A former Major League Baseball star renowned for his speed in the outfield and around the bases has passed away.
Alex Cole, who made his MLB debut in 1990 with the Cleveland Indians, now known as the Guardians, is reported to have died this week at the age of 58, according to WKBN.
His passing was first revealed by his former team but few details have been shared and no cause of death has been revealed as of yet.
According to the MLB Trade Rumors site, Cole was born in 1965 in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and played college ball in Florida before being a late-round draft pick in 1984 by the Pittsburgh Pirates, though he declined to sign with that team.
Cole was then drafted in the second round in 1985 by the St. Louis Cardinals and toiled away in the minor leagues for several years, being twice-traded to the San Diego Padres and then Cleveland before finally ascending to the big league in 1990.
The outfielder was never known to be much of a power hitter but nonetheless had a knack for getting on base and then stealing additional bases to get himself into scoring position.
The Guardians shared the news of Cole's death as well as that of former relief pitcher Dick Tomanek in a social media post on Friday.
We are saddened to hear about the passing of two Cleveland alumni, OF Alex Cole and LHP Dick Tomanek.
Cole spent just over two seasons with Cleveland, amassing 76 stolen bases while batting .284.
Tomanek, a Cleveland area native, appeared in 54 games, mostly in relief. pic.twitter.com/zOaqiycvk9
— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) August 19, 2023
Cole only played in Cleveland for a little more than two seasons before he was traded in 1992 to Pittsburgh where, according to WPXI, he helped lead that Pirates squad to its third straight -- and final -- National League East divisional title in just 64 games with the team that year.
The MLB TR site noted that the outfielder was then picked up by the nascent Colorado Rockies in the 1993 expansion draft and played one year for that inaugural club before reaching free-agent eligibility.
After that free agency threshold was reached, Cole signed with the Minnesota Twins in 1994 and then eventually ended his seven-year career with the Boston Red Sox in 1996.
Throughout his seven-year career, Cole had a respectable .280 batting average and .360 on-base percentage that were the result of 493 hits and 217 walks in 2,012 plate appearances throughout 573 games.
He also had a total of 148 stolen bases plus 286 runs scored and 117 runs batted in during that career, as well as 58 doubles, 26 triples, and five home runs with a .351 slugging percentage and 296 strikeouts.
Cole's best and most productive seasons were arguably his first couple in Cleveland, and he finished in ninth place in the voting for the American League Rookie of the Year award in 1990 when, in just 63 games, he batted .300/.379/.357 with 68 hits, 43 runs, 13 RBIs, 28 walks, and 40 stolen bases.