Alfred Edward Cowens, Jr. (October 25, 1951 – March 11, 2002) was a right fielder in Major League Baseball. From 1974 through 1986, Cowens played for the Kansas City Royals (1974–79), California Angels (1980), Detroit Tigers (1980–81) and Seattle Mariners (1982–86). He batted and threw right-handed.
|Born: October 25, 1951|
Los Angeles, California
|Died: March 11, 2002 (aged 50)|
|April 6, 1974, for the Kansas City Royals|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 8, 1986, for the Seattle Mariners|
|Runs batted in||717|
|Career highlights and awards|
A native of Los Angeles, California, Cowens was a product of the Kansas City Royals farm system. He made his major league debut with the Royals in 1974 and played for them through 1979. His most productive season came in 1977, when he batted .312 with 23 home runs and 112 RBI, earned a Gold Glove, and finished second to Rod Carew in balloting for the American League MVP Award.
A notable feud started between Cowens and Texas Rangers reliever Ed Farmer early in the 1979 season. In the May 8 game at Arlington Stadium, a Farmer pitch thrown in the top of the 5th inning fractured Cowens' jaw and broke several teeth; Cowens would miss 21 games. Farmer also hit Cowens' teammate Frank White in the same game and broke his wrist and caused him to miss 33 contests. The following year, in a game between the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park on June 20‚ 1980‚ Cowens (now a Detroit Tiger) hit an infield grounder against Farmer (pitching for the White Sox). While Farmer watched his infielder make the play, Cowens ran to mound and tackled the pitcher from behind, instead of running to first base; getting in several punches before the benches cleared and the two were separated. Cowens was suspended for 7 games and a warrant was issued for his arrest in Illinois‚ forcing him to skip the remainder of the series. Later Farmer agreed to drop the charges in exchange for a handshake‚ and the 2 players brought out the lineup cards before the game on September 1. However, future appearances for Cowens in Chicago were greeted with a "Coward Cowens" banner.
In a 13-year career, Cowens was a .270 hitter with 108 home runs and 717 RBI in 1584 games.
Cowens died in Downey, California on March 11, 2002 at the age of 50 from a heart attack. At the time of his death, Cowens had been scouting players for the Kansas City Royals. He is buried at Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California.
- "May 8, 1979 Kansas City Royals at Texas Rangers Box Score and Play by Play". Baseball-Reference.com. 1979-05-08. Retrieved 2012-03-27.
- "Cooperstown Confidential: Thinking of Al Cowens". Hardballtimes.com. Retrieved 2012-03-27.