Wednesday, November 4, 2009

1976 Topps #257 - Ross Grimsley

  • Ross Albert Grimsley II was the "man with the hair" in the mid-late 70s. He pitched in 11 seasons for four teams from 1971-1982. His father (Ross Albert Grimsley I) pitched for the Chicago White Sox in 1951.

  • Grimsley was a first round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 1969. Ross spent 1969 and 1970 in the minors. In 1971 he started the year in AAA Indianapolis and earned a promotion after starting the season 6-0 with a 2.93 ERA. Grimsley stayed with the Reds for the rest of the season and went 10-7 with a 3.57 ERA in 26 starts.

  • Ross also started the 1972 season in Indianapolis. He was brought up to the Reds to stay in May 1972. He had a 14-8 record with a 3.05 ERA in 30 games (28 starts) in 1972. Grimsley pitched a complete game 7-1 victory in game 4 of the National League Championship Series. He started and lost game 2 of the World Series 2-1. He was used as a reliever in game 5 and was the winning pitcher. He also pitched the 5th inning of game 6 and ended up being the winning pitcher in that game.

  • Grimsley had another good year in 1973 (13-10, 3.23 ERA in 36 starts). He got hammered in game 3 of the National League Championship Series and took the loss. After the season Grimsley was traded with a minor leaguer to the Baltimore Orioles for Merv Rettenmund, Junior Kennedy, and a minor leaguer.

  • In 1974 Ross had a 18-13 record with a 3.07 ERA and one save in 40 games (39 starts). He made two relief appearances in the 1974 ALCS and wasn't involved in either decision. Grimsley
    slipped to 10-13 with a 4.07 ERA in 32 starts in 1975. On September 16, Ross threw a ball into the stands at some hecklers at Fenway Park. One of them was injured and successfully sued Grimsley and the Orioles. Here is a June 1975 Baseball Digest article (Next 20-Game Winner for the Orioles?).

  • In 1976 Grimsley was used more as a swingman. In 28 games (19 starts), he was 8-7 with a 3.95 ERA. He returned to the Baltimore rotation in 1977 and was 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA in 34 starts.

  • After the 1977 season Grimsley became a free agent and signed with the Montreal Expos. He had his only 20-win season (20-11) and had an ERA of 3.05 ERA in 36 starts. He made the 1978 NL All Star team but didn't get in the game. It was his last good season. Here is a September 1978 Baseball Digest article (Ross Grimsley: Master of the Changeup).
  • Ross pitched in 32 games (27 starts) and slipped to 10-9 with a 5.35 ERA in 1979. In 1980 Grimsley started the year 2-4 with a 6.31 ERA for Montreal. On July 11 he was traded to the Cleveland Indians for Dave Oliver. He went 4-5 with a 6.75 ERA for the Indians to finish off the 1980 season.

  • In 1981 Ross started four games for AAA Chatanooga but didn't pitch in the majors. He was released by the Indians in August of 1981. Grimsley was signed by the Orioles and pitched in 21 games as a reliever (1-2, 5.25 ERA). The Orioles released him after the 1982 season. Ross didn't pitch in 1983 and then went back to Chatanooga in 1984 and pitched three seasons before retiring after the 1986 season.

  • After his playing career Grimsley went into coaching. He has been a pitching coach in the San Francisco Giants organization for 11 years and is now the pitching coach for the AA Connecticut Defenders. Here is a Q&A session with Ross in 2008 about prospect Madison Baumgartner.
  • Ross earned an entry in the book Baseball's Hall of Shame for some yucky things he did while he played.

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