10/02/2008 9:51 AM -
It was a long shot. Chris Coste, who played at a small NCAA Division III school in Minnesota, likely wasn’t even a blip on major league radar screens. He wasn’t drafted and the first five years of his professional career were spent playing independent ball. Rarely the recipe for a future big leaguer.
For Chris Coste it was. In fact, the five years in indy ball seemed to jump start his career. He began with Brandon, Manitoba of the Prairie League for one season then was signed by the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks of the Northern League. During his four years in Fargo he spent two of them playing for a coaching staff that included eventual Northern League Manager of the Year and current T-Bones and league champion manager Andy McCauley.
After hitting .335 as the RedHawks fulltime catcher in 1999, he got his first shot in affiliated ball playing at AA for the Cleveland Indians. He made it as high as AAA in the Indians system before his release. He played for two other organizations bouncing around between AA and AAA mostly but he even had a brief stint in Rookie League before he landed an opportunity with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2004.
Those Phillies won the National League East and are now playing the Milwaukee Brewers in the Division Series. After spending twelve seasons battling through the minor leagues with a great deal of success Chris Coste finally got the call that he had reached the pinnacle of his career. On May 26, 2006 Coste made his major league debut.
“When I was in the minors,” said Coste, “I'd sometimes dream that I was in the big leagues and hitting off Roger Clemens, and it seemed so real that I'd be telling myself that it's not a dream, but then I'd wake up and be back in my bed at Triple-A. There were many times when I was actually playing in the big leagues when I felt I was going to wake up from a dream. There was a time I had a four-hit game and raised my average to .375, and I still felt like, 'do these people know that I don't belong here?”
Not only has he gone on to spend parts of three seasons in the big leagues but he is now a part of his second playoff team. Last season Coste played in just one of the Phillies postseason games but Coste will likely see more time behind the dish in the 2008 playoffs.