One of the American League’s top sluggers of the late 1970s and early 1980s, Coop was the thunder in a Brewer lineup who drove home such Hall of Famers as Paul Molitor and Robin Yount. The booming bat of Cooper gave the Brewers the run producing first baseman they needed as well as a solid .300 hitter and two-time Gold Glove winner.
Like many players, Cecil was blocked at the Major League level when first summoned. Originally with the Boston Red Sox, Coop was impeded in the crimson hose lineup by slick-fielding slugger George Scott. He played sparingly for Boston from 1971 through 1973 but began to see action at DH and first base in 1974. Platooning with Yaz, Coop hit a respectable .275 but the power he would eventually be known for had yet to surface.
In Boston’s pennant winning 1975 season, Coop began to show what he was made of–hitting .311 during the regular season. The left-handed slugger finished second on the team with a .544 slugging average. During the ALCS, Coop put on a show, hitting .400 with a 1.000 on-base plus slugging mark. As everyone knows, his Red Sox fell in the World Series to the Reds of Cincinnati with Cecil offering little help: he went 1-for-19.
The most playing time Coop saw with Boston came in ’76 when he appeared in 123 games. A welcome deal came after the season when he was shipped to the Brewers for former BoSox Bernie Carbo and the man who was once his roadblock: George Scott. The trade worked well for the Brewers. Coop hit an even .300 his first year in Milwaukee and in 1978 he finished second to Hall of Famer Rod Carew in batting average among AL first basemen.
His breakout year came in 1979 when Coop paced the junior circuit with 44 doubles. He won his first Gold Glove Award and was named to the first of five All-Star squads. The Brewer basher paced AL first basemen in hits and RBI, notching his first 100 RBI season. His finest year came in 1980 when Coop led the AL in total bases and RBI (122). Coop hit a lusty .352, stroking 219 hits, which was good for second place in the American League.
In the strike shortened ’81 season, Cecil led the AL with 35 doubles while topping his position peers in batting average, runs and hits. The following year, Coop made a return trip to the World Series helping Harvey’s Wallbangers to a Fall Classic. Coop finished second in RBI during the regular season with 121 and was the lone first baseman in the Major Leagues to eclipse 100 runs and 200 hits. His highwater mark for long balls came that year–slugging out 32. Cecil hit .286 with six RBI in the World Series, but his Brewers lost to the Cardinals of St. Louis.
For the second year in a row, Coop finished fifth in the AL in MVP voting in 1983 when he paced the junior circuit in RBI. Cecil was the lone Major League first baseman to eclipse 200 base hits and he finished second to Hall of Famer Eddie Murray in homeruns among AL initial sackers. After an off year in ’84, Coop rebounded to drive in 99 runs in 1985. That year, Cecil was named to his final All-Star team. He ended his career in 1987, relinquishing first base duties to former Dodger Greg Brock.
G 1,896/R 1,012/H 2,192/2B 415/HR 241/RBI 1,125/BB 448/SO 911/SB 89/BA .298/SA .466