Joseph Koppe (October 19, 1930 – September 27, 2006), born Joseph Kopchia in Detroit, Michigan, was an American Major League Baseball player for the Milwaukee Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, and Los Angeles Angels.
Koppe made his major league debut on August 9, 1958, for the Braves. He appeared in 16 games for Milwaukee in the later part of the season, but did not make an appearance when the Braves won the National League pennant and went to the World Series. Just prior to the 1959 season, Joe was traded to the Phillies as part of a six-player deal.
Koppe came into his own in Philadelphia. He played in 126 games (113 at shortstop) in his true rookie season. He put up a respectable offensive season, hitting .261 with 18 doubles, 7 home runs, and 7 triples and scoring 68 runs. His 7 triples placed 8th in the National League.
He injured his wrist in 1960 and missed all but 58 games. He played just 9 more games with the Phillies in 1961 and was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in May, 1961. Koppe saw no playing time for the Cardinals and did not see any major league action for a full month. Joe was purchased by the Angels on June 19, 1961.
As an Angel, Joe made a serious effort to return to the performance level of his rookie season. Unfortunately, he never saw more than 375 at-bats in any season for the Angels and finished his career with the team a .236 hitter. Koppe was primarily a middle infielder, however, and was always able to contribute defensively.
Joe Koppe died on September 27, 2006, in Detroit, Michigan, after a seven-year bout with cancer.
By Dean Hanley
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