Memories of ‘Coop’

CooperWatching Cecil Cooper hit some ground balls to Astros infielders during batting practice Sunday at Minute Maid Park brought back memories of the days when he was the sweet-swinging first baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers.

"Coop," now the Astros’ bench coach, was a member of that rollicking, slugging Milwaukee outfit of the early 1980s, known affectionately in the upper Midwest as Bambi’s Bombers and then Harvey’s Wallbangers — respective titles bestowed on clubs managed by George Bamberger and Harvey Kuenn.

Those teams routinely pulverized their American League foes, the stretch from 1978-83 highlighted by a seven-game loss to the Cardinals in the 1982 World Series. The lineup included the likes of Hall of Famers Robin Yount (shortstop) and Paul Molitor (third base), along with catcher Ted Simmons, second baseman Jim Gantner, and outfielders Ben Oglivie, Gorman Thomas and Charlie Moore.

Cooper was a five-time All-Star from 1979-85, had over 200 hits three times and finished his career as a .298 hitter with 241 home runs and benefited from hitting third in the lineup behind Molitor and Yount to accumulate 1,125 RBIs.

And for you True Blue Brew Crew fans out there, he’s still got that classic left-handed swing even hitting ground balls to infielders, and he still wears that familiar number 15 on the back of his jersey (conveniently vacated in Houston by Carlos Beltran). — Paul Bodi /

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