Gilbert Fitzgerald Coan (born May 18, 1922 in Monroe, North Carolina) is a former outfielder in Major League Baseball, playing mainly as a left fielder for four different teams from 1946 to 1956. Listed at 6' 0", 180 lb., he batted left-handed and threw right-handed.
In 1945, Coan was honored by The Sporting News as the Minor League Player of the Year while playing for the Chattanooga Lookouts of the Southern Association. He entered the majors in 1946 with the Washington Senators, playing eight seasons for them before joining the Baltimore Orioles (1954-1955), Chicago White Sox (1955) and New York Giants (1955-1956]). A line-drive hitter and speedy outfielder, he averaged 12 stolen bases from 1948–52, with a career-high 23 in 1948 (second in American League).
In 1947, Coan made 21 hits in 42 at bats for a .500 batting average to collect the highest average for any player who had 30 or more at-bats in a major league season, setting a record that was surpassed by Rudy Pemberton in 1996 with a .512 BA (21-for-41). His most productive season came in 1951, when he posted career highs in home runs (9), runs batted in (62), runs (85) and games played (135) while hitting .303 (ninth in AL), equaling a personal mark set the year before. He also tied a major league record he shares with four other players by hitting two triples in the same inning on April 21, 1951.
Over eleven seasons, Coan was a .254 hitter (731-for-2877) with 39 home runs and 278 RBI in 918 games, including 384 runs, 98 doubles, 44 triples, 83 stolen bases, and a .316 on-base percentage.
Following his career, Coan entered the insurance business. From 1962, the Brevard Insurance Agency was owned and operated by Coan in Brevard, North Carolina and after his retirement in 1986, his son and grandson continued to run the agency.
Coan graduated from Brevard College in 1942.
By Dean Hanley
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