Saturday, February 15, 2014

Coco Laboy (#238)

Jose "Coco" Laboy is our 3rd baseman on the “Hangin’ at the Bat Rack” team. (He's also the perfect transition to my next several posts on the Topps All-Rookie Team.)

Laboy was signed by the Giants in 1959, and played 4 seasons in their farm system, mostly as a shortstop. After the Giants released him prior to the 1963 season, he was signed by the Cardinals and played another 6 seasons in the minors at 3B/2B, including 1965-68 in triple-A.

Laboy was selected by the Expos in the expansion draft, and was the Expos’ starting 3rd baseman during his (and the Expos’) first 2 seasons. Coco hit 18 home runs as a 29-year-old rookie, and finished tied for 2nd in the NL Rookie of the Year award.

After 2 seasons as the starting 3rd baseman, Laboy injured his knee while playing winter ball, and for 1971 he switched places with Bob Bailey (his backup in 1970). That arrangement continued through the 1972 season.

After 9 starts at 3rd base in late-April 1973, Laboy was relegated to the bench, playing his last major-league game on May 16th. He spent the remainder of the 1973 season in the minors.

After his baseball career, Laboy returned to Puerto Rico and worked for the government for 27 years, eventually becoming the director of athletics for Puerto Rico.


Douglas said...

I am 10 cards away from Jose (Coco) bio on the 1972 blog

Jim from Downingtown said...

When you get to Vada Pinson, are you going to keep going to card #1?

Douglas said...

I will probably stop at Vada, but I may do a little wrap up on cards 1-135. I got a lot of cards to go; 602. The bulk of my work was done a couple years ago so I'm still working off of that. I always wonder who started this and why it stopped.