Morton Cecil Cooper (March 2, 1913 – November 17, 1958) was an American baseball pitcher who played eleven seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). He played from 1938 to 1949 for the St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Braves, New York Giants, and Chicago Cubs. He batted and threw right-handed and was listed at 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) and 210 pounds (95 kg). He was the National League Most Valuable Player in 1942.
|Born: March 2, 1913|
|Died: November 17, 1958 (aged 45)|
Little Rock, Arkansas
|September 14, 1938, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 7, 1949, for the Chicago Cubs|
|Earned run average||2.97|
|Career highlights and awards|
Born in Atherton, Missouri, Cooper signed for the St. Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent in 1933 and played for seven of their minor league affiliates until 1938, when the Cardinals promoted him to the major leagues.
Cooper debuted with the Cardinals in 1938 and had a 12–6 record as a 1939 rookie. He was 24–21 over the next two seasons before hitting his stride, helping the team to World Series titles in both 1942 and 1944. He was the 1942 National League Most Valuable Player.
At the start of the 1945 season, both Mort and his brother Walker staged contract holdouts, demanding that the Cardinals raise their salaries to $15,000 each. Subsequently, Mort was traded that May to the Boston Braves after only three starts; bothered by longtime elbow problems, he ended the year only 9–4. After a 13–11 season in 1946, he began 1947 at 2–5 and was traded to the New York Giants in June. He was 1–5 for the Giants over the rest of the season, and was released in July 1948 after not pitching all year due to arm trouble.
Cooper ended his career with a single 1949 relief appearance for the Chicago Cubs in which he failed to record an out. He retired with a record of 128–75, a 2.97 ERA, 913 strikeouts, and 33 shutouts in 18402⁄3 innings. He was selected to the NL All-Star team four times (1942, 1943, 1945, 1946). He was elected to the St Louis Cardinals Hall Of Fame April 25, 2019.
Cooper was married to Bernadine, who filed for divorce in 1945. Together, they had one son, Lonnie.
Cooper lived in Houston for several years in the 1950s. He developed cirrhosis and a staphylococcal infection. He was hospitalized at St. Vincent's Infirmary in Little Rock, Arkansas, for about three weeks before he died.
- "Former Cardinal star Mort Cooper is dead". Milwaukee Journal. UPI. November 18, 1958. p. 15, part 2. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
- "Cooper Brothers Holding Out for $15,000 in 1945". Lawrence Journal-World. Associated Press. April 16, 1945. p. 6. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- "Mort Cooper Released". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. May 10, 1949. p. 14. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
- "Mort Cooper's Wife Will Divorce Pitcher". St. Petersburg Times. November 8, 1945. p. 12. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- "Mort Cooper, former Cardinal hurler, dies". The Nevada Daily Mail. November 14, 1958. Retrieved May 17, 2015.