Cole, Stu

Position: Second base
Birthplace: Charlotte

First, Middle Names: Stewart Bryan
Date of Birth:  Feb. 7, 1966                           

Current Residence: Charlotte

High School: South Mecklenburg High School, Charlotte
College: University of North Carolina- Charlotte

Bats: R             Throws: R        Height and Weight: 6.1, 175
Debut Year: 1991       Final Year: 1991          Years Played: 1
Team and Year: Kansas City Royals, 1991

Career Summary
G         AB       H         R          RBI      HR       BA.      OBP.    SLG.     WAR
1          7          1          1            0          0          .143       .333     .143       0.1

Stu Cole’s baseball career probably didn’t turn out as he had hoped when the Kansas City Royals drafted him out of University of North Carolina-Charlotte in 1987. He didn’t become a big-league star. There were no dives at second base to save a World Series game, no dramatic homers in the ninth to win one, no film clips on ESPN. In fact, his major-league playing days were over almost as soon as they began: one month, one game started, one hit.

Yet, here he is all those years later, a respected elder in the game and a mentor to hundreds of young players. Cole celebrated 25 years with the Colorado Rockies’ organization in 2020. Most of that time was spent as a minor-league manager, but Cole has been a fixture in the third-base coaching box at Coors’ Field for eight years.

“Just to see the guys come up through the organization, to watch them improve and make it to the big leagues has been very rewarding,” Cole said in a Denver Post podcast in 2019. “It’s been a joy to see guys get better and know you were a part of it.”[I]

Cole had played baseball since his childhood in Charlotte. As a 12-year-old, he starred on an all-black little league team that won a state championship. He lettered in baseball and football at South Mecklenburg High School and played baseball at UNC-Charlotte.

It took him four years to work his way up the Royals’ farm system, making his big-league debut on Sept. 5, 1991. He got seven at bats over the next month. One resulted in a single, his only hit in the major leagues. “You always dream about playing in the big leagues and to go and make that dream come true and to participate and get a big-league hit,” Cole said in that podcast. “That’s something that can never be taken away from you. It was something special and I will always treasure that moment.”[II]

Cole was back in the minors in 1992. He was playing for Colorado Springs, Colorado, the Rockies’ Triple A club, three years later when his knees began aching. He had had two previous knee surgeries and didn’t want another. He retired at age 29.

He became a Rockies’ minor-league manager in 2001, managing in more than 1,600 games at every level of the team’s farm system for the next 12 years. He was named the Manager of the Year Award in 2003 in the California League. Cole joined the big-league club as its third-base coach in 2012.

Cole still lives in Charlotte with his wife, Maria. They have two children.

Footnotes
[I] Newman, Kyle. Episode 91, Stu Cole. On the Rox podcast. Denver (CO.) Post. May  2, 2019. https://soundcloud.com/rockiespodcast/ep-91-rockies-third-base-coach-stu-cole.

[II] Ibid.