An absolute tragedy 

July, 23, 2007
07/23/07
4:09
PM ET
Just two summers ago, Mike Coolbaugh hit 27 homers and drove in 101 runs with Houston's Triple-A team in Round Rock, Texas. His career petered out last season, though, with 57 games and a .223 batting average in Omaha (here is Coolbaugh's complete professional career).

Coolbaugh was hired by the Rockies just a few weeks ago as interim hitting coach; if not for predecessor Orlando Merced's "personal reasons," Coolbaugh probably wouldn't have been within a hundred miles of Tino Sanchez's foul liner last night. He wouldn't be dead, today.

Coolbaugh was a baseball lifer. He got only 15 hits as a major leaguer (which, by the way, is 15 more than most of us will ever get), but he also racked up 1,575 hits as a minor leaguer (which, by the way, is 1,575 more than most of us will ever get). His brother Scott, once considered a top prospect in the Rangers' organization, did better in the majors but didn't last as long in the minors, retiring as a player at 33. Between the two of them, and including Scott's seasons in Japan and Korea, the Coolbaughs must have wound up with something close to 3,000 hits in professional baseball.


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