Next up in our "Random Retro Baseball Player" series is Kelly Gruber...
Years Played: 1984-1993.
Teams Played For: Toronto Blue Jays(84-92), California Angels(93).
Positions: Third Base(846 Games), Second Base(29 games), Shortstop(29 games), Right Field(25 games), Left Field(8 games), Center Field(6 games).
Career Line: .259 AVG, 431 R, 818 H, 117 HR, 443 RBI, 80 SB, .307 OBP, .432 SLG, .739 OPS.
Best Season: 1990- .274 AVG, 92 R, 162 H, 31 HR, 118 RBI, 14 SB, 48 BB, 94 K, .330 OBP, .512 SLG, .842 OPS.
Awards/Leaderboard: 2-Time All-Star (1989, 1990).
Gold Glove Winner At 3rd Base In 1993.
Silver Slugger Winner At 3rd Base In 1990.
4th In AL MVP Voting In 1990.
2nd In AL RBI In 1990 With 118.
2nd In AL Total Bases In 1990 With 303.
Fun Facts: Gruber was nicknamed "Xanthos" by the media
for his blonde hair. The ladies loved the blonde locks, as he was voted Toronto's most eligible bachelor in his time there.
In 1989, he hit for the cycle, becoming the first player in the history of Blue Jays baseball to do so.
Gruber's best season was easily in 1990, where he hit 35 homers, drove in 118 runs, won a Gold Glove, and finished fourth in AL MVP voting.
He was a member of the 1992 World Series champion Blue Jays. He hit a homer in the third game of the 1992 World Series to tie the game, and played a big part in the Blue Jays winning the series. Following that season though, he was traded to the California Angels, and was very unhappy about the move.
That season(1993) for the Angels, he had a bone spur in his spine, and had to get surgery due to the chance of paralysis, which ended his career. He tried to comeback in 1997 with the Baltimore Orioles, but didn't feel healthy enough to do so.
After retiring, Gruber tried to take over a production company, Rocco's Jobbers. However, former teammate David Wells blocked this attempt, as he didn't think Gruber was cut out for the job.
Kelly has an autobiography that was published in 1992, called "Kelly, At Home On Third".
My Take: Kelly Gruber is one of the more recognizable baseball names of the late 80s-early 90s to me, even though he only had one great season. I guess it's the hair and because I had so damn many of his cards as well. He did play on a World Series champion and two other Blue Jays teams that went to the ALCS though. Solid career.
Kelly Gruber's Baseball-Reference Page.
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