Cards All-Time Top 40 – Mort Cooper #27

The Top 40 countdown of the greatest St. Louis Cardinals of all time continues with their ace starting pitcher during the 1940's, Mort Cooper.

Morton Cecil Cooper

The Basics

Position

Throw

Total Yrs

Yrs in StL

W

ERA

SO

SV

Pitcher

Right

1938-1949

1938-1945

105

2.77

758

12

The Awards

Hall of Fame

Retired #

World Champ

All-Star

MVP

Cy Young

Gold Glove

 -

 -

2

3

1942

NA

NA

Note: All stats and awards listed are for years as a Cardinal only.
Cooper's career stats available from baseball-reference.com.

Voter Comments

Rob Rains (29): The elder half of the Cooper brothers, Mort is one of only three pitchers in franchise history to win 20 or more games in three consecutive seasons (joining Dizzy Dean and Bob Gibson) from 1942-1944. His .677 career winning percentage in St. Louis is second all-time to John Tudor, and in his three best seasons he was a combined 65-22. He was the National League's MVP in 1942, when he also led the league with a 1.77 ERA.

Cooper had never won more than 13 games in a season prior to that season, and he wore that number on his uniform. When he reached that level of victories, he began borrowing his teammate's jerseys or wearing an unused number that matched the victory he was trying to achieve, all the way until he got win number 20.

Jerry Modene (32): Cooper spent only six years pitching for the Cards before being sold to Boston by the always-thrifty Sam Breadon; he was the unquestioned ace of the early 1940's Cardinals, winning the MVP award (there was no Cy Young Award at the time) in 1942.

Mort and his brother Walker Cooper (who has missed inclusion on this Top 40 list – at least so far) made one of the top brother batteries in baseball history; at first blush, only Wes and Rick Ferrell might rate higher.

Ray Mileur (23): A three-time 20-game (1942, ‘43, ‘44) winner for the St. Louis Cardinals, Cooper has the second highest winning percentage (.677) in Cardinal history, behind John Tudor (.705) and ahead of legendary Dizzy Dean (.641).

The staff ace of the St. Louis Cardinals as they took three consecutive pennants with 100+ win seasons in the 40s, (1942,43,44). In those three championship seasons, Cooper posted a 65-22 record, a .747 winning percent, with 68 complete games and 23 shutouts.

In 1942 Cooper went 22-7 season with a remarkable 1.78 ERA to beat out teammate and Hall of Famer Enos Slaughter for the National League MVP and led the St. Louis Cardinals to their first pennant in eight years. This team, led by Cooper is perhaps the best team in franchise history.

In my opinion, Mort Cooper and those championship teams of the St. Louis Cardinals' in the 40's managed by Billy Southworth have never gotten the recognition and respect they deserve.

Brian Walton (20): I don't care if Mort Cooper's success was achieved during the war years or not. The fact is that when Cooper took the mound, he won, and so did the Cardinals. Three straight National League pennants (from 1942 through 1944), with two World Championships in three years had never occurred before or since for the glorious St. Louis Cardinals franchise.

Those three championship clubs averaged over 105 wins each in a time the regular season schedule was just 154 games – that is how good they were. And Cooper, their ace, personally collected 65 of those victories and posted a 3.00 ERA in six World Series starts.

Cooper's 1942 was one of the most dominant in club history. His 1.78 ERA that year is the fourth-best season ever by a Cardinal and his ten shutouts held the club record in the modern era until topped by Bob Gibson. (Cooper added 13 more shutouts in total over the next two seasons, too.) That season, Cooper joined Dizzy Dean (Gibson also earned one later) as the only Cardinals pitchers to receive a National League Most Valuable Player award.

Voter Comments Key: Voter (Individual Ranking); NR = Not Rated

Master List: To see our entire list of the greatest 40 Cardinals players of all-time as they are unveiled daily, click here.

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