For most players, there’s nothing easy about carving out a Major League Baseball career.

I mean, for every Dave Winfield who goes straight to the Majors and stays there until his Hall of Fame status is cemented, there are probably hundreds of guys more like Glen Cook.

See …

Cook got his first taste of MLB flavoring when the Padres selected him in the 17th round of the 1980 Draft. Cook eventually said “no thank you” and returned to Ithaca College.

After another season in school, though, the Texas Rangers took him … but not until the 24th round.

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Undaunted, Cook began his climb: Rookie ball in 1981, Single-A in 1982, then — boom! — a quick trip through Single-, Double-, and Triple-A in 1983.

That had to leave the 24-year-old feeling good about the future, but he did just so-so back at Triple-A Oklahoma City in 1984 — 9-8, 4.85 ERA in 27 starts.

That performance kept the righty down on the farm in 1985, too, but he showed improvement — 9-5, 3.21 ERA in 18 starts in all.

It was improvement enough, in fact that the Rangers called him up to the big club in June. By that point, Texas was pretty much out of the running in the old AL West and would eventually finish last, at 62-99.

But, hey — Cook was heading to the Majors!

It was an up-and-down affair for the soon-to-be 26-year-old, though, and he ended his rookie season with a 2-3 record in nine appearances (7 starts) and a — gasp! — 9.45 ERA.

As it turned out, his final game, a three-inning shelling at the hands of the Oakland A’s on October 2 would actually be his final game — it was all minors in 1986 and 1987, and then Cook left the Major League kitchen.

But this was the middle of the beginning of the hobby boom, the rookie card boom, so nine games in the Majors in 1985 meant a rookie card in 1986.

And, wouldn’t you know it? While Cook was whipping up a 6.04 ERA back at OKC, collectors were pulling his 1986 Topps RC from wax packs all summer long.

So, even today, you’re likely to find stacks of those black-and-white-bordered relics with Cook interleaved among Oddibe McDowell and Roger McDowell and Vince Coleman and Len Dykstra, and all the other 1986 Topps rookie cards.

It was a recipe for baseball card bliss, don’t you think?

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