Walker Cooper – Defensive First Catcher


Position(s): C    Nicknames:  Walk   Born:   January 8, 1915
Bats:  Right    Throws:  Right  Height:  6′ 3″  Weight:  210 lbs
Major League Debut:
9-25-1940  (BOXSCORE)

The Missouri native was known as a defensive catcher that made the All-Star team form 1942-1950. It is reported that he complained to the umpire on the very first pitch he saw in the major leagues.

On August 30 of that year, Cooper caught Lon Warneke’s no-hitter. In 1942 he batted .281, finishing among the National League’s top ten players in slugging, doubles and triples as St. Louis won the pennant by two games;  brother Mort won the Most Valuable Player Award. Batting fifth, he hit .286 in the World Series against the defending champion New York Yankees, driving in the winning run in Game 4 and scoring the winning run on Whitey Kurowski’s home run in the ninth inning of the final Game 5; he then picked Joe Gordon off second base with no outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, as the team earned its first title in eight years. 

World War II service in the Navy led him to appear in only four games in 1945, and before his return the New York Giants purchased his contract following a salary dispute in January 1946;  the sale by the Cardinals for $175,000 ($2,116,425 today) was the highest cash-only deal ever to that time; the transactions of Joe Cronin in 1934 and Dizzy Dean in 1938 were larger deals, but also involved other players. NEWS ARTICLE ON THE SALE