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A Hero Moves On: A Tribute To Chris Coste

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 06:  Chris Coste #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies fields against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on June 6, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers defeated the Phillies 3-2 in 12 innings.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Rupert PupkinCorrespondent IJuly 12, 2009

He was a survivor. They kept him in the minors for more than thirteen years; he survived.

They sent him to Triple-A after he hit nearly .500 in Spring Training; he survived.

They signed Rod Barajas to take his job; he proved to be better.

They signed Ronnie Paulino to take his place; he won the job.

They signed Paul Bako; he finally lost.

Although you might have seen this coming (after all, the front office has been trying to get rid of him for years), "shocking" seems to be a fitting word to describe yesterday’s decision to place Phillies’ backup backstop Chris Coste on waivers. A man who’s journey to the majors was, quite literally, a book, left the city yesterday for Houston, after the Phils' front office decided that the newly acquired Paul Bako was a better fit.

He was a man who won every Philadelphian’s heart. He was, in every sense of the word, a Philadelphia hero.

It never came easy to Coste, who was 33 when he made his major league debut with the Phillies. He never once gave up. He stuck with it through hard times and long bus-trips to farmlands and redneckvilles that minor league teams called home. He had the hard life, but he never looked at it that way. He saw it as baseball, a game he loved.

He stuck with it. He never quit. That’s why we loved him. That’s why he was a hero.

Though, at times, his play between the lines could get frustrating, we never lost respect for Coste. He got us and we got him. That’s something you rarely find in a city as demanding as Philadelphia. 

The change hit a soft spot for the thirty-six year-old Coste, as well. “I didn’t realize how much the fans would take to me,” Coste said. “I don’t know that there’s many cities around baseball that would take to me the way Philadelphia has. It’s almost the kind of stuff you could write a book about.”

But now, Coste’s storybook life will move to Houston, where he will assume a major-league roll. It’s tough to see him go, but if anyone can win a new set of fans over, it would be Coste. 

Best of luck, Chris.

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