Ross Grimsley

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For his father, see Ross Grimsley (1950s pitcher).
Ross Grimsley
2012 07 11 EL Ross Grimsley.jpg
Grimsley pitching batting practice prior to Eastern League All-Star Game 2012 07 11 in Reading PA
Pitcher
Born: (1950-01-07) January 7, 1950 (age 64)
Topeka, Kansas
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
May 16, 1971 for the Cincinnati Reds
Last MLB appearance
September 24, 1982 for the Baltimore Orioles
Career statistics
Win–loss record 124–99
Earned run average 3.81
Strikeouts 750
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Ross Albert Grimsley II (born January 7, 1950 in Topeka, Kansas) is a former left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Cincinnati Reds (1971–73), Baltimore Orioles (1974–77 and 1982), Montreal Expos (1978–80) and Cleveland Indians (1980). His father, Ross Sr., pitched for the 1951 Chicago White Sox.

Early life[edit]

Ross was the son of Ross Sr., who pitched for the 1951 Chicago White Sox, and his wife Judy (Robinson) Grimsley. Ross Sr., a World War II veteran, had a long minor-league playing career.[1]

The younger Ross Grimsley was a 1969 graduate of Frayser High School in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was an outstanding basketball and baseball player.[2] He attended Jackson State Community College in Jackson, Tennessee. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the first round (17th pick) of the 1969 amateur draft (January Secondary).[3]

Major league career[edit]

He made his major league debut for the Reds at age 21 on May 16, 1971 in a 9-3 loss to the Expos at Riverfront Stadium. He started and took the loss, pitched 1.2 innings and gave up three earned runs. The first major league hitter he faced was Ron Hunt.[4] In 26 starts that year, he posted a record of 10-7 with a 3.57 ERA.

He followed up with an even better season in 1972, going 14-8 with a 3.05 ERA for the National League champion Reds. He also had s strong World Series, going 2-1 in four games (three in relief) with a 2.57 ERA as the Reds fell to the Oakland Athletics in seven games.[3]

In 1973 he was 13-10 with a 3.23 ERA as the Reds won the NL West division. However, in December he was traded to the Orioles as the main player in a five-player deal.

The deal paid off for the Orioles in 1974 as Grimsley went 18-13 with 17 complete games in a career-high 39 starts as the Orioles were American League East division champions. In 1975 and 1976 his totals were down, with records of 10-13 with a 4.07 ERA and 8-7 with a 3.95 ERA. In 1977 he was 14-10 with a 3.96 ERA. After the season he became a free agent and in December signed with the Montreal Expos.

He rewarded the Expos with his best year in 1978. He was named to the 1978 National League All-Star team and finished seventh in voting for the 1978 National League Cy Young Award, posting a record of 20-11, 19 complete games, three shutouts, 263 innings pitched and a 3.05 ERA.[3] However, in 1979 he fell to a record of 10-9 with a 5.35 ERA. In 1980 he was only 2-6 with a 6.31 ERA for the Expos, and on July 11 he was traded to the Cleveland Indians for whom he went 4-5 with a 6.75 ERA.

He was released by the Indians and didn't play in the majors in 1981. In 1982 he returned to the Orioles, pitched 21 games in his final major league season.[3]

Grimsley finished his 11-season playing career during a comeback attempt with the Orioles in 1982. His career totals included a 124-99 record, 79 complete games, 15 shutouts, 2,039 innings pitched and a 3.81 ERA.

Grimsley was one of the more colorful players of the 1970s. With the Reds, he was called into manager Sparky Anderson's office and told to stop corresponding with a "witch" who had been sending him good luck charms.[5] Despite being a premier starting pitcher for the Reds, he was traded to the Orioles for Merv Rettenmund, a part-time outfielder, after the 1973 season, largely in part for his constant resistance to the Reds organization's conservative grooming rules. With the Orioles in 1974, he sported a huge mop of curly hair and prominent moustache.

In an incident on September 16, 1975 at Fenway Park, Grimsley, warming up in the Orioles' bullpen, responded to Boston fans' heckling by throwing into the right field bleachers. The ball passed through the protective netting, injuring a Boston fan. The fan later successfully sued Grimsley and the Orioles in Manning v. Grimsley,[6] a case cited in law casebooks to highlight the scope of employment law as it relates to agency.[7] He was accused by Yankees manager Billy Martin in 1977 of throwing "spitball" pitches using Vaseline hidden in his hair, which was usually somewhat greasy in appearance anyway due to Grimsley's penchant for not showering during winning streaks. In addition to his nickname "Scuz" for his liberal grooming habits, he was also called "Crazy Eyes" and known to wear turquoise contact lenses.

Post-playing career[edit]

After his playing career ended, he was a minor league instructor for the Orioles, Atlanta Braves, Seattle Mariners and Philadelphia Phillies.[8]

Since 1999, Grimsley has been a minor-league pitching coach for the San Francisco Giants. He is currently the pitching coach for the AA Richmond Flying Squirrels (formerly the Connecticut Defenders).[9]

He and his wife live outside of Baltimore.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]