Cecil Cooper
Cooper as coach for the Houston Astros in 2007
First baseman / Manager
Born: (1949-12-20) December 20, 1949 (age 72)
Brenham, Texas
Batted: Left
Threw: Left
MLB debut
September 8, 1971, for the Boston Red Sox
Last MLB appearance
July 12, 1987, for the Milwaukee Brewers
MLB statistics
Batting average.298
Home runs241
Runs batted in1,125
Managerial record171–170
Winning %.501
As player
As manager
Career highlights and awards

Cecil Celester Cooper (born December 20, 1949) is a former first baseman in Major League Baseball and the former manager of the Houston Astros.[1] From 1971 through 1987, Cooper played for the Boston Red Sox (1971–76) and Milwaukee Brewers (1977–87). He batted and threw left-handed, and attended Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas.

Playing career

In a 17-season career, Cooper posted a .298 batting average with 2192 hits in 7349 at-bats, 1012 runs, 415 doubles, 241 home runs, 448 bases on balls and 1125 runs batted in in 1896 games. Defensively, he recorded a .992 fielding percentage. He wore uniform No. 17 with the Boston Red Sox, and No. 15 with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Cooper was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 1968 draft and made his Major League debut with the Red Sox in 1972. Before the 1977 season, he was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers in the same trade that brought George Scott back to Boston.

After being traded to the Brewers, Cooper altered his batting stance to resemble the stance of Rod Carew, leaning far back on his left foot and his arms partially extended. The stance helped Cooper in hitting outside pitches to the opposite field, while still pulling inside pitches. The stance change was effective, as Cooper batted .302 as a Brewer, compared to a .283 average he had during his time in Boston.

Cooper in 1976
Cooper in 1976

A five-time All-Star, Cooper hit .300 or more from 1977 to 1983. His most productive season came in 1980, when he hit a career-high .352 (finishing second in the American League behind batting champion George Brett's .390 average for the Kansas City Royals), and he also led the league in RBIs (122) and total bases (335).

In 1983 Cooper hit .307 with 30 home runs and a league-leading and career-high 126 RBIs. He also posted three seasons with 200-plus hits, in 1980, 1982 and 1983, finished fifth in the AL MVP vote, and was named the Brewers' team MVP in three seasons (1980, 1982–83). An excellent defensive first baseman, he was a two-time Gold Glove winner (1979–80). He also won the Silver Slugger Award in three straight years (1980–82); the only other Brewer to have done so is Ryan Braun (2008–10).

Cooper concluded his Major League career with 11 seasons as a Brewer, including an appearance in the 1982 World Series. Cooper holds the Milwaukee franchise records for hits (219 in 1980). Cooper held the team record for RBIs in a season with 126 until Prince Fielder broke that record on September 19, 2009 against the Houston Astros, who Cooper was managing at the time. Through 2011 he was one of three Brewers who have had four 100-RBI seasons, along with Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun.[2]

In 1983 he was honored with the Roberto Clemente Award, and in 2002 he was inducted into the Brewers Walk of Fame.

Cooper was released by the Brewers in the middle of the 1987 season and, "out of necessity," began working for his agent. Cooper eventually took on his own clients including Randy Johnson, Wade Boggs and Joe Girardi.[3] After working as an agent for a number of years, Wendy Selig-Prieb recruited Cooper to return to the Brewers to serve as the Director of Player Development or "farm director," a post he held for three years.[3][4]

He was named bench coach for Milwaukee in 2002 and also managed the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians in 200304. He returned to the Major League coaching ranks in 2005 as a bench coach for the Houston Astros.

On August 27, 2007, he was named the interim manager of the Astros following the firing of Phil Garner, making him the first African American field manager in Astros' history. Cooper's previous managerial experience was at Class AAA Indianapolis, the Milwaukee Brewers' top farm club. Cooper had a record of 130–156, finishing fourth in 2003 and third in 2004. On September 28, 2007, Cooper's interim tag was dropped and he became the Astros' 16th manager. Cooper was released as Astros manager on September 21, 2009.[1]

Cooper was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007.

He lives now in Katy, Texas with his wife Octavia. He has three adult daughters: Kelly, Brittany and Tori.

Managerial record

Team Year Regular season Post season
Won Lost Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
HOU 2007 15 16 .484 4th in NL Central
2008 86 75 .534 3rd in NL Central
2009 70 79 .470 4th in NL Central Fired
Total 171 170 .501

See also


  1. ^ a b "Astros ax Cooper; Clark takes over". Associated Press via ESPN.com. September 21, 2009. Retrieved September 21, 2009.
  2. ^ "Saturday game report: Brewers at Reds".
  3. ^ a b Smith, Evan (1 June 2009). "Cecil Cooper". Texas Monthly. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  4. ^ Shemanske, Susan (August 18, 1998). "A long time coming". The Journal Times. Retrieved 27 January 2021.