Wednesday, June 5, 2013

#15 Marquis Grissom

About the Front: You don't see artificial turf on baseball cards much these days, and I can't say I miss that. I'm wondering what is sticking out of Marquis Grissom's back pocket. He's already wearing his batting gloves; did he have special base running gloves? Is it a pouch of sunflower seeds or tobacco, maybe?

About the Back: Grissom never won another stolen base crown after going back-to-back in 1991 and 1992. But he totaled 429 swipes in his career, 58th-most all-time.

Triple Play:

1. Marquis was one of 15 children. I have a vague memory of him explaining his unusual first name (pronounced mahr-KEES) by claiming that his parents had "run out of normal names". He used some of his baseball earnings to buy homes for each of his 14 siblings, as well as his mother.

2. He won four straight Gold Gloves in center field from 1993 through 1996.

3. Grissom batted .317 in 52 career postseason games with the Braves, Indians, and Giants.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: This was probably around the time that my father was driving a Mercury Marquis, a clunky old silver hand-me-down from my grandfather that made a rattling, shimmying noise all of the time. That's the association I make when I see the name "Marquis".

Bill James Said: "He is having a textbook career, getting a little bit better every year than he was the year before." Grissom didn't maintain that momentum, as he topped a 100 OPS+ (league-average) only thrice after 1993: 1996, 2002, and 2003. But he stuck around for another dozen years, and was a regular for almost his entire career, so I'm sure he has no complaints.

On This Date in 1993: June 5. Conway Twitty passed away at age 59 from an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Conway Twitty.

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