigers honored him by renaming National Avenue, behind the third-base stands at Tiger Stadium, Cochrane Avenue, but have never retired the uniform number 3 he wore with them.
In 1999, he ranked number 65 on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was a nominee for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. New York Yankees Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle was named after Cochrane.
Micky Cochrine with Joe Louis before a match in 1935