Monday, September 2, 2013

Kevin Gross Autographed Card

Having just come off a dream 1988 season that saw him lead the National League in walks (ok, not a positive statistic!), rank 6th in shutouts and 9th in strikeouts, culminating in a scoreless inning at the All-Star Game, the Philadelphia Phillies sent Kevin Gross to the Montréal Expos for utility player Floyd Youmans and star middle reliever Jeff Parrett (who had just concluded a 12-4 season).

Gross would play two years in Montréal, never posting a winning season, and both times ranking third in the pitching rotation. In 1989, he finished 8th in the National League for hitting batters with pitches - the only season in his first 6 that he was out of the top-5...

After a disappointing 1990 season (9-12, a 4.57 ERA, only 111 Ks, one of his lowest career totals) , he left for the Los Angeles Dodgers as a free agent, the Expos unable to match his salary demands (over $2M per season, which amounts to nearly 4 pro-rated to today's value).

I stopped following baseball so closely after the 1994 strike, so I never noticed he spent his twilight years with the Texas Rangers and Anaheim Angels. A career National Leaguer, it's no surprise he finished with ERAs of 5.54, 5.22 and 6.75 in his final three seasons (the Designated Hitter makes a huge difference in how a pitcher confronts a batting order).

I guess he could have been considered a polarizing player. I, for one, liked his mustache, and I'm sure I told him so when he sigend this card fro me in 1990:

It's from Fleer's Fleer '90 set (card #348) and shows him wearing the Expos' classic powder-blue (away) uniform they wore in their first 25 years in the Majors.

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