J.J. Cooper

Needles In The Haystack

J.J. Cooper -

Feel like playing the odds? You can go put a dollar down on a Powerball ticket, or you can try to make the jump from independent baseball to the major leagues. There may be nothing more inspiring than Chris Coste's story. Undrafted out of college as a third baseman, he went to the Northern League, where Fargo-Moorhead manager Doug Simunic helped make him a catcher. After five years in independent ball, he made it to affiliated ball. After six more years in the minor leagues, he got the call to Philadelphia, where he's now in his third year as a catcher for the Phillies. He carries a career average of .314 in 363 major league at-bats, so it's clear that he's a case of a true talent who had been overlooked. It's a great story, but it's also about as rare as a big league knuckleballer.

Minors | #2008#Independent Audit

The 33-Year-Old Rookie

J.J. Cooper -

We're all suckers for an underdog story. We root for Rocky and Rudy and the Tampa Bay Rays, which is why it's hard not to enjoy The 33-Year-Old Rookie, the story of Phillies catcher Chris Coste. Coste is the ultimate underdog, an undrafted college infielder who spent five years in the independent leagues hoping to get noticed. Along the way he learned how to catch and develop an interesting hitting style that looked ugly but got results.

Majors | #2008#Book Guide

The Sultan Of Stats Returns

J.J. Cooper -

Bill James, the father of modern statistical analysis, is back this year with the Bill James Gold Mine, a book that pairs 17 James' essays with statistical snippets and notes on all 30 major league teams. In addition, James has founded Bill James Online, a subscription site that will continually be updated with additional essays and profiles.

Majors | #2008#Book Guide

A Mighty Wind, Part II

J.J. Cooper -

We’ve known for quite a while that Lancaster, home to the JetHawks, is best known for its jet stream. It’s the ballpark where shutouts turn into 11-10 games and a […]

Minors | #Daily Dish