Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Ex-Twins watch: Don Cooper
Don Cooper was a forgettable pitcher (1-6, 5.14 in 70 innings) on some essentially forgettable Twins teams (1981-82). If you actually remember him with those Twins teams, you have a better memory than me.
What makes "Coop" interesting is what he's done since his brief pitching career ended.
He's the pitching coach for the Chicago White Sox, a job he's held since July 2002. And in his tenure, the Sox have had a remarkable record for durable starting rotations.
From 2005-2008 — a four season span — the Sox got at least 150 starts out of their first five starters of the season each year. Not impressed? The rest of the majors had, combined, ZERO such seasons.
They missed last year -- Bartolo Colon broke down and Jose Contreras flopped, and they settled for 128, which is still well above average.
They've gotten 110 so far this season, but Jake Peavy isn't making any more starts, and they won't get to 150 without him.
Still, it's a strong record for durability. A lot of people deserve credit for it, not least of them the pitchers themselves (especially Mark Buehrle, the common thread through those seasons). Cooper didn't do this on his own. But he sure played a role.