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Gordon Stanley "Mickey" Cochrane Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Gordon Stanley "Mickey" Cochrane passes away in 1962.

Gordon Stanley "Mickey" Cochrane was an American baseball player.

Cochrane was born on April 6th, 1903 in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. He graduated from Boston University where he played five sports including baseball. He excelled though at football and basketball. Despite his abilities in football, there was no professional league yet for football so he decided to play baseball.

Cochrane signed with a minor league team the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League in 1924. The following year he was called up to the majors playing for the Philadelphia Athletics at the age of 22. His impact on the team was almost immediate. He replaced a veteran catcher as starting catcher on the team. His ability at bat was also a help to the team. Despite being a catcher he was a fast base runner. Occasionally he was the lead off batter to get on base. A lefty, Cochrane had a batting average of .331 in his rookie seasons and an on base percentage of .397.

With the Athletics, Cochrane was the catalyst for their pennant winning seasons of 1929, 1930 and 1931. Cochrane also earned the nickname of "Black Mike" because of his fiery competitive streak which served him well during his professional career. In the 1929 and 1930 seasons, the Athletics won the World Series. In the 1931 series they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals and Cochrane was given the blame. The Cardinals stole 8 bases during the series and it was said he fell down on the job. Some writers have tried to point out there was plenty of blame to go around, unfortunately it did not help him. He was dogged by the 1931 loss for the rest of his career.

In 1934, Cochrane was traded to the Detroit Tigers. They were a failing team at the time and were expected to finish toward the bottom of league in the 1934 season. Cochrane was made the player manager and led the team to their first pennant in 25 years, despite the predictions. The same year he won the Most Valuable Player award. This was in spite of the fact Lou Gehrig won the Triple Crown, best average in three statistical categories. In 1935 the Tigers, under Cochrane's leadership, beat the Chicago Cubs to win the World Series.

In the 1937 season, Cochrane was hit in the head by a pitch. He was hospitalized for seven days and the blow nearly killed him. His injury triggered discussion about requiring protective helmets for batters, tradition won out in the debate and the helmets were not required. Cochrane was instructed by his doctors not to play baseball any more. He returned to the Tigers as manager, although his competitive fire had all but gone out. He was replaced the following season ending his baseball career.

When World War II started, and despite his injury, Cochrane enlisted in the United States Navy. At the time Bill Dickey, a catcher for the Yankees, and Yogi Berra, who had not yet begun his career, were all serving during the war in the Navy giving it the distinction of having three future Baseball Hall of Fame members in their ranks.

After the Navy, Cochrane owned a car dealership which he sold in the mid-1950's.

Cochrane was a heavy smoker and passed away on June 28th, 1962 from lymphatic cancer.

Cochrane was a member of Fellowship Lodge of Bridgewater, Massachusetts. He later joined Al Bedoo Shrine Temple of Billings, Montana.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.