Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Ross Grimsley, 1991 Crown/Coca-Cola All-Time Orioles #167

Today is a big milestone for Ross Grimsley, as the former Orioles pitcher celebrates his 65th birthday. The man known as both "Scuz" and "Crazy Eyes" (seriously, check out his bio!) is more than just a funny-looking guy with some colorful nicknames, though. He was a second-generation major leaguer who upstaged his father Ross. Sr., a veteran of just seven games with the 1951 White Sox. The younger Grimsley was only 21 when he debuted with the Reds in 1971, two years after the team made him their first-round draft pick. He had three solid seasons in Cincinnati, posting a 37-25 record with a 3.26 ERA, before the O's acquired him in a five-player trade that sent Merv Rettenmund to the Reds.

Ross replaced Doyle Alexander in the Baltimore rotation and got right to work, with an 18-13 mark and a 3.07 ERA that was lowest among Birds starters. He made an incredible 39 starts and completed 17 of them, totaling 295.2 innings to lead an AL East Champion club that only used 12 pitchers all season. That heavy workload may have taken a toll, as Grimsley averaged only 184 innings over the next three years, with a cumulative ERA of 3.99 (90 ERA+). The lefty joined the Expos as a free agent in 1978 and had one burst of greatness, going 20-11 with a 3.05 ERA and 19 complete games. He made the All-Star team, and ultimately stands in the record books as Montreal's only 20-game winner. But Ross was hit hard in subsequent campaigns with the Expos and Indians, and finished his career back in Baltimore as a long reliever in 1982. He had a 5.25 ERA in 21 games, but did eke out one last win with 7.2 innings of six-hit, scoreless relief on May 6. Starter Jim Palmer had lasted just three batters against the Angels, but Grimsley bridged the considerable gap to Tim Stoddard in the ninth inning, allowing an inherited runner to score on a Bobby Grich single but holding the line from there. The O's offense rallied for seven runs in the top of the ninth off of future Oriole Don Aase, with Ken Singleton's three-run homer and Gary Roenicke's two-run shot helping to break a 2-2 tie.

Should you be wondering about the current whereabouts of Scuz, he's been coaching in the Giants farm system since the turn of the century, and he's still got that beautiful mustache.

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