On this day in 1977 the Brewers suffered an Opening Day shutout loss, getting blanked 3-0 by Catfish Hunter and the Yankees. One of their five hits belonged to Cecil Cooper, though, as he played in the first game of what would go on to be a long Brewer career.
Cooper had been acquired over the winter in a trade that sent longtime Boston first baseman George Scott back to the Red Sox, and the trade paid near-immediate dividends. In his first year as a Brewer Cooper set career highs with 160 games played, 193 hits, 86 runs, 31 doubles, seven triples, 20 home runs and 13 stolen bases. He also became just the third Brewer ever to qualify for the batting title while hitting .300 or better.
1977 was the first of Cooper's eleven seasons as a Brewer where he hit .302/.339/.470 with 201 home runs, made five All Star appearances and won three Silver Slugger awards and two Gold Gloves.
With help from Brewerfan.net and the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to:
- Brevard County Manatee Kevin Shackelford, who turns 24.
- Racine, Wisconsin native, UW-La Crosse alum and 2006-08 Brewer Vinny Rottino, who turns 33.
- 2002 Brewer Jimmy Osting, who turns 36.
- 1998-2002 Brewer Ronnie Belliard, who turns 38.
- 1992-96 Brewer Ricky Bones, who turns 44.
Today is also the 35th anniversary of Paul Molitor's major league debut. We covered that event in this space last year.