Cooper, Pat

Primary Position: Pinch hitter
Birthplace: Albemarle

First, Middle Names: Ogre Patterson    

Date of Birth:  Nov. 26, 1917 Date and Place of Death: March 15, 1993, Charlotte
Burial: Sharon Memorial Park, Charlotte

High School: Albemarle High School 

Bats: R             Throws: R        Height and Weight: 6-3, 180
Debut Year: 1946       Final Year: 1947          Years Played: 2
Team and Years: Philadelphia Athletics, 1946-47

Career Summary
G         AB       H         R          RBI      HR       BA.      OBP.    SLG.     WAR
14        16        4          0          3          0          .250     .250     .375     0.0

A faded black-and-white photograph in a book about the baseball teams that textile mills in North Carolina sponsored through much of the 20th century shows a group of men – mostly men, anyway – posing with bats and balls and in dirty uniforms with “Knitters” embroided on their chests. They are the Wiscasset Knitters of 1935. Wiscasset Mills Co. was one of three textile factories in Albemarle at the time.

Pat Cooper is standing in the back row. He was just 18, a senior at the local high school. He had grown up in Stanly County and was part of Elijah and Ella Cooper’s large family.  The Knitters were Cooper’s first stop on an almost 20-year career in organized baseball. Most of that time would be spent in the minor leagues or on industrial teams in North Carolina’s Piedmont.

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Burgess, Smoky

Primary Position: Catcher
Birthplace: Caroleen

First, Last Names: Forrest Harrill       Nicknames: Smoky

Date of Birth:  Feb. 6, 1927    Date and Place of Death: Sept. 15, 1991, Asheville, NC
Burial: Sunset Memorial Park, Forest City, NC

High School: Henrietta-Caroleen High School

Bats: L             Throws: R        Height and Weight: 5-8, 187
Debut Year: 1949       Final Year: 1967          Years Played: 18
Team(s) and Years: Chicago Cubs, 1949, 1951; Philadelphia Phillies, 1952-55; Cincinnati Redlegs, 1955-58; Pittsburgh Pirates, 1959-1964; Chicago White Sox, 1964-67

Career Summary
G            AB       H          R          RBI      HR       BA.      OBP.    SLG.     WAR
1691    4471   1318   485   673      126     .295     .362     .446     +33.4

Awards/Honors: All-Star, 1954-55, 1959-61, 1964; N.C. Sports Hall of Fame, 1978; Boys of Summer Top 100

A six-time All Star, Smoky Burgess is among North Carolina’s baseball royalty, ranking 14th on the list of the state’s Top 100 players. He played 18 years in the major leagues – only five North Carolinians have played longer – and is second to Rick Ferrell as the top catcher produced by the state. He was also considered one of the best hitters of his generation.

“Smoky could fall out of bed on New Year’s Day and get a hit off Sandy Koufax,” said Joe Nuxhall, a teammate on the Cincinnati Redlegs.[I]

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Aderholt, Morrie

Position: Pinch hitter, Leftfield
Birthplace: Mount Olive

First, Last Names: Morris Woodrow
Date of Birth:  Sept. 13, 1915            Date and Place of Death: March 18, 1955, Sarasota, Fla.  
Burial: Appomattox Cemetery, Hopewell, Va.

High School: Undetermined  
College:  Wake Forest College, Wake Forest, NC

Bats: L             Throws: R        Height and Weight: 6-1, 188
Debut Year: 1939       Final Year: 1945          Years Played: 5
Teams and Years: Washington Senators, 1939-41; Brooklyn Dodgers, 1944-45; Boston Braves, 1945

Career Summary
G         AB       H         R          RBI      HR       BA.      OBP.    SLG.     WAR
106    262    70      36         32       3          .267    .317      .351      -0.2

Morrie Aderholt could hit a ball pretty good. Catching one, though, was another matter.

“He’s the world’s worst third baseman,” Brooklyn Dodgers’ President Branch Rickey bluntly told the press shortly after he brought Aderholt up from the minors in September 1944.[I]

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