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Born as Gordon Stanley Cochrane in Bridgewater, MA on April 6, 1903. He was the fifth of seven children of John and Sadie Cochrane. His parents were both immigrants of Scottish descent. He attended college close to his home at Boston University. He would played football in college as a quarterback, running back, and punter and also excelled in basketball. Baseball was probably his weakest sport.
He was a born leader known for his fiery temper and his extremely competitive nature. His former teammate Doc Cramer once said, "Lose a 1-0 game and you didn't want to get into the clubhouse with Grove and Cochrane. You'd be ducking stools and gloves and bats and whatever else would fly."
Cochrane played the outfield while in college, but began catching when he starting playing for Dover of the Class-D Eastern Shore League while he was still in college. The team needed a catcher and Cochrane stepped in despite the fact that he did not like the position and was not very good at it. He grew comfortable with the role as he began to excel at it. Cy Perkins, the catcher for the Philadelphia A's taught him a lot before Cochrane took over his job as the regular catcher for the A's in 1925. His defense behind the plate improved dramatically until he was known as one of the better catchers in the league.
Cochrane immediately made an impact with his bat. In his rookie year batted .331/.397/.448 in 420 AB's. In his 13 years as a big league catcher he failed to hit .290 just twice. His best year came in 1930 when he hit .357/.424/.526 with 10 HR and 85 RBI. His biggest power year came in 1932 when he batted .293 with 23 HR and 112 RBI. It was the only time in his career that he topped 20 HR or 100 RBI.
The man had no weaknesses. He had a great arm, blocked the plate well, and called a good game. He was great with people so he handled his pitching staff well. He hit for average, drew walks, and had a little bit of power. He was also fast for a catcher. Connie Mack would sometimes insert him into the leadoff spot because of his above average speed and ability to get on base, but he spent most of his career batting third.
The A's would make the playoffs for 3 straight years with Mickey behind the plate. He would score 113 runs in 1929, the first of their three playoff appearances, while batting in front of Jimmie Foxx and Al Simmons. The same trio also lead one of the league's best offenses for the next two playoff runs. The team would win the World Series in '29 and '30 beating the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals.
Mostly because of financial difficulties, Connie Mack was forced to sell Cochrane to the Detroit Tigers. The move was one of the best that Detroit has ever made. Cochrane took over the managerial job in Detroit and acted as a player/manager leading the team to consecutive World Series appearances in 1934 and 1935. The Tigers won their first World Series under his control in '35.
His playing career was cut short when he was hit in the head by a Bump Hadley pitch on May 25, 1937. He spent two days in intensive care and nearly died. When he recovered his confidence was shaken. That, combined with the stress of managing, lead to his dismissal from the Tigers on August 6, 1938.
He spent most of his days after his playing career relaxing at his Montana ranch with his wife, Mary and his two daughters, Joan and Sara. His only son, Gordon Jr., died while serving in World War II. He enjoying music and dancing and was always willing to help out a friend in need. He died of lympatic cancer at the age of 59 in Lake Forest, Illinois. His wife lived on another 37 years before dying on June 16, 1999.
- Traded by Portland (PCL) to Philadelphia Athletics in exchange for Harry Riconda, Dennis Burns, Bob Hasty, Ed Sherling, Charles Rowland and $50000 (November 17, 1924).
- Traded by Philadelphia Athletics to Detroit Tigers in exchange for Johnny Pasek and $100000 (December 12, 1933).
- Cochrane hit a home run in his last major league at bat
- Hall of Famer, Mickey Mantle was named after Cochrane
- In his debut, Cochrane caught Lefty Grove who was also making his MLB debut. They are the only battery to make their debut together and both get into the Hall of Fame
- On May 21, 1925, Cochrane hit 3 HR in one game. That day made up half of his home run production for the year as he finished with 6.
- His Detroit Tigers went 348-250 when he was the manager for a .582 WPCT
- Won the AL MVP in 1928 and 1934
- All-Star Games: 1934 and 1934
- World Series Champion: 1929, 1930, and 1935
- His .320 career AVG is good enough for 56th best, all-time
- His .419 career OBP is good enough for 20th best, all-time