Alex Grammas

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Alex Grammas
Second Base / Third Base / Shortstop / Manager
Born: (1926-04-03) April 3, 1926 (age 88)
Birmingham, Alabama
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 13, 1954 for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
September 29, 1963 for the Chicago Cubs
Career statistics
Batting average .247
Home runs 12
Runs batted in 163
Teams

As Player

As Manager

Career highlights and awards

Alexander Peter Grammas (born April 3, 1926) is a former Major League infielder and manager. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Grammas played in the National League for the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago Cubs. He finished his career with a .969 overall fielding percentage. He was not usually an everyday player, playing as a reserve with the Reds and Cubs.

Managerial and coaching career[edit]

Grammas served as an assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1965 through 1969. He began his managerial career when he was brought in to finish out the Pirates' 1969 season after Larry Shepard was fired as the team's manager. Although Alex guided the Bucs to a 4-1 finish, Danny Murtaugh took over as the team's manager in 1970.

After the Milwaukee Brewers fired Del Crandall as manager near the end of the 1975 season, Crandall's place was taken on an interim basis by Harvey Kuenn. But following the 1975 World Series, which was won by the Cincinnati Reds where Grammas was a coach, the Brewers set their sights on Grammas as their next skipper, and signed him to a three-year contract in November 1975. Milwaukee Brewers President Bud Selig said that Grammas was the only manager they wanted. He added, "There is no question in our mind, we got the best man available. In the years I've been in baseball, never has anybody been recommended by as broad a spectrum of people as Alex Grammas." [1]

Unfortunately, Grammas was unable to bring the success he had seen with the Reds to Milwaukee. In 1976 and 1977, Grammas led the Brewers to two 6th place finishes in the American League Eastern Division, in which the Brewers finished 32 and 33 games, respectively, out of first place. Only the expansion 1977 Toronto Blue Jays, who lost 107 games in their inaugural season, kept the Brewers from consecutive last-place finishes under Grammas.[2] A strong 10-5 early start in 1976 led Sports Illustrated to publish a story praising Grammas's positive attitude and mental approach to the game.[3] But the Brewers faded soon thereafter, and played particularly badly in the final month of the season, losing 22 of their last 26 games.[4]

Internal signs of trouble were evident by mid-season in 1977. With the Brewers at 39-45, Brewers reserve first baseman Mike Hegan, who was dissatisfied with his playing time under Grammas, made national news by saying "Grammas is a nice guy, but as a manager, he makes a good third base coach". Hegan added, "I think that we all expected that, when he came over here, he was going to provide motivation and leadership...but that hasn't happened".[5] Grammas, for his part said some players were not putting out as much effort as they had earlier in the season, that every team has players who "cop out", including the Brewers, that the team had not played up to its potential, and that "I would say there have been times that we could have put out a lot harder".[6] After this point, the Brewers played poorly, going 27-50 in their last 67 games. On November 21, 1977, Brewers President Bud Selig fired both Grammas and General Manager Jim Baumer.[7] Grammas ended his managerial career with a record of 137-191.

Alex was also a longtime coach under the legendary Sparky Anderson with the Reds from 1970 to 1975 and in 1978, and with the Detroit Tigers from 1980 to 1991. Grammas also coached for the Atlanta Braves in 1979.

Quote[edit]

Grammas's family origins are from Agios Dimitrios near Sparta, Greece.[8]

  • "I went to Greece in 1992 for the first time, and I liked Greece very much," said Alex. "All my life my father was telling me good things about Greece. When he was talking, I was laughing, but when I saw with my own eyes, I realized he hadn't said enough about Greece. I love Greece very much. In 1992, we stayed about three weeks. I am gonna tell you, when I walked up to the Acropolis and saw the Parthenon, the hairs on my head were standing straight up. I couldn't believe it.[9]

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Associated Press, "Alex Grammas to manage Milwaukee", The Tuscaloosa News, November 8, 1975, p. 10.
  2. ^ Baseball-Reference.com, "1976 American League Team Statistics and Standings" and "1977 American League Team Statistics and Standings". http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL/1976.shtml and http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL/1977.shtml
  3. ^ Robert Boyle, "A New Brew in Milwaukee", Sports Illustrated, May 10, 1976, Vol. 44 Issue 19, p. 62
  4. ^ Baseball-Reference.com. "1976 Milwaukee Brewers". http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/MIL/1976.shtml . Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  5. ^ Combined Miami News Services, "Baseball has more than share of unhappy people", The Miami News, July 12, 1977, p. 4C.
  6. ^ Associated Press, "Are Brewers 'Copping Out' Under Grammas?", Spartanburg Herald-Journal, July 10, 1977, p. C2.
  7. ^ Dale Voiss, "Harry Dalton". SABR, SABR Baseball Biography Project. http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/0e17944e Retrieved May 13, 2013.
  8. ^ http://www.baseballacropolis.org/didyouknow.htm
  9. ^ http://www.aegeanbooks.com/excerpts/body_excerpts.html#ab