- 2B, 3B, SS, 1B, DH
- January 15, 1949
- 6' 2"
- 180 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 6-29-1970 with BAL
- Allstar Selections:
- 1973 GG, 1974 GG, 1975 GG, 1976 GG, 1981 SS
Bobby Grich earned his first All-Star nod as a shortstop, but he made his fame as the best second baseman in the American League in the 1970s and early 1980s. Tall for a middle infielder, Grich had very good power, leading the league in homers in 1981, and clubbing 224 long balls for his career. He had excellent range and was known as a fantastic pivot-man, winning four Gold Gloves. Grich suffered poor post-season luck, missing out on the success in Baltimore, and joining in on the perennial autumn failures in Anaheim. After the Halos blew Game Five of the 1986 ALCS and dropped the series to the Red Sox in Game Seven, Grich retired having never played in a World Series.
Rob Wilfong played second when Grich was injured in his final year, 1986. Mark McLemore became the Angels' starter the next season.
Typical of this underrated player, Grich had his best offensive performance in the strike-shortened 1981 season. He tied for the lead in homers (22), led the loop in slugging (.543) and hit a career-high .304. In addition, he was still one of the best defensive second baseman in baseball, getting to more balls than just about anyone.
Grich's home run title in 1981 (he tied Tony Armas, Dwight Evans and Eddie Murray) was the first by an American League second baseman since Nap Lajoie in 1901.
Grich was part of the first free agent class, in 1976. He signed with the Angels for $1.5 million, over five years.
After his back injuries in the mid-1970s, Grich was a slow baserunner.
The 1986 Playoffs
The collapse by the Angels in the '86 Playoffs is well chronicled. What may be forgotten is that Grich, at age 37, hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning to put California ahead of Boston in Game Five. The same Game Five that saw the Sox score four runs with two out in the ninth inning and win in extra-innings. The home run was especially sweet for three reasons: 1) it came at home in front of the home crowd, 2) it brought Grich and the Angels close to their first trip to the Fall Classic, and 3) it helped atone for Grich's terrible post-season past. In 24 games, Grich hit .182 (16-for-88) with five runs scored in the playoffs. But the Angels lost games six and seven, and Grich and his teammates were devastated. In the clubhouse after the final out of Game Seven, Grich had tears in his eyes when he said, "That series was an emotional roller coaster for everyone involved. I thought we had it." He announced his retirement moments later.
On June 1, 1975, Nolan Ryan struck out Grich for the final out in his fourth no-hitter. The win was the 100th of Ryan's career.
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- 1979 ALCS, 1982 ALCS, 1986 ALCS, All-Star, Baltimore Orioles, Bobby Grich, California Angels, Gold Glove