Granderson during a game in 2011
March 16, 1981 |
Blue Island, Illinois
|Bats: Left||Throws: Right|
|September 13, 2004 for the Detroit Tigers|
(through 2013 season)
|Runs batted in||606|
|Career highlights and awards|
Curtis Granderson, Jr. (born March 16, 1981) is an American professional baseball outfielder who is currently a free agent. He has played for, and was drafted by, the Detroit Tigers (2004–2009) and New York Yankees (2010-2013). Granderson is a left-handed batter who throws right-handed. He is a three-time MLB All-Star (2009, 2011–2012) and won the Silver Slugger Award in 2011.
Off the field, Granderson is recognized for his commitment to the community through outreach and charity work. Many of his charitable endeavors support inner city children. He has also served as an ambassador for MLB abroad. Granderson won the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award in 2009 for his on-field performance and contributions in the community.
Granderson grew up in Lynwood, Illinois, a city south of Chicago. His father, Curtis, Sr., was a dean and physical education teacher at Nathan Hale Elementary School in Lansing, Illinois. His mother, Mary, taught chemistry at Curie Metropolitan High School in Chicago. Granderson's half-sister, Monica, is an English professor at Jackson State University.
Granderson attended Thornton Fractional South High School (T.F. South) in Lansing, where he played baseball and basketball. During his high school baseball career, Granderson batted .369 with 11 home runs and 88 runs batted in (RBI), and was named an All-State selection his senior year. Granderson wore #14 at T.F. South, choosing the number because his father wore it while playing softball. T.F. South honored Granderson by retiring his jersey in a December 2011 ceremony.
Granderson was recruited by a number of college baseball programs, and he chose the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC), in part because they allowed him to play basketball in addition to baseball. However, Granderson quit basketball two weeks into his freshman year in order to concentrate on baseball.
As a freshman at UIC in 2000, Granderson led the UIC Flames baseball team with seven home runs and 45 walks. He followed that by hitting .304 as a sophomore, leading the team in runs, home runs, and walks. After his sophomore year, Granderson played in a summer collegiate league for the Mankato Mashers, now known as the MoonDogs, of the Northwoods League, where he batted .328 in 44 games, with eight doubles, two triples, one home run, 17 RBI, 28 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases.
During his junior season at UIC, Granderson batted .483, second in the nation to Rickie Weeks. Granderson was named Second-Team All-American by Baseball America and USA Today's Baseball Weekly and a Third-Team Louisville Slugger NCAA Division I All-American. He graduated from UIC with a double major in business administration and business marketing. On February 6, 2013 Granderson had his number 28 retired by UIC
Minor leagues (2002–2005)
The Detroit Tigers selected Granderson in the third round of the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft. The Tigers assigned Granderson to the Oneonta Tigers, their minor league baseball affiliate in Class-A. With Oneonta, Granderson batted .344 in 52 games. Determined to complete his college education, though the fall semester began before the minor league season ended, Granderson made arrangements to begin his senior year at UIC via internet courses.
The Tigers assigned Granderson to the Class-A Advanced Lakeland Tigers in 2003 and the Class-AA Erie Seawolves in 2004. With the Seawolves, Granderson hit .303 with 21 home runs and 93 RBI. Baseball America named Granderson the Tigers' minor league player of the year and top prospect after the 2004 season.
Prior to the 2005 season, Baseball America rated Granderson as the 57th best prospect in baseball. Granderson competed for the role as the Tigers' starting center fielder in 2005 spring training, but the organization decided he needed more seasoning, and assigned him to the Class-AAA Toledo Mud Hens. With Toledo, he hit .290 with 15 home runs, 65 RBIs and 22 stolen bases.
Detroit Tigers (2004–2009)
The Tigers promoted Granderson to the majors for the first time in September 2004. He made his major league debut on September 13 against the Minnesota Twins. He received his second promotion to the majors in July 2005, and he appeared in six games. After his third promotion to the majors, in August, he remained in the majors permanently. Granderson had his first career inside-the-park home run on September 15, a five-hit game September 18 and a walk-off home run on September 26 against the Chicago White Sox.
Granderson became the Tigers starting center fielder for the 2006 season after beating out Nook Logan for the position during spring training. From the start of his major league career in 2004, Granderson began a 151 game errorless streak, the longest by a position player to start his career since Dave Roberts went errorless in 205 games. Granderson hit two home runs during the 2006 American League Division Series and one in the 2006 American League Championship Series, but struggled in the 2006 World Series, batting .095, as the Cardinals defeated the Tigers.
Through June, Granderson ranked first among American League (AL) outfielders in triples (14), third in doubles (22), tied for fourth in runs (58) and tied for 10th in homers (11) with a .289 batting average in the 2007 season. Although Granderson was not listed on the 2007 All-Star Game ballot, due to the Tigers' decision to put Gary Sheffield as an outfielder on the ballot, he still received 376,033 write-in votes, the most write-in votes for any player. Granderson was named the AL Player of the Week on July 16, the first time he had won the award, as he hit .500 (8 for 16) with two doubles, a triple, and a home run during that week. Granderson slugged .938, drove in two runs, scored seven runs, and had fifteen total bases during Detroit's four-game series against the Seattle Mariners.
On August 7, Granderson became the second player in franchise history to have at least 30 doubles, 15 triples, 15 home runs, and ten stolen bases in a single season when he hit a double in a game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The other Tiger to accomplish this feat was Charlie Gehringer in 1930. He became the sixth member of baseball's 20–20–20 club on September 7, joining the Kansas City Royals' George Brett (1979), Willie Mays of the New York Giants (1957), Cleveland's Jeff Heath (1941), St. Louis' Jim Bottomley (1928), and Frank Schulte of the Chicago Cubs (1911). Granderson stole his 20th base of the season on September 9, joining Mays and Schulte as the only players in major league history to reach 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 home runs, and 20 stolen bases in a season, a feat accomplished by the Philadelphia Phillies' Jimmy Rollins 21 days later.
Granderson hit .302 with 23 home runs for the season, and was 26 for 27 in stolen base attempts. He also improved his plate discipline, as he finished seventh in the AL in strikeouts with 141. He was one of only six batters in the AL to have at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases, along with teammate Gary Sheffield, Ian Kinsler, Alex Rodriguez, Grady Sizemore and B. J. Upton. However, he was criticized for his propensity to strikeout, as he led the AL with 174 strikeouts.
During the 2007 season, Granderson accumulated 23 triples, which led all of baseball. The American League and Detroit Tigers record is 26 triples, a feat achieved by the all-time triples king, Sam Crawford, in 1914. Granderson is the first player since 1949 to manage at least 23 in a single season. Only ten of his triples were at home despite the fact Comerica Park has seen more triples since it opened in 2000 than any other ballpark in baseball. Granderson joined the 20-20-30-20 club, having more than 20 triples, 20 home runs, 30 doubles, and 20 stolen bases. The last player to accomplish the feat was Wildfire Schulte in 1911. Granderson's 23 triples were as much or more than six entire teams managed in 2007, the Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners and St. Louis Cardinals all had no more than 23 team triples.
Prior to the start of the 2008 season, the Tigers signed Granderson to a five-year, US$30.25 million contract with a club option for 2013. Granderson continued hitting well during the 2008 regular season, finishing with a .280 batting average, 13 triples and 22 home runs. He continued to improve his plate discipline, striking out only 111 times (versus 141 in 2007 and 174 in 2006) and drawing a career-high 71 walks. During August, he hit six triples, including two in consecutive innings during a game against the Texas Rangers.
With the Tigers failing to make the playoffs in 2007 and 2008, TBS employed Granderson as a commentator alongside Cal Ripken, Jr., Dennis Eckersley and Frank Thomas for its coverage of the 2007 and 2008 postseasons.
New York Yankees (2010–2013)
After the 2009 season, the Tigers began shopping Granderson to other franchises in an effort to reduce their payroll. The Yankees acquired Granderson in a three-team trade on December 9. In the deal, the Yankees received Granderson while sending Phil Coke and centerfielder Austin Jackson to Detroit. Also, the Arizona Diamondbacks received Yankees pitcher Ian Kennedy and Tigers pitcher Edwin Jackson in return for young pitchers Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth, who joined the Tigers.
Granderson hit a home run in his first Yankee at bat on April 4, 2010, becoming the twelfth player to do so. Although he missed some games due to a strained groin, Granderson finished the season with 136 games played, a .247 batting average, and 24 home runs. Granderson, who struggled against left-handed pitching throughout his career, also put up subpar numbers against right-handed pitchers, causing Granderson to revamp his swing with the help of hitting coach Kevin Long in August 2010.
Granderson's work with Long was credited as a reason for his strong 2011 campaign. Granderson received over 6.6 million votes for the 2011 MLB All-Star Game. In August 2011, Granderson and Mark Teixeira became the first Yankees teammates to hit 30 home runs in 115 games since Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle in 1961. On August 10, Granderson hit two home runs against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to tally a career-high 31 home runs. Granderson, Robinson Canó, and Russell Martin all hit grand slams in a game against the Oakland Athletics on August 25, the first time a team had three grand slams in one game. Granderson was named American League Player of the Month for August 2011, in which he batted .286, with a .423 on base percentage, slugged .657, hit ten home runs, recorded 29 RBI, and scored 29 runs. He became the first player to hit 40 home runs, 10 triples and steal 25 bases in one season. Granderson finished fourth in balloting for the American League Most Valuable Player Award.
On May 6, 2012, Curtis achieved his 1,000th hit against the Kansas City Royals. On August 26, 2012, Granderson hit his 200th career home run against the Cleveland Indians. He finished the 2012 season with a .232 batting average, 43 home runs, 106 RBI, and set a new Yankees season record by striking out 195 times.
On October 19, the Yankees exercised Granderson's club option for 2013. Originally worth $13 million, it became a $15 million option after placing 4th in the MVP voting in 2011. In his spring training debut against the Toronto Blue Jays on February 24, 2013, Granderson was hit by a pitch from J. A. Happ that fractured his right forearm. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list to begin the 2013 season. He returned to the Yankees on May 14. On May 18, 2013, Granderson made his first start at right field. May 24, 2013, Granderson broke the knuckle of his left pinkie finger after getting hit by Tampa Bay's Cesar Ramos' pitch in the 5th inning. He was again placed on the 15-day disabled list. On May 29, 2013, Granderson underwent surgery in which a pin was inserted to the knuckle to stabilize the fracture. On August 2, 2013, Granderson was activated from the disabled list. Granderson was limited to only 61 games in 2013 batting .229 with 7 home runs and 15 RBI. He became a free agent for the first time of his career after the season.
As a child, Granderson grew up a fan of the Atlanta Braves, choosing not to root for the hometown Chicago Cubs because he often rushed home from school to watch Saved by the Bell and was disappointed when a Cubs game was on instead. Granderson is also an avid fan of WWE, and attended WrestleMania 23 in Detroit. He considers The Ultimate Warrior, The Undertaker, Junkyard Dog, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, and Hulk Hogan to be his favorite wrestlers. He is also an avid fan of college basketball and of the Kansas Jayhawks.
Off the field, Granderson has served as an ambassador for Major League Baseball International. He has traveled to England, Italy, Holland, South Africa, China, New Zealand, and Japan to promote baseball. In appreciation for his efforts, Commissioner Bud Selig penned a thank-you letter to Granderson which read in part, "There are so many fine young men playing Major League baseball today, but I can think of no one who is better suited to represent our national pastime than you."
His foundation, Grand Kids Foundation, has raised money to benefit the educations of inner-city children around the country. When he endorsed Nike, Inc., Louisville Slugger and Rawlings, he asked them to donate money to his foundation or equipment to inner-city baseball programs rather than pay him. Granderson wrote a children's book, All You Can Be: Dream It, Draw It, Become It!, which was published in August 2009. The book is illustrated by students of the New York City public school system. In February 2010, Granderson represented MLB at a White House function announcing Let's Move!, a childhood anti-obesity effort sponsored by First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama. Granderson paid $5 million to help UIC build a new baseball stadium in 2013.
Granderson has been involved in the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) since 2006. He has taken part in negotiations of the labor contract. Granderson was chosen as the 2009 Marvin Miller Man of the Year by the MLBPA for his off-field work.
Granderson was also voted one of the friendliest players in the Major Leagues, according to a poll conducted by Sports Illustrated to 290 players. Granderson is one of a few players in MLB who wears his socks high, which he does to honor players from the Negro leagues.
- Granderson, Curtis (2009). All You Can Be: Dream It, Draw It, Become It!. Triumph Books. ISBN 1-60078-247-7. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
- "Pujols, Granderson earn top awards: Cardinal, Tiger honored with Players Choice Awards". MLB.com. October 30, 2009. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- Dorfman, Sid (November 23, 2011). "Dorfman: Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson writes to help kids". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
- McCarron, Anthony (December 12, 2009). "New York Yankees have quite a catch in Curtis Granderson, who's a leader on and off field". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
- Strauss, Ben (December 10, 2011). "Yankees' Granderson Has Rebels Jersey Retired". The New York Times Baseball Blog. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
- Kepner, Tyler (December 17, 2009). "As Granderson Arrives, Damon Is Probably Gone". The New York Times. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
- Courrier, Chad (May 14, 2006). "Making the bigs: Granderson first player from Mankato Northwoods franchise in Major League Baseball". The Free Press. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
- Nightengale, Bob (October 17, 2006). "Granderson in demand by family, Tigers fans". USA Today. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
- Pora, Chuck (March 11, 2010). "Granderson likes pinstripes, Erie memories". Erie Times-News. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
- "2005 Top 100 Prospects: 51-75". Baseball America. March 1, 2005. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
- "Granderson's hot hitting continues". The Detroit News. July 25, 2005. Retrieved January 17, 2011. (subscription required)
- "Detroit Calls Up OF Granderson". The Lakeland Ledger. August 16, 2005. Retrieved January 17, 2011.
- "O's rookie pitcher to start offseason early". St. Petersburg Times. September 13, 2004. Retrieved January 17, 2012.
- Beck, Jason (September 13, 2004). "Tigers brushed off by Twins: Johnson allows four runs in seven innings". MLB.com. Retrieved January 17, 2012.
- "Granderson hits walk-off home run". Toledo Blade. Associated Press. September 27, 2005. Retrieved January 17, 2012.
- "Logan, Colon head to Toledo". The Detroit News. March 30, 2006. Retrieved December 13, 2011. (subscription required)
- "Indians rock All-Star starter then hold off Tigers' big rally". St. Petersburg Times. July 26, 2006. p. 3.C. Retrieved December 13, 2011. (subscription required)
- "2006 World Series — St. Louis Cardinals over Detroit Tigers (4-1)". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
- Kirby, Tim (July 1, 2007). "Notes: Granderson lost in the crowd". MLB.com (MLB Advanced Media). Retrieved September 1, 2008.
- Davison, Drew (July 16, 2007). "Granderson nets weekly AL honor: Center fielder opens second half with hot streak". MLB.com. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
- "Detroit's Curtis Granderson named Bank of America Presents the American League Player of the Week". MLB.com (Press release). July 16, 2007. Retrieved September 1, 2008.
- "Eighth-Inning Outburst Carries Tigers Over Tampa Bay". KETV (Hearst Properties Inc). August 7, 2007. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
- Sports Illustrated, September 24, 2007, p. 51
- "Granderson's 20th steal puts Tigers center fielder in select company". ESPN.com. Associated Press. September 9, 2007. Retrieved September 9, 2007.
- Beck, Jason (August 19, 2008). "Granderson's two-strike approach better". MLB.com. Retrieved September 1, 2008.
- Beck, Jason (February 19, 2008). "Notes: Granderson learning from Sheff". MLB.com. Retrieved September 1, 2008.
- "Single-Season Leaders & Records for Triples". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
- Beck, Jason (February 4, 2008). "Tigers, Granderson agree to deal". MLB.com. Retrieved September 1, 2008.
- "Curtis Granderson – Game Log". ESPN.com. 2008. Retrieved September 1, 2008.
- "Sheffield, Granderson help Tigers rally for win". International Herald Tribune. August 19, 2008. Retrieved September 1, 2008.
- Beck, Jason (October 5, 2007). "Granderson to join broadcast booth". MLB.com. Retrieved September 1, 2008.
- Beck, Jason (September 18, 2008). "Granderson to commentate for TBS: Center fielder will join studio crew during Division Series". MLB.com. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
- Kornacki, Steve (July 15, 2009). "Tigers' Curtis Granderson triples, scores winning run for American League in eighth inning". MLive.com (Michigan Live LLC). Retrieved December 13, 2011.
- Sherman, Joel (November 11, 2009). "Yankees could trade for Tigers' Granderson". New York Post. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
- Kepner, Tyler (December 8, 2009). "Yankees Get Granderson in 3-Team Trade". The New York Times. Retrieved December 8, 2009.
- Bonett, Bobby. "Get to know Curtis Granderson: 13 fun facts about 'Grandy'". Newsday. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- "Curtis Granderson Statistics and History". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- Matthews, Wallace (August 11, 2010). "Curtis Granderson reworking his swing". ESPNNewYork.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). Retrieved December 13, 2011.
- Hoch, Bryan (November 21, 2011). "Grandy, Cano place behind MVP Verlander: With big production, Yankees stars earn respect on AL ballot". MLB.com. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
- Crasnick, Jerry (September 9, 2011). "How valuable is Curtis Granderson? Yankees center fielder finds himself right in the middle of AL MVP debate". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
- Mazzeo, Mike (January 2, 2010). "Ain't life Grand? – Yankees Blog – ESPN New York". ESPNNewYork.com (ESPN). Retrieved November 3, 2011.
- Caldwell, Dave (August 25, 2011). "Yankees 22, Athletics 9: Three Grand Slams Erase a Poor Start in Record Fashion". The New York Times. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
- "Granderson, Uggla named Players of Month". MLB.com. September 6, 2011. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
- Beck, Jason (November 21, 2011). "Verlander turns double play, wins AL MVP: Cy Young winner first starting pitcher to couple awards since '86". MLB.com. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- Axisa, Mike (October 19, 2012). "Yankees Will Exercise Granderson's Option For 2013". MLB Trade Rumors.
- Hoch, Bryan (February 24, 2013). "Grandy out 10 weeks after pitch breaks forearm". MLB.com. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
- Marchand, Andrew (May 15, 2013). "Yankees activate Curtis Granderson". ESPNNewYork.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
- "Curtis Granderson hit by pitch, breaks bone in hand". USA Today. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
- "WWE and several pro wrestling stars mentioned during the MLB All-Star Game". Prowrestling.net.
- Bonett, Bobby (December 1, 2011). "Curtis Granderson talks WWE, Wrestlemania 23 and his 'finisher'". Newsday. Retrieved December 13, 2011. (subscription required)
- Granderson rooting for Jayhawks
- McCarron, Anthony (January 19, 2011). "Yankees' Curtis Granderson promotes baseball in New Zealand as MLB International Ambassador". New York Daily News. Retrieved May 2, 2011.
- "Curtis Granderson Sharpens His Sumo Wrestling Skills During Visit to Japan". NESN.com. Retrieved December 12, 2012.
- Hoch, Bryan (February 9, 2010). "MLB, Granderson join anti-obesity effort". MLB.com. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
- "Curtis Granderson funds UIC stadium". ESPN.com. Associated Press. May 29, 2013. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
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