From time to time, my pal Jason will submit ideas for this blog. Usually, it has to do with players whose career spanned from the late 1970’s through the early 1990’s. Well, I am going to dive into a name that my buddy has suggested more than once. In fact, former second baseman Bobby Grich could be one of the most overlooked players of that era. So before I go any further (because I know he is a faithful reader), thank you Jaybo for throwing out his name.
One of the reasons why I love writing this blog is that while researching a post like this, I consistently find myself underrating these players. For example, I know Bobby Grich was probably one of the top three second basemen of his era but because he played a good chunk of his career with the California Angels, I didn’t realize just how good he was. He was selected to the American League All-Star team six times, three times for each of his two teams, the Angels and the Baltimore Orioles. He also captured four Gold Glove awards, all with Baltimore by whom he was drafted in the first round in 1967 and played for the O’s from 1970 through 1976. In 1974, he set an AL record for second basemen by recording 484 putouts and in 1985 set a record for infielders in fielding percentage at .997. Grich finished in the top ten for the AL MVP in 1974 as well as 1979, losing out to Angels’ teammate Don Baylor. Playing for five division winners (1973, 1974, 1979, 1982 and 1986), his teams never made it out of the American League Championship Series, perhaps the most disappointing aspect of his career. In 1988, Grich was the first player named to the Angels’ Hall of Fame having played in Anaheim from 1977 through 1986.
Had there been an MLB Network or an Internet 30 years ago, more fans would have been privileged to see the fine work performed by Bobby Grich. The fact he was inducted as the first player in the Angels’ Hall of Fame speaks volumes about his play as baseball legends Rod Carew and Nolan Ryan both spent significant time with the team. Though not a member in Cooperstown, Grich’s record speaks for itself as one of the best second basemen over the last 40 years.
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