Coco Crisp, yes, that, Coco Crisp – the one and only – has officially accepted a job as a high school baseball coach at Shadow Hills High School in Indio, California.
One would think Coco Crisp should have and could have aimed a little higher, right?
There are minor league coaching positions, scouting options, working in a front office somewhere – ya, know, maybe even in Oakland, where we adore him so much!
But now Shadow Hills High School is likely to be by far the coolest and luckiest high school in the world! I wonder how many high schools have a former professional baseball player as their coach?
Let alone one who has a World Series ring, knowing Crisp though he won’t be it showing off!
*SIDE NOTE: But seriously, if you know of any other high schools with former MLB players as coaches please leave a comment! I’m sure they exist but I doubt they’re anything like Coco Crisp! (If I have a chance – I’ll look into it myself but that chance is pretty slim – so some of you out there who may be “in the know” – please, let me know!)*
And I am pretty sure they don’t quite understand just how lucky they are as they haven’t even put his name on their website yet!
Which, IMHO, they should have done when his hiring was officially announced late Monday night by KESQ, the local CBS affiliate in the Southern California Indio area.
The kids on the Shadow Hills Baseball Team probably don’t even understand how truly lucky they are – that some twist of fate brought them Coco Crisp.
They probably won’t even find out until this spring just how fortunate they actually have become.
While Coco isn’t a future Hall of Famer, he was a very successful Major League Baseball player with who won a World Series during his tenure with the Boston Red Sox, almost winning two during his second stint with the Cleveland Indians in 2016.
Although they ultimately lost to the Chicago Cubs, it was by far one of the greatest Game 7’s that has taken place in my lifetime!
He played in 11 playoff series over his 15-year career. He played in five with the Red Sox and two ALDS matchups and one Wild Card playoff during his seven-year stint with the Oakland A’s, leading the team though each of those seasons.
After being traded by Oakland to the Cleveland Indians last season he played in two more playoff series and as noted, the 2016 World Series.
He helped lead Oakland to the playoffs in 2012, 2013 and 2014, with 2012 being the miraculous year when the Athletics won the American League Western Division Title, playing at home – against the Texas Rangers – with the two teams being tied for first going into the season’s final day.
Crisp spent the majority of his career in Oakland where he was absolutely the fan favorite. Yes, people liked Yoenis Cespedes and everyone adored Josh Reddick, but Coco Crisp was the longest tenured member of the Athletics and the team leader both on the field and in the clubhouse.
In the aforementioned 2012 season, the Athletics were actually predicted by experts to lose 100 games. They ended up having a stellar second half, winning a total of 97 games and winning the division in game 162, defeating the Rangers by the score of 12-5. Crisp, who always led off for the Athletics, led off that day and went 1-4 with a walk and two RBI.
That was the year he invented the “Bernie Lean” a dance inspired by the movie “Weekend at Bernie’s.” It further inspired songs by local Oakland musicians (such as ATM & IMD), as well as captured the attention of an entire fan base.
Coco may no longer be a member of the A’s but you will STILL find fans at the Oakland Coliseum who do the “Bernie Lean” to this day – five years later.
In 2013, Crisp actually finished in the top 20 in the MVP voting, which is an incredible feat for any player, unless your name is Mike Trout. If you’re Mike Trout it is a pretty routine experience to be in the top three, however with Crisp finishing 15th and the A’s once again winning the AL West, it was a good year for Crisp.
He also led the league in 2011 in stolen bases with 49 – the only time in his career he led the league in any category.
Overall, he batted .265/.327/.402 with 130 home runs and 639 RBI over 15 seasons.
For all of his accomplishments Crisp was unable to find a job for the 2017 season likely due to the nagging neck injury that can only be fully corrected with what would be career-ending surgery.
So he has apparently decided to move on to new and certainly more interesting ventures.
This particular venture is usually reserved for failed ballplayers or perhaps, older, career minor leaguers but Shadow Hills High School is getting one of the best of the best.
When you put together his on field accomplishments with his amazing personality and excellent leadership skills, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Shadow Hills baseball team rises to greatness in his first season as coach and over the long run end up having many players either drafted out of high school or go on to play NCAA ball.
It’s doubtful anyone saw this coming but if it makes Coco happy, then I know it makes A’s fans everywhere happy for him. Hopefully that fans from Boston and Cleveland feel the same, as they too were lucky enough to have him on their favorite baseball team.
Best of luck Coco!! Sending you love and best wishes from Oaktown!!