June 28, 1962 - Mickey Cochrane, one of baseball’s great figures, died today in Lake Forest Hospital in Illinois. He was 59 years old. A spokesman at the hospital said death came after a long illness. Black Mike, a nickname given Cochrane because of his fiery, competitive nature, became linked with the phrase “greatest catcher in the game.” Thirteen seasons as a player with the Philadelphia Athletics and as player and manager of the Detroit Tigers bore out the phrase. Cochrane’s lifetime batting average was .320, the best ever for a catcher, and he was the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 1928. He became the spark behind the plate on Connie Mack’s great pennant-winning Philadelphia teams of 1929 through 1931. With the A’s and later with Detroit, he became known for his durability by catching 100 or more games for 11 successive seasons. Soon after the U.S. became involved in World War II, Cochrane applied for service in the Navy’s health training program. Then 39 years old, he was accepted in 1942 as a lieutenant in the physical education branch under Lieut. Cmdr. Gene Tunney. In 1947, he was voted into the Hall of Fame with three other greats — Carl Hubbell, Frank Frisch, and Lefty Grove. He leaves his wife and two daughters. His only son, Gordon Stanley Jr., was killed in Holland during World War II.
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