Forgotten Legends Part 1: Mickey Cochrane

Ben KContributor IDecember 6, 2009


Less than 2% of baseball players who have ever played the game have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.  When we think of the Hall of Famers, we think of the greats such as The Babe, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Nolan Ryan and many other giants of the game.  This series isn’t about them.  This Series is about the legends that sit in their shadows.    


Mickey Cochrane was a very successful catcher for the Philadelphia Athletics from 1925 to 1933 and the Detroit Tigers from 1934 until 1937.  He was sometimes known as "Black Mike" due to his many mood swings and temper. 

            His short career can be described as consistent.  His .320 batting average and .419 OBP are still the best among catchers all time; he walked almost 4 times as much as he struck out.  His slugging percentage of .478 is an AL record for catchers.  He didn’t always hit the ball out of the park, he only had 119 career homeruns but he did find ways to get into scoring position with 333 career doubles.   

Cochrane's career ended suddenly when Yankee Pitcher Bump Hadley hit him in the head with a pitch.  He nearly died and was ordered by his doctor to never play again. His playing career ended when he was only 34.  After his playing career, Mickey Cochrane managed the Tigers for 4 seasons.  He had a .582 winning percentage as manager of the Tigers.     

            Cochrane accomplished a lot in a short career. He was a 2 time MVP and All Star, played on 7 pennant winners and has 3 rings.  His short and successful career earned him another honor not mentioned in any statistic; Elvin Mantle admired him so much that he named his son, Mickey after his favorite catcher.

 He later served in the Navy in World War II even with the head injury.  Cochrane was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1947.  He died in 1952 from cancer due to being a heavy smoker.