Late Bloomer: Cole Bloomer, part of Pueblo baseball clan, making strides with Collegians
The Bloomer name is familiar to many in Pueblo sports circles, especially for baseball.
Rick Bloomer played at what was then-Southern Colorado State College (now Colorado State University Pueblo) in the 1970s.
His son, Kurt, was a standout at Pueblo East High School and went on to play on the world series team with Southern Colorado in the late 1990s.
And Rick's other son, Jeff, was a standout at East and played at Southern Colorado.
Now comes Cole, Kurt's son, who is in the starting rotation as a pitcher for the Spradley Collegians summer baseball team.
Cole is a 6-foot-5, 260-pound right-hander who has made his presence known in his time with the Collegians.
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His road to get to this point has been bumpy, to say the least.
He hasn't even played a spring season in three years.
A COVID-19 casualty
Bloomer grew up in Parker and attended Arapahoe High School. He had a spotty career and was anxious to perform his senior season with aspirations of playing college baseball.
Then, COVID-19 hit.
"We were just about to get going our senior year and it was two days before our first game was to start," he recalled. "They postponed the season for two weeks and postponed it again for another two weeks and finally they called the season.
"I didn't know what to do because I was relying on that season to get some more looks (from college scouts) in. So I went to junior college."
Bloomer went to Lamar Community College but once again, never got onto the field.
"It went pretty good but I didn't play in the spring because I got COVID," he said.
"That fall I transferred to Galveston (Junior College). I ended up breaking my ankle down there sliding into third base. It kind of just happened. I rehabbed it and I'm back and I'm just using it this summer. as a rehab to get me going."
Looking for a program
At 20 years old and with a fresh arm and attitude, it's like Bloomer is starting over.
He is biding his time this summer, hoping to get seen by a college program and land somewhere where he can play. He technically has four years left of eligibility.
"I'm starting fresh, just trying to find a program to land at, looking at somewhere where I can play," he said. "I've talked to CSU Pueblo and Adams State a little bit. That's all I know of right now."
Finding his niche with Spradley
Bloomer has found his way with the Spradley Collegians.
He started as a reliever, throwing a few innings here and there before making his first start in early July against the Greeley Grays.
"He's a typical Bloomer, he wants the ball, he's competitive," Spradley head coach Tony Pechek said. "He has the instinct of a bulldog on the mound.
"His fastball, at times, is electric. (He) has a slider as a wipeout pitch, and has the tools to become great."
Bloomer also plays the corners, first base, and third base, and is hoping to do that at the next stop in his baseball career.
He knows being a two-way player is a tough gig.
"I know how hard it can be but I'm willing to put in the work," he said. "I didn't start pitching until later in my career. I've hit all the time and I want to do both.
"I didn't pitch in high school so I have a fresh arm."
Pechek believes Bloomer has an unlimited ceiling.
"He's an athlete, a good body," he said. "The sky is the limit for the kid once he gets established."
A good repertoire
Bloomer is a three-pitch pitcher at this point, throwing fastball, slider, and changeup.
"My best pitches are my fastball and changeup," he said. "Right now I'm just trying to get a feel on the mound, get on top of my slider.
"I've topped out this summer at 92 (miles per hour) so far but I've been up to 95 or 96. I'm still trying to get my arm back in shape so I can go forward."
Living up to the family reputation
Bloomer understands the family legacy he's trying to live up to.
"My grandpa came out to Pueblo to play at the college," Bloomer said. " He settled down here. And my uncle and dad played at East and CSU Pueblo. My grandpa and uncle were both drafted.
"I'd like to live up to it. If I can continue that legacy and get drafted and get to the big leagues, that would be great."
While his family history is all well and good, he'd like to form a name for himself.
"Everyone knows who I am because of them but I want them to know me for what I am, create my legacy and roots," he said.
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Chieftain senior sports reporter Jeff Letofsky can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @jeffletofsky