"He's just an excellent outfielder with good speed and a good throwing arm. And be hits so well," Swift, head coach at the St. Louis-area Lafayette High, told The Post-Dispatch that April. "He has great work habits. He works hard at what he needs to do to improve."
Cooper worked hard enough to make the pros - twice. But he couldn't stay there. He played parts of two seasons. He never made single-A.
Cooper's pro career began in 1988, taken by the Angels in the 25th round of the draft out of Scottsdale Community College in Arizona.
Cooper initially played his college ball at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He moved to Scottsdale after a tough start in Columbia, The Post-Dispatch wrote.
He then signed with the Angels for 1988, playing briefly at short-season Bend. He got into 13 games and hit .234.
He then returned to college, at Columbia. He also held out hope for a return to the pros, The Post-Dispatch wrote in June 1989.
"At the time, it was a dream come-true," Cooper told The Post-Dispatch of his first pro stint, as he worked to return. "But I'm still hopeful. If I didn't think there was a chance to be re-signed, I probably wouldn't be playing now."
Cooper signed with the Cardinals later that year. Assigned to short-season Hamilton, Cooper played 65 games. He hit .180, with four home runs, ending his pro career.
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 23, 1986:Player of the Week
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 29, 1989: Cooper Is Hoping For Another Opportunity At Pros
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,541
Made the Majors:1,016-40.0%
Never Made Majors:1,525-60.0%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 422
10+ Seasons in the Minors:259