Emil Gross

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Emil Gross
Emil Gross.jpg
Born: (1858-03-03)March 3, 1858
Died: August 24, 1921(1921-08-24) (aged 63)
Eagle River, Wisconsin
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
August 13, 1879, for the Providence Grays
Last MLB appearance
July 14, 1884, for the Chicago Browns/Pittsburgh Stogies
MLB statistics
Batting average .295
Home runs 7
Runs scored 141

Emil Michael Gross (March 3, 1858 – August 21, 1921), was an American professional baseball player whose career spanned from 1877 to 1884. He played five years in Major League Baseball as a catcher for the Providence Grays (1879–1881), Philadelphia Quakers (1883), and Chicago Browns/Pittsburgh Stogies (1884).

In 1880, Gross established a new major league record by appearing in 87 games as catcher. During his major league career, he appeared in 248 games and compiled a .295 batting average with 67 doubles, 21 triples, seven home runs, and 107 RBIs.[1]

Early years[edit]

Gross was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1858.[1] Gross began his professional baseball career playing for the St. Paul Red Caps of the League Alliance in 1877.[2]

Major League Baseball[edit]


In August 1879, Gross made his major league debut with the 1879 Providence Grays, compiled a .348 batting average, and appeared in 30 games as catcher in the last part of the season.[1] The 1879 Providence team won the National League pennant with a 59-25 record and featured Hall of Fame shortstop-manager George Wright and Hall of Fame pitcher Monte Ward who won 49 games in 1879. Gross replaced the Gray's number one catcher, Lew Brown, late in the season.[3]

In 1880, Gross became the Gray's number one catcher and led the National League's catchers in games played (87), putouts (429), assists (126), errors (86), and passed balls (73).[1] His 87 games as catcher in 1880 established a major league record that stood until 1886 when Doc Bushong appeared in 106 games as catcher.[4] Gross also earned a 3.0 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) rating for the 1880 season,[1] one of the highest WAR ratings given to a catcher in the 1870s or 1880s.

At the time of the 1880 U.S. Census, in June 1880, Gray registered as a boarder at 150 Broad Street in Providence, the same address registered for teammates Mike McGeary, George Bradley, Jack Farrell, Joe Start, Paul Hines, and John Peters.[5]

Gross returned to Providence in 1881 and was the team's catcher in 50 games. He compiled a .307 batting average and a 1.1 WAR rating. His 37 errors as catcher ranked as the third highest in the National League.[1]

At the end of the 1881 season, Gross was placed on the National League's blacklist upon charges of "general dissipation and insubordination."[6][7]

Philadelphia and after[edit]

In 1883, after one year out of baseball, Gross was reinstated from the blacklist and joined the Philadelphia Quakers. He appeared in 55 games as catcher for Philadelphia and compiled a .307 batting average and .489 slugging percentage. However, he led the National League with 74 errors in his 55 games as catcher and also gave up 67 passed balls.[1]

Gross concluded his major league career in 1883 playing for the Chicago Browns/Pittsburgh Stogies of the Union Association. Gross hit .358 with a .589 slugging percentage in 23 games in the Union Association.[1] He also played during the 1884 season for Springfield in the Ohio State League and Oil City in the Iron & Oil Association.[2]

When Gross's name was offered as a possible outfielder in 1885, a St. Louis correspondent wrote: "Great Scot! He couldn't judge a flour barrel twenty feet in the air."[8]

Later years[edit]

By 1889, Gross was described as "an extensive property owner in Chicago." His mother had recently left him a sum in excess of $100,000.[9] In 1909, Gross was reported to be a businessman in Chicago.[10] Gross died in 1921 at age 63 in Eagle River, Wisconsin. He was buried in Chicago at Graceland Cemetery.[1][11]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Emil Gross Statistics and History". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Emil Gross Minor League Statistics". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  3. ^ "1879 Providence Grays". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Progressive Leaders & Records for Def. Games as C". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  5. ^ 1880 United States Federal Census; Place: Providence, Rhode Island; Roll: 1212; Family History Film: 1255212; Page: 375C; Enumeration District: 023. Ancestry.com [database on-line].
  6. ^ Bryan Di Salvatore (1999). A Clever Base-Ballist: The Life and Times of John Montgomery Ward. Pantheon Books. p. 131. 
  7. ^ Dennis Pajot (2009). The Rise of Milwaukee Baseball. McFarland. p. 116. 
  8. ^ "Notes and Comments" (PDF). Sporting Life. May 20, 1885. p. 7. 
  9. ^ "Philadelphia Pointers" (PDF). Sporting Life. May 22, 1889. p. 4. 
  10. ^ "Press Pointers: How Base Ball Appeared In the Much-Talked-About "Good Old Times"" (PDF). Sporting Life. June 5, 1909. p. 4. 
  11. ^ "Emil Michael Gross". Find a Grave. Retrieved July 15, 2014.