For 11 years spanning the late 1970s until the late 1980s, Cecil Cooper was both a star and a hero for Milwaukee Brewers fans. Every time the Texas native came to the plate at Milwaukee County Stadium, Brewers fans serenaded Cooper with the call of ‘Cooooooooop,’ exhorting one of the best Brewers in Milwaukee’s history.
Cooper was a five-time All-Star, led the league in doubles and RBIs twice each, won three Silver Slugger Awards, two Gold Gloves, and finished in the top-five for MVP voting in the American League three times.
The smooth-swinging southpaw also had one of the most famous hits in Milwaukee Brewers history, with his line drive to left field against the California Angels in Game 5 of the 1982 ALCS that scored Charlie Moore and Jim Gantner to send the Brewers to the World Series for the first and only time in their history.
Fast-forward nearly thirty years and there is another Cooper in the picture.
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Garrett Cooper is in his third year in the Brewers organization and recently was promoted from Class A Advanced Brevard County to Class AA Biloxi. Cooper, a 6’6″, 230# right-handed hitter out of Alabama, is moving steadily up the chain and has been one of the most consistent hitters in the low-to-mid levels of the Brewers chain.
Cooper was a sixth round pick out of Auburn University in the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft. In his first year–split between Rookie League Helena and Midwest League Wisconsin–Cooper slashed .283/.350/.467 in just over 200 plate appearances.
The following season, Cooper saw action in the Arizona Rookie League, Wisconsin, and A Advanced Brevard County. In 239 trips to the plate, he had a slash line of .262/.347/.390, a slight drop-off from the previous year.
He broke out in 2015 at Brevard County, slashing .294/.356/.436 in 470 plate appearances, becoming one of the top players at that level, along with top prospect Clint Coulter.
Cooper earned a promotion to Class AA Biloxi in late August, and in his first three games went 6-for-11 with a pair of RBI.
Although there are few physical similarities between the two Coopers, their games–at this stage in their careers–mirror each others.
Neither player flashed big power early in their minor league careers, with Cecil hitting only 10 homers in his first 244 games, while Garrett hit 18 homers in his first 234 contests. Cecil had 40 doubles in that span, while Garrett banged 57 in that time-frame.
Cecil played in the bigs from ages 21-23 and became a regular at age 24 in Boston and then became a star for the Brewers when he was 27.
Garrett Cooper has done well in the lower levels and has shown promise at AA in his first few games. If he can continue his steady improvement, the ‘new’ Cooper could hear cheers in Miller Park in the next couple years.