For old-time baseball fans or those interested in its storied history, the name “Coogan” evokes thoughts of mythical battles waged by Giants of the game.

After all …

Coogan’s Bluff, situated on the western shore of the Harlem River gives way to an escarpment extending about 200 feet to Coogan’s Hollow, once home to the Polo Grounds.

On that hallowed swatch of earth, the New York Giants battled National League foes for most of their existence from 1883 until they moved to San Francisco in 1958. Later, the deliciously awful New York Mets dug in for a two-year residency before moving to shiny new Shea Stadium in 1964.

But “Coogan” was not reserved for the Bluff and the Hollow in the annals of the game.

Way back in 1895, Dan Coogan played in 26 games for the Washington Senators.

And then, in 1950, Dale Coogan made his Major League Debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates, suiting up 53 times for the Bucs between April and July. Most of that work came at first base, with about a score of pinch-hitting appearances sprinkled in.

The results were mixed, as Coogan hit a meager .240 but did draw 17 walks in 148 plate appearances to boost his on-base percentage to .338.

You know what’s really remarkable about Coogan’s cup of coffee (more like a mug)?

It’s that he was just 19 years old the whole time, and he already had two years of minor league seasoning under his belt. And … he had made enough noise with Triple-A Indianapolis to convince Bowman he had a home in the Majors, and they included him in their 1950 set (#244):

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And, even though Coogan spent the rest of 1950 and all of 1951 in the minors, Topps bought into him as a rising star, too, and reserved card #87 in their landmark 1952 set for young Dale:

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Alas and alack, Dale Coogan was a man of many talents, one who filled his off-seasons with schoolwork, efforts that eventually led him to a bachelor’s degree … a master’s degree … and a Ph. D.

So, when Coogan missed all of the 1952 and 1953 seasons — even with his Topps card burning up the hobby that first summer — it really wasn’t that big of a deal.

Same when he spent 1954, 1955, and 1958 in the minors, after also sitting out 1956 and 1957.

Dude had other options in life, and other plans.

Eventually, those plans led him to become an educator in southern California, where he served as a teacher and administrator for decades before cancer claimed him at age 58 in 1989.

In the end, Dale Coogan’s baseball story was one cut short by his own performance, yes, but mostly by his own talents and interest outside the game.

All in all, a fitting champion of the baseball-Coogan connection, don’t you think?