Scott Michael Jeffrey Cousins
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 1", Weight 195 lb.
- School University of San Francisco
- High School North Valleys High School
- Debut September 3, 2010
- Final Game May 9, 2013
- Born January 22, 1985 in Reno, NV, USA
"If you go in first feet and slide they punish you. If you hit them, you punish them and you punish yourself, but you have a chance of that ball coming out." - Scott Cousins, on his famous slide, 2011
Scott Cousins played 135 games over four seasons. In 2011, he was briefly public enemy number one for a hard (yet legal) slide into golden boy catcher Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants, ending Posey's season.
Cousins, himself a cousin of NFL player Travis Hall, was twice all-league in high school; he also starred in basketball, setting a school record for three-pointers. His sophomore season of college, Cousins hit .309 with 7 homers and 13 steals for San Francisco. On the mound, he was 8-5 with a 2.74 ERA, finishing second in the WCC in ERA behind teammate Nick Pereira. He was named All-WCC as a utility man. In 2006, the junior batted .343/.418/.500 with 21 steals in 27 tries and 53 runs scored in 61 games. He fell to 4-3, 4.02 on the mound, as Aaron Poreda replaced Pereira as the ace, but his fastball was still timed in the low 90s. Cousins was one steal shy of the WCC lead and again the All-Conference utility man. For his two-way work, he was named WCC Player of the Year, beating out Poreda, Brett Hunter and Daniel Nava among others.
The Florida Marlins took Scott in the third round of the 2006 amateur draft, 95th overall. He signed with scout John Hughes for a $407,500 bonus. Used as an outfielder with the Jamestown Jammers, he hit only .211/.253/.256 that summer. In '07, he showed skills more like those expected for a third rounder, batting .292/.358/.480 with 16 steals, 18 home runs and 74 RBI for the Greensboro Grasshoppers. Cousins began 2008 with the Jupiter Hammerheads but missed two months with a right knee sprain. He hit .304/.370/.513 with 35 runs in 49 games. Promoted to the Carolina Mudcats, he batted .264/.350/.396 in 27 contests. Baseball America rated him the most exciting player in the Florida State League and the 9th best prospect (between Wilson Ramos and Michael Taylor). He hit .297 with 33 RBI in 25 games for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League. Scott produced at a .263/.323/.445 with the 2009 Jacksonville Suns, with 11 triples and 74 RBI. He led Marlins minor leaguers in three-baggers, a record for one of the team's AA affiliates, and paced the Southern League. In the playoffs, he hit .346 with 7 runs scored in 7 games as the Suns won the pennant.
In 2010, Cousins hit .285/.336/.461 with 14 homers and 74 runs for the New Orleans Zephyrs, earning a September call up to The Show. In his major league debut, he pinch hit for Andrew Miller and flew out versus Scott Proctor. In a 27 game look, he batted .297/.316/.459 (11-for-37) with four extra base hits (two triples and two doubles). His next season would live in infamy.
On May 25, 2011, in a game against the San Francisco Giants, Scott occupied third base with one out in the top of the ninth inning. When Emilio Bonifacio flew out to Nate Schierholtz for the second out, Scott raced home, colliding with Buster Posey in a play at the plate, breaking Posey's leg and dislocating his ankle and ending his season. The run propelled the Marlins to a 7-6 win and triggered a non-stop barrage of outrage. The Giants thought that Cousins' slide had been unnecessarily violent, as Posey was not blocking the plate on the play. Giants GM Brian Sabean went overboard, calling for Cousins to be banned from baseball while threatening physical retaliation: "If I never hear from Cousins again or he never plays another game in the big leagues, I think we'll all be happy... (Cousins) chose to be a hero in my mind, and if that's his flash of fame, that's as good as it's going to get, pal. We'll have a long memory. You can't be that out-and-out overly aggressive. I'll put it as politically as I can state it: There's no love lost and there shouldn't be." The injury set off a debate on how to better protect catchers, with a number of voices, such as Bruce Bochy's, raised in favor of punishing players who deliberately run into an opponent. In 2014, a rule was passed to eradicate these collisions.
By then, Scott's big league career was over. Amid all the controversy, he only played 48 games, just 14 after the collision, hitting .135/.224/.212 in only 52 at bats. He went down to the minors on June 12, resurfacing on June 15, 2012 for the now Miami Marlins. Things did not get any better; though he played a career high 53 games, he hit only .163/.200/.267 in 86 at bats. He danced the DFA limbo in the ensuing offseason, playing only seven more games in the bigs for the 2013 Los Angeles Angels, striking out three times in four at bats. He contemplated a comeback as a pitcher, retiring during a 2015 season spent with the Atlantic League's Somerset Patriots. In 2016, he accepted a job as a Scottsdale-based scout with the Oakland A's.