Scott Kendrick Cooper (born October 13, 1967 in St. Louis, Missouri) is a former Major League Baseball third baseman who played for the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, and Kansas City Royals from 1990 to 1995 and 1997.
Boston Red Sox
Cooper made his big league debut with the Boston Red Sox on September 5, 1990 as the Red Sox hosted the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park. Appearing for Carlos Quintana as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning of a 10-0 A's win, Cooper struck out looking in his first MLB at bat and his only big league at bat that season.
Appearing in 14 games with Boston in 1991, Cooper hit .457 (16-for-35) with seven RBI. His first big league hit came September 12, 1991 as a pinch hitter for Jody Reed, singling off New York Yankees pitcher Rich Monteleone in the eighth inning at Yankee Stadium. He picked up the first of his 33 career home runs on September 4, 1992 - a solo shot off A's star Dave Stewart in Oakland.
Blocked at third base by Wade Boggs, Cooper struggled to find time on the active roster and in ballgames but spent a solid chunk of the 1992 season play first base. In 123 games that season, Cooper hit .276 with five home runs and 33 RBI over 337 at bats. When Boggs signed with the Yankees as a free agent in the offseason, Cooper became the starting third baseman and was selected to two consecutive All Star teams over his first two seasons with the job.
On April 12, 1994, Cooper hit for the cycle in a 22-11 drubbing over the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Batting seventh and playing third base, Cooper hit a two-run double off Kevin Appier in the first inning, homered in the third inning, tripled off Hipolito Pichardo only to be nailed at the plate trying to stretch it into an inside the park home run, reached on an error in sixth inning, hit another two-run double in the seventh inning off Jeff Montgomery and singled in the ninth inning off infielder-turned-pitcher David Howard. Cooper was the 18th player in Red Sox history to hit for the cycle and was the first to do so since Mike Greenwell in 1988.
In 1993 and 1994, Cooper was the lone Red Sox player named to the All Star team. Cooper's Red Sox career - the most productive seasons of his career - ended when he and reliever Cory Bailey were traded to the St. Louis Cardinals on April 9, 1995 for pitcher Rheal Cormier and outfielder Mark Whiten.
St. Louis Cardinals
Cooper's Cardinals career got off to a good start when he made his debut with St. Louis on April 26, 1995 in a 7-6 Cards win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Busch Stadium. Hitting in the cleanup spot, Cooper went 3-for-5 in his Cardinals debut and hit a two-run walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to secure the St. Louis victory. He finished the day with one run scored and four RBI. He continued to hit well early in the season, sitting pretty with a .302 average on May 25 only to finish the year with a .230 average, three homers, 40 RBI and 29 runs over 118 games. While he struggled in 1995, Cooper was paid a career-high $1,525,000 for the season.
Unable to find a big league job in Major League Baseball in 1996, Cooper signed on with the Seibu Lions of the Pacific League in Japan. Appearing in 81 games with the Lions, Cooper hit .243 with seven home runs, 27 RBI and 27 runs scored. It was with the Lions that he was given the nickname "Super Duper Cooper Scooper" in recognition of his tremendous defense.
Kansas City Royals
On December 16, 1996, Cooper signed with the Kansas City Royals, earning $375,000 for the season. In 1996, the Royals had finished last in American League Central division at 75-86, 24 games behind the Cleveland Indians. Cooper was signed just three days after the Royals traded incumbent third baseman Joe Randa and three other players to the Pittsburgh Pirates for infielders Jay Bell and Jeff King.
Cooper hit just .201 with three home runs, 15 RBI and 12 runs over 159 at bats in 75 games for the Royals. By the end of the season, Cooper was primarily a defensive replacement and pinch hitter. In the last two games of his career, he appeared as a defensive replacement at third base without getting an at bat. His final big league at bat came September 26, 1997 at Comiskey Park, striking out as a pinch hitter against Chicago White Sox lefty Jim Abbott.
A free agent at season's end, Cooper inked a deal with the Texas Rangers but never appeared in a big league game with the club.
Cooper was named to the 1993 and 1994 American League All Star teams. In 1993, Cooper replaced former teammate Wade Boggs at third base in the sixth inning of the All Star Game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore. Cooper went 0-for-2, hitting a flyout to left field off Steve Avery in the sixth inning and striking out against Rod Beck in the seventh inning.
In 1994, Cooper again came into the game as a replacement for Boggs in the sixth inning of the Midsummer Classic, which was played at Three Rivers Stadium that year. Cooper went 1-for-2 with a run scored and a RBI in the exhibition game. In the seventh inning, Cooper hit a RBI double off Danny Jackson in the seventh inning and grounded out to second base off reliever Randy Myers in the ninth inning.
Cooper went 1-for-4 with a double, a run scored and a RBI in his two All-Star Game appearances.