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Sydney Harry Cohen (Pablo Garcia)

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[edit] Syd Cohen as a hitter and as Pablo

Syd Cohen (the brother of Andy Cohen) made his professional baseball debut in 1928 as a position player, hitting .296 in the Three-I League. The next year Cohen played for two teams in the Arizona State League, batting .263 with 6 homers. In 1930 Syd hit .356 for the Bisbee Bees in that circuit, which did not place him among the leaders in a high-offense loop. Cohen went to the Mexico-based Nogales Internationals in 1931 in the Arizona-Texas League. The club had faced local unrest due to their reliance on American players. When Cohen arrived, the manager decided to introduce the swarthy, fluent Spanish-speaker as Pablo Garcia. "Pablo" hit .323. The next year he went to play for his hometown El Paso Texans and hit .302. He also saw brief action with the Oakland Oaks that year.

[edit] Syd Cohen becomes a pitcher and spends parts of three years in the majors

In 1933 Cohen began to pitch regularly at age 26, going 1-3 with a 5.89 ERA for the Portland Beavers and Hollywood Stars. The next season he fared even worse with the Minneapolis Millers, posting a 2-0 record but an 8.76 ERA. He did go 11-10 with a 3.26 ERA for the Chattanooga Lookouts. Amazingly, given his track record in the top minor leagues, he wound up with the Washington Senators late in the year and allowed Babe Ruth his final homer as a New York Yankee. He also became the last pitcher to strike out Ruth during the Bambino's New York career.

Syd returned to the Lookouts in '35 and went 16-16 with a 4.73 ERA. In addition to a 7-8, 2.94 campaign for Chattanooga in 1936, Syd spent a fair portion of the year with the Senators and did okay at age 30. The next season Cohen was one of the top Washington hurlers, going 2-4 with 4 saves and a 3.11 ERA, the best of any pitcher to appear in 10 or more games with the team. Despite a 143 ERA+, Syd had pitched his last season in the majors.

[edit] Back to the minors and a long stay on the west coast

In 1938 Cohen was 0-3 with the Baltimore Orioles and 8-6 with a 4.09 ERA for the New Orleans Pelicans. With the Pelicans in '39 Syd went 11-16 with a 4.52 ERA. Returning to his home state in 1940, he was shelled with Dallas and Fort Worth, going 1-11 with a 4.34 ERA in the Texas League. After a year off, the 36-year-old went to the Portland Beavers again in 1942 and spent five years in the Pacific Coast League, home to so many has-beens. Cohen went 44-45 in those seasons, winning 10 or more the first four years.

[edit] Back home

Syd went to El Paso once again in 1947 and had one of his best seasons ever. At age 41, Cohen went 17-5 with a 3.38 ERA. He was second in the Arizona-Texas League in wins and either first or second in ERA. After a year off, he slipped to 8-17 with a 4.86 ERA for the Texans. Cohen went to Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua in 1950 and managed the Juarez Indios to their first title in the Arizona-Texas League. Cohen did not help on the mound, going 3-6 with a 7.10 ERA. Fans recalled him as Pablo Garcia and greeted him with his old moniker. After that Syd spent three years with the Bisbee-Douglas Copper Kings and went 4-13 from ages 45 to 48. He spent his last two seasons as a player back home with El Paso, not getting any decisions. Cohen continued to manage in the minors, including a 1957 stint back with Ciudad Juarez, now in the Central Mexican League. As both Syd and brother Andy had been active in minor league baseball in their hometown for many years, El Paso named their new ballpark in memory of the two when they opened Cohen Stadium in 1990.

Main sources: Pat Doyle's old-time professional baseball player database, "The Big Book of Jewish Baseball" by Peter Horvitz and Joachim Horvitz

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