|Left fielder / Designated hitter|
November 22, 1950 |
|September 9, 1970, for the Philadelphia Phillies|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 24, 1984, for the Chicago White Sox|
|Runs batted in||1,128|
|Career highlights and awards|
Gregory Michael "The Bull" Luzinski (born November 22, 1950) is a former professional baseball player.
Born in Chicago, he attended Notre Dame High School in Niles, Illinois. He made his Major League debut on September 9, 1970 at age 19, pinch-hitting for the Phillies in a loss to the New York Mets at Shea Stadium.
At 6'1' and 255 pounds, Luzinski was a well-liked member of the Phillies and a feared slugger who could also hit for average despite striking out frequently. While he was a poor defensive left fielder, he hit .300 or better for three consecutive seasons during the prime of his career, and was a career .276 hitter with 307 home runs and 1,128 RBIs. He was selected an All-Star between 1975 and 1978, hitting a home run off Jim Palmer in 1977 and being the top vote-getter for the National League in 1978. He was also MVP runner-up in 1975 (when he led the National League in RBIs with 120) and 1977, when he posted career highs in batting average (.309), home runs (39) and RBIs (130).
He hit safely in every game and had at least one home run in each of the three National League Championship Series played by the Phillies from 1976 to 1978, though Philadelphia did not advance to the World Series those years. In 1980, he suffered a major slump with injuries in the regular season, batting just .228 with 19 home runs and 56 RBIs in 106 games, but came back with two game-winning hits in the 1980 National League Championship Series: a two-out two-run home run in the bottom of the 6th inning in Game 1 (the only home run hit in the entire championship series) and a pinch-hit double in the top of the 10th in Game 4, as Philadelphia beat Houston in five games to finally make the World Series, where they defeated the Kansas City Royals to take the title. Those hits against Houston were perhaps the biggest hits of his career, and Luzinski once held the consecutive game hitting streak record for a championship series with 13.
He joined the Chicago White Sox the next season, and became one of the top sluggers and designated hitters in the American League. With the White Sox, he was chosen the Designated Hitter of the Year for 1981 and also in 1983, the season when he set a then record for most home runs in a season by a designated hitter with 32, and thrice hit the roof of the old Comiskey Park in Chicago. Luzinski hit five home runs in five consecutive games, a franchise mark, which has since been tied by Ron Kittle, Frank Thomas (twice), Carlos Lee, and Paul Konerko. Luzinski returned to the postseason in the 1983 American League Championship Series, which the Sox lost to Baltimore three games to one.
Luzinski also hit grand slams in two consecutive games in 1984. Luzinski became a free agent at the end of the 1984 season but chose to retire on February 4, 1985.
For several years, Luzinski was the head football and baseball coach at Holy Cross High School in Delran, New Jersey.
He lives in Bonita Springs, Florida.
His son, Ryan, was the first round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1992 Major League Baseball draft. Ryan was a promising power hitter when he spurned a letter of intent with the University of Miami to sign with the Dodgers. However, he never quite lived up to his promise. Blocked by Mike Piazza's ascent with the Dodgers, he bounced around the team's farm system until a trade to the Baltimore Orioles in 1997. In eight minor league seasons, he hit .265 with 49 home runs and 296 RBI but could never make the move from AAA to the Majors.
Honors and awards
The Roberto Clemente Award, given annually to a Major League Baseball player who demonstrates sportsmanship and community involvement, was presented to Greg Luzinski in 1978.
- List of Major League Baseball career home run leaders
- List of Major League Baseball career runs batted in leaders
- List of Major League Baseball annual runs batted in leaders
- Greg Luzinski to retire
- "BASEBALL; A Baby Bull Stands Out From the Herd". New York Times. May 27, 1992. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
- Fitzpatrick, Frank (May 9, 1998). "A Long, Trying Test For Ryan Luzinski Drafted Six Years Ago, The Double-a Catcher Still Dreams Of A Chance In The Big Leagues.". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved November 12, 2014.