Appreciating Chris Coste

He is not a Hall of Famer. He is not an All Star. He isn’t the most popular player. Still, it was impossible to root against Chris Coste.

Coste fought his way through the minor leagues, spending 12 years without having a cup of coffee. In 2005, the Phillies signed Coste to a minor league deal. Coste spent the entire season at Triple-A Scranton Wilks-Barre.

In 2006, Coste was invited to spring training as a non-roster invitee for the second straight year. He was impressive, hitting .463 with 3 home runs. It appeared that Coste won a spot on the Phillies roster, but it wasn’t meant to be. He started the year in Triple-A.

At 33 years, 111 days, Coste made his Major League debut on May 26, 2006. Coste went 0-for-his-first-13. Well, it was a good story. At least he finally made it to the Majors. But all anybody wanted to see was for him to get one hit before being sent down. On June 16, 2006, Coste singled up the middle against Devil Ray’s pitcher James Shields for his first Major League hit.

On July 19, he slugged his first Major League home run. It was a long one, reaching the porches at Petco Park. In 2006, he batted .328 with 7 HR and 32 RBI.

In 2007, Coste found himself in the minor leagues again after the Phillies signed Rod Barajas. However, Coste was back in the Majors after several Phillies suffered injuries. He was a contributor to the Phillies 2007 National League East title, batting .279 with 5 HR. Brett Myers will always have the sign to Chris Coste to clinch the division.

In 2008, Coste survived the whole year without being sent down to the minor leagues. He even started Game 1 of the World Series as the designated hitter. Coste had only one hit during the entire postseason, but five years ago nobody imaged Coste being on a postseason roster.

Coste wasn’t the best defensive catcher, but it was always exciting to watch him throw runners out from his knees. He didn’t have the prettiest swing, but he managed to bat .288 with 21 home runs in the big leagues.

“I know people appreciated my story,” Coste said. “You could write a book about it. But I hope that when my career is over, they’ll say he was a good story, but he was a pretty good player, as well. If you look at the back of my baseball card, I’m not a Hall of Famer, I’m not an All-Star, but I had some decent production. I just want to maintain that and stay in the big leagues as long as possible because I was in the minor leagues for 12 or 13 years. I definitely don’t want to go back. I want to make this dream last as long as possible.”

A personal favorite Coste moment came in August of 2008 when the Phillies were trailing the New York Mets 7-0. Chris Coste did not start, however, he went 4-for-4 coming off the bench. In the 13th inning, he hit a walk-off single in the Phillies 8-7 come from behind win.

Whether moving him was appropriate or not is another story. He fit in Philadelphia during the time he was here.  Whether you read his books or not, it was impossible to root against Chris Coste.  The Coste Guards will miss him, and best of luck to him with the Houston Astros.

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