Jeff Gray (baseball, born 1963)
Born: April 10, 1963|
|June 21, 1988, for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 28, 1991, for the Boston Red Sox|
|Earned run average||3.33|
Jeffrey Edward Gray (born April 10, 1963 in Richmond, Virginia) is a former Major League Baseball relief pitcher who played from 1988 to 1991 for the Cincinnati Reds (1988) and Boston Red Sox (1990–91). Listed at 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m), 175 lb., Gray batted and threw right-handed. He was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1984 out of Florida State University.
A forkball specialist, Gray started his professional career in 1984 in the Phillies' minor league system, pitching for two years before joining the Cincinnati organization. In 1986, he posted a 14–2 record with a 2.35 ERA and 15 saves for Double-A Vermont, and in 1988, he went 8–5 with five saves and a 1.97 in 42 appearances for Triple-A Nashville, gaining promotion to the Reds during midseason. He recorded a 3.86 ERA in five games and did not have a decision, returning to Triple-A the next year. Then, he rejoined Philadelphia before the 1990 season.
At the end of the 1990 spring training, Gray was told by the Phillies that he had not made the club; they asked him to go to Double-A Reading. Gray rejected the offer and signed with Triple-A Pawtucket, arriving to the Boston Red Sox during the midseason to become a significant contributor to the American League division winners. Gray collected nine saves, but seven of them came in seven chances from August 19 through September 10 as he filled in for injured closer Jeff Reardon.
On July 30, 1991, Gray was preparing to go out onto the field for his daily routine. He never made it, as his right side went numb, and he suffered what was diagnosed as a kind of stroke (CVA), ending what had been a brilliant season. One of the best middle relievers of the league at this time, he allowed only 39 hits in 61 ⅔ innings as he had a 2.34 ERA. On the other hand, opposing batters hit a .181 average against him (LH .200, RH .161), the best of any reliever, outside of Bryan Harvey. He also went down in July and still finished third in the league with 19 holds.
Gray missed the rest of the 1991 and 1992 seasons while recuperating from the stroke. He attempted to return to baseball over the following two seasons, but had lost a lot of velocity on his fastball and was never able to return to the majors.
Gray later returned to the game as a pitching coach. As of 2003, he was the pitching coach for the Gulf Coast League Reds. He is also co-owner of Beef O'Brady's Restaurant in Sarasota, Florida along with former Red Sox teammate Jody Reed.
In a three-season career, Gray posted a 4–7 record with a 3.33 ERA and 10 saves in 96 appearances, including a 3.31 strikeout-to-walk ratio (96-to-29) in 121 ⅔ innings of work.
- Traded by Philadelphia along with John Denny to Cincinnati in exchange for Gary Redus and Tom Hume (June 14, 1984)
- Sent by Cincinnati to Philadelphia to complete an earlier deal for Bob Sebra (September 6, 1989)
- Signed as a free agent with the Red Sox (April 7, 1990)
- Grossman, Leigh, The Red Sox Fan's Handbook, 2004, p.146.