Saturday, November 6, 2010

Questionable All Stars Pt. 1: Scott Cooper

The All Star selection process is such a subjective procedure that sometimes deserving players get left off. Then there are times when players who do not deserve to be All Stars are named to the team.

Scott Cooper has to be one of the worst players to be an All Star. And, he was an All Star twice. He was Boston's sole representative in both 1993 and 1994. The All Star game has a rule that every team must be represented. But that does not even explain the whole story for why Cooper was an All Star those years.

It's not as if Boston had no other options. Mo Vaughn was becoming one of the best first-basemen in the game in 1993 and 1994. John Valentin was looking like a good young player, particularly in 1994. Danny Darwin had a great year in 1993 and Roger Clemens did in 1994. Even Frank Viola and Mike Greenwell would have been decent options. But Cooper got in because there were not many deserving third-basemen and Boston needed a representative. So, Toronto manager Cito Gaston who got to fill in the reserves and pitching staff selected Scott Cooper both years.

Scott Cooper was not even an average player either year. In 1993, he had a slash line of .279/.355/.397 with nine home runs and 63 RBIs. He was a little better in the first half going .282/.362/.401 with six home runs and 36 RBIs. Cooper was never known as a great defensive third-baseman, although he had a terrific arm. He made a lot of errors, but that may have been more due to Mo Vaughn's questionable defensive talents than Cooper's.

In 1994, his batting average increased to .282, his slugging to .453 and his home runs increased to 13 in the strike-shortened season, but his OBP dropped all the way to .333, not a good number. He did most of this in the first half and again slumped terribly in the second half.

Cooper was never a deserving All Star, but his numbers do look a little better when focusing on the first half of each season.

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