Brian Keith Cole
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 168 lb.
Outfielder Brian Cole played three seasons before a tragic accident cut his life short.
Out of high school, Cole was picked by the Detroit Tigers in the 36th round of the 1997 amateur draft. He went on to junior college in 1998 and dazzled. He hit .534 with 27 homers and 90 RBI; he was two home runs and 7 RBI shy of leading all Division I junior college players and was also among the leaders in average. He was named the Division I PLayer of the Year and also won the Baseball America Junior College Player of the Year award.
Cole was picked by the New York Mets in the 18th round of the 1998 amateur draft. He kicked off his professional career with the Kingsport Mets (.300/.317/.491) and the Pittsfield Mets (2 for 8, 2B). He was named to the Appalachian League All-Star team as a utility man.
In 1999, Brian batted .316/.362/.522 for the Capital City Bombers with 97 runs, 41 doubles, 18 home runs, 71 RBI and 50 steals (in 66 tries). He led Mets farmhands in runs, total bases (261), doubles and stolen bases. According to the 2000 Baseball Almanac, New York considered him the "most exciting player in the organization." He was 5th in the South Atlantic League in average and was named one of the three All-Star outfielders alongside Al Benjamin and Juan Pierre.
Cole continued to show great promise in 2000. He hit .312/.356/.528 in 91 games for the St. Lucie Mets, with 15 homers, 73 runs and 54 steals in 65 tries. Promoted to the Binghamton Mets, the 20-year-old produced at a .278/.326/.420 rate after some mild adjustment issues. He stole 15 bases in 19 attempts. For the year, he led Mets farmhands in runs (104), hits (166), total bases (272), triples (7, tied with Alex Escobar) and steals (69). He was named the Mets Minor League Player of the Year. He finished 5th in the Florida State League in average. He was named an All-Star outfielder alongside Andres Torres and Kevin Mench. Baseball America named him the most exciting player in the FSL and the #4 prospect, behind Mench, Juan Cruz and Roy Oswalt. They also named him the #3 Mets prospect.
Cole was driving home after spring training in 2001 when his new SUV flipped over 1 3/4 times on the Florida interstate, killing the young man.