In the early 1960s, four brothers from Brenham, Texas often gathered on a dusty field with their baseball gloves, a bat and a ball. One was a catcher, one a pitcher and another an infielder. The youngest of the brothers (also the youngest of thirteen children) would stand at the plate and hone his batting skills while his older brothers gave him advice and challenged him. Their days in the dust paid off as little brother dominated on his high school baseball field and was the sixth round pick of the Boston Red Sox in 1968.

Cecil Cooper was on his way.

"I was surprised by the news," remembers Cooper. "I didn't expect to be drafted, let alone in the sixth round. Sure, I wanted to play ball, but I was from a small town and I didn't get much attention from scouts."

Regardless, Cooper commenced his journey, and entered a new realm of physical and emotional commitment.

"There's no question…you have to be committed on a whole new level," says Cooper. "Without that desire and the drive, it's difficult to succeed in this sport…or in life."

"Without that desire and the drive, it's difficult to succeed in this sport…or in life."


As Cooper climbed the minor league ladder, he turned in impressive numbers and waited for his opportunity. In September of 1971, it came. After playing in an afternoon AA game in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Cooper drove to New York to join the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. He arrived during the fifth inning of the first game of a double-header. After finding a uniform with his name on it, Cooper entered the dugout and quietly took a seat at the end of the bench. He watched intently in silence, not yet knowing his teammates. Then, in the seventh inning, he was brought in as a pinch-hitter. The pitcher, Lindy McDaniel, threw two pitches in the dirt before Cooper hit a soft grounder back to the mound and was thrown out at first. He returned to the bench in silence.

Few knew it that day, but a tremendous major league career was humbly launched with that ground out.

Cooper spent the next 17 years carving out a slot in baseball history. The adept first basemen earned two Gold Gloves and was named to five All-star teams. His .352 batting average in 1980 was second to George Brett’s .390. Crowds at County Stadium melodically chanted an almost deafening "COOOOOP" each time he would step to the plate.

Cecil Cooper became a household name and one of the most recognizable players to ever wear a Milwaukee Brewers' uniform.

Crowds at County Stadium melodically chanted an almost deafening "COOOOOP" each time he would step to the plate.


Some might credit his success to a unique commitment to the sport, but Cooper's commitments were far greater than any displayed on the field.

"I made a decision a long time ago to dedicate myself to the Lord on every level," he says. "Having Him on my side, as my Savior, gave me the confidence to play without worrying about the outcome. I always knew He would provide for me and take care of me regardless of the situation. Knowing this enabled me to play at my highest level, without pressure."

Growing up, Cooper frequently attended church but without the commitment and passion that he would later experience.

"I was going through the motions, but I didn't have a personal relationship with God back then," he recalls. "It was only after I met my wife and her parents, and saw how they lived their lives, that I began to understand what it means to be a true Christian."

When Cooper's walk with his wife, Octavia, began thirty years ago, so too did his walk with the Lord. Since then, he has continued to flourish as a Christian, though he admits there are challenges in doing so.

"Focus, consistency and dedication are key to success. Effort knows no score."


"Sin is prevalent in our lives whether we like it or not," he says. "It's just part of life, but you can resist if you have the Lord on your side and commitment to Him on every level."

In 2003, Cooper made his managerial debut with the Indianapolis Indians, the AAA affiliate of the Brewers. In this role, he's been given the opportunity to pass on what he's learned to players hoping to follow in his footsteps. This experience is reminiscent of the time he spent with his older brothers, who helped mold him into the player they knew he could be.

"I try to teach players about the intangibles of the game," he says. "Focus, consistency and dedication are key to success. Effort knows no score."

Thanks to the effort he's put into his spiritual growth, Cooper is proud to say that he is rarely lukewarm. Now his spiritual life is filled with the passion and dedication that carried him to success on the baseball field.

"I've had a lot of success in baseball, but ultimately what is most important is that I've found salvation in the Gospel," he says. "Jesus committed His life to me…now it's my turn to commit to Him."