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Wednesday, August 23, 2023

John Cotton saw 15 pro seasons, AAA in five of them; Missed bigs

John Cotton 1990 Watertown Indians card

John Cotton slugged a late home run to life his single-A Columbus Indians to a win in this April 1991 game, The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer wrote.

Cotton, starting his third pro season, credited work with film and a coach, The Ledger-Enquirer wrote.

"Harry Spillman, our batting coach, was in town and he noticed I had been swinging from the wrong place," Cotton told The Ledger-Enquirer. "He wanted me to be ready to hit every pitch."

Cotton ended up hitting in a dozen more pro seasons - 15 in all. He saw time at AAA over five campaigns. He never made the bigs.

Cotton's career began in 1989, taken by the Indians in the 10th round of the draft out of Angelina College in Texas.

Cotton started with the Indians at rookie Burlington as a catcher. He hit .207 in 64 games. He moved to short-season Watertown for 1990, then single-A Columbus in 1991. He then moved to high-A Kinston in 1992. He hit .200 in 103 games.

By 1994, he was with the Padres, and got his first look at AA. He saw 34 games at AA Wichita. He hit .188. He then returned to AA with the Padres at Memphis for 1995. He hit .253 in 121 games. 

In July 1995, he got an outfield spot, then moved to short due to an injury. He told The Memphis Commercial-Appeal he was fine with the move.

"The more games I play there the more comfortable I get," Cotton told The Commercial-Appeal.

Cotton first made AAA in with the Tigers at Toledo in 1996. He saw 50 games and hit .187. He then made AAA Nashville with the White Sox in 1997, then AAA Colorado Springs with the Rockies in 1999.

That August in 1999, Cotton earned the title of the active player with the most games played without making the majors, The Denver Post wrote.

"I take it like it's good because I stuck around for so long," Cotton told The Post. "But then it could be bad, too. People will say, 'Well, why haven't you gotten up yet?'"

Cotton returned to Colorado Springs in 2000, then saw AAA over three organizations in 2001. He spent his final two seasons, 2002 and 2003, in independent ball, at Quebec and Sioux City.

John Cotton 1990 Watertown Indians card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,210
Made the Majors:1,380-32.8%
Never Made Majors:2,830-67.2%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:561
10+ Seasons in the Minors:345-X

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