Monday, November 29, 2010
#59 - Ross Grimsley
Ross Grimsley was drafted out of high school by Detroit but didn't sign. Instead he went to the brand new Jackson State Community College where he led his team to the first conference championship. He was then drafted by the Reds in the secondary draft of early '69 and this time he signed. A big starter who threw heat, Ross moved quickly through the minors. He went 9-4 with a 3.32 ERA that first summer and in '70 jumped to Triple A where he went 11-8 with a 2.73. By then he began adding an assortment of sinkers to his pitching resume and after a 6-0 start with another sub-3.00 ERA to kick off the '71 season Ross got promoted.
Grimsley debuted with the Reds in May and put together a pretty good rookie season, earning a spot on the Topps Rookie team. He followed that with a better '72 and then had a great post-season, beating Pittsburgh once and Oakland twice. His poor showing in the '73 playoffs probably didn't help his standing in the front office, hence the trade to Baltimore.
It all came together for Grimsley that first year in Montreal: his only 20-win season, his only All-Star appearance, and some Cy Young votes. He remains the only Montreal pitcher to win 20 games. From there, though, it was all downhill. His walk and hit totals went up, his ERA would stay well north of 5.00 and he was essentially done after the '80 season. A brief comeback attempt with Baltimore in '82 didn't last and he was done at age 32. His career stats were 124-99 with a 3.81 ERA, 79 complete games, 15 shutouts, and three saves. In the post-season Ross went 3-2 with a 3.24 ERA in nine games and hit .333 with an RBI.
Surprisingly Grimsley became a pitching coach almost immediately after his playing career ended with a bunch of organizations, primarily San Francisco's since '99 and where I believe he currently resides employment-wise.
This is another Traded card that I don't think is too bad. That bird must have been tough to airbrush and the setting is recognizable. I believe it is again Shea, evidenced by the Schaeffer billboard in the background. Nice sideburns too.
Lots of info about the '72 season, in this case a wise choice by Topps. Regarding the cartoon, Grimsley had/has - dare I say it - beautiful green eyes. A bunch of times he would accentuate the color by wearing turquoise-colored contact lenses. Definitely an odd bird.
The back of the traded card is pretty prosaic. There were also a few minor leaguers involved in the trade, one being Junior Kennedy, who would go on to do some backup infielding for the Reds and Cubs. Ross' dad put in years in the minors and came up at age 29. He had a decent season but I guess was too weathered to keep on the major roster. He did pitch in the minors through '61 and won 129 games there.
We have an AL hookup this time:
1. Grimsley and Rick Manning and Duane Kuiper '80 Indians;
2. Kuiper, Manning, and Charlie Spikes '75 to '77 Indians.