Friday, October 8, 2010
#334 - Greg Gross
Card fact: This is the second straight card of a player with alliterative first and last names. Greg Gross follows Dick Drago. That's the first time that's happened in this set (and perhaps the last).
What I thought about this card then: Not in my field of vision in 1975.
What I think about this card now: I think the backgrounds on the Astros cards might be the most fascinating of them all. They're so bleak and weird. I still say that's a horse stable in the background. I like the '70s car parked in the distance, too.
Other stuff: Greg Gross enjoyed one of the finest rookies seasons in 1974. He finished third in the National League in batting average (.314) and second in the league in Rookie of the Year voting. The Astros kept Gross as their right fielder for the next two years. But Gross didn't do a lot besides hit singles, so he was traded to the Cubs for part-time infielder Julio Gonzalez.
A year later, Gross went to the Phillies in the deal that brought Manny Trillo to the Cubs. Gross couldn't break into the Phillies' talented outfield, so he settled for a backup role, and soon became one of the best pinch-hitters in baseball. Gross spent 10 seasons with Philadelphia as a part-time bat. He ended his career back with the Astros in 1989 and is among the top 5 in career pinch-hits in baseball history.
Gross then became a coach in the majors and minors, first with the Rockies, then with the Phillies. He is now the Phillies' batting coach.
Back facts: I apologize for the scan with this card and the next card to follow. I was monkeying with the settings for a couple of cards, and I guess I thought it was OK. But obviously it's too dark.
Anyway, that's a nice characterization of William Howard Taft in the cartoon, although I don't think they made him appear as large as they did with the Babe Ruth drawings.
Other blog stuff: Another outfielder has been filled in on the Topps All-Rookie team:
1B - Mike Hargrove
2B - ?
3B - Bill Madlock
SS - Bucky Dent
OF - Bake McBride
OF - Greg Gross
OF - ?
C - Barry Foote
P - Frank Tanana