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Monday, September 11, 2023

Brian Cofer had speed, tremendous arm; Turned from fielding to pitching in four seasons, made high-A

Brian Cofer got off to a slow start to his pro career, but his old baseball coach Lothian Smallwood believed Cofer would come around, he told The Selma Times-Journal in July 1988.

"He has tremendous speed, very strong and he has a tremendous arm," Smallwood told The Times-Journal. "His weakest point is his hitting, but he can improve on that as time goes on."

Cofer played at that point as an infielder. But the Indians tested out Cofer's arm, turning him into a pitcher. His pitching career lasted three seasons. He made high-A.

Cofer's career began that year in 1988, signed by the Indians as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Montevallo in Alabama.

Cofer started with the Indians in the rookie Gulf Coast League, as an infielder. He hit .259 in 45 games.

Cofer then isn't credited as playing in 1989, but he returned for 1990, as a pitcher. He saw 15 appearances between the GCL and short-season Watertown. He went 1-2 over 15 games, two starts, with a 4.01 ERA.

He moved to single-A Columbus for 1991. He saw 41 relief outings there, with a 7-3 record and a 2.62 ERA. He also had 12 saves. 

He picked up his sixth save that year in a May contest, getting it on a key sacrifice bunt attempt where he threw out the lead runner, The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer wrote.

"It wasn't routine," Cofer told The Ledger-Enquirer of the bunt play. "(But) I was a middle infielder, so I came up throwing."

Cofer started 1992 at high-A Kinston, but moved mid-season to the Brewers and single-A Beloit. He went 1-2, in 12 outings at Beloit, with a 5.09 ERA to end his career.

Brian Cofer 1990 Watertown Indians card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,219
Made the Majors:1,384-32.8%
Never Made Majors:2,835-67.2%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:562
10+ Seasons in the Minors:345

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