So Far, Cooper Is Enjoying His New Duties

By Rick Braun
Updated: September 4, 2007

MILWAUKEE — Cecil Cooper wasn’t much of a talker when he was a player with the Milwaukee Brewers from 1977-’87. Chatting with reporters was far down on his list of things he liked to do.

But Cooper seemed to be enjoying himself Monday morning before his Houston Astros took on the team for which he played 11 seasons, including that magical 1982 when he delivered the biggest hit in Brewers history to lift them into the World Series.

Cooper was named interim manager of the Astros last Monday when manager Phil Garner and general manager Tim Purpura were fired.

“This is fun,” Cooper said a couple hours before his Astros handed the Brewers a painful 9-7 defeat. “I kind of had some reservations, but it’s fun. I’m kind of enjoying it.”

As is customary throughout the major leagues, a manager meets with reporters for a few minutes before every game, and Cooper was a much-more willing participant in the interview process.

He was relaxed and jovial. As a player, he hardly ever cared to do interviews and often turned down requests.

“It’s different when you’re a player,” Cooper said. “We got along (he and reporters), but I just didn’t like to talk a lot. I was one of those guys who let what I do over there (on the field) speak for itself and then go home. That’s kind of the way I was.

“Now when you’re the voice, so to speak, of the franchise you have to be accessible. I’m not totally comfortable with it, but it’s part of the job.”

When informed he was doing fine with that part on Monday, he said, “Am I? Great,” and broke into laughter.

He also recognized there might be times where things aren’t so jovial.

“It’s been fun to this point,” he said. “I’m sure there will come times when we disagree or things will be written and said that maybe didn’t come out the right way or whatever. Those are things we’ll cross at that time.”

Because of his duties as the Astros’ bench coach at the time, Cooper was not able to be in Milwaukee on Aug. 14 when the Brewers celebrated the 25-year anniversary of the 1982 team.

“I would have loved to have been here,” Cooper said. “I talked to Jerry Augustine earlier today about it when he came by. But when you have a job at this level, you have to stay true to that, and that’s what I did in that case.

“I’m sure they had a great time. He told me it was a lot of fun. I’ll get a chance to talk to those guys at some point.”

Cooper’s two-run single in the seventh inning turned a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 victory in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, sending the Brewers to the World Series. It still has to rank as the biggest hit in Brewers history.

“It was the biggest hit of my life,” he said, breaking into a huge smile and then laughter. “Yeah, that was a big thrill. It was fun.

“I kind of just think about those days. It was a lot of fun. A fun team and some great guys.”