Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Meet Alan Cockrell

If you’re looking for the latest and greatest in New York Yankees trivia rest assured that this question will be asked eventually. Who was the first assistant hitting coach to be hired by the New York Yankees? The answer is Alan Cockrell as he was hired for the 2015 season to back up Jeff Pentland. Let’s meet the man and see just what he has to bring to the table in the Bronx.

Cockrell is a former major league outfielder that dabbled in both football and baseball as a player before jumping into coaching. Cockrell attended the University of Tennessee where he was an All-American outfielder for the baseball team and the starting quarterback for the football team. Cockrell suffered a significant knee injury as a QB and was never the same for the Volunteers football team and ultimately left the school before his senior season to enter the MLB First Year Player’s Draft.

The San Francisco Giants made Cockrell the ninth pick overall in the 1984 draft but unfortunately Cockrell never met the high expectations that seemingly followed him around. Cockrell spent nine seasons in the minor leagues with five different organizations, the longest coming when he spent five seasons with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, before making his major league debut with the Colorado Rockies on September 7, 1996. Billy Wagner struck him out in his first at bat but three days later Cockrell would extract his revenge when he roped a pinch hit double off Tom Glavine for his first major league hit. Nine games later Cockrell’s major league career was over for good.

Cockrell spent the next few seasons in various positions in the Rockies organization before being named the hitting coach for the Rockies before the 2007 season. During that 2007 season the Rockies slugged their way to a national League Championship and a World Series appearance against the Boston Red Sox. That season Colorado led the NL in batting average, OBP and total hits. The Rockies could not follow up that success in 2008 which resulted in Cockrell’s firing. Cockrell latched on with the Seattle Mariners for the 2009 season as their hitting coach but lasted just a year and a half before being fired once again. Now Cockrell is the assistant hitting coach to the Yankees and we welcome him to the family with open arms. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)