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100 Greatest Phillies: 89 – Greg Gross

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sun, December 28, 2008 02:00 PM | Comments: 15
100 Greatest Phillies, Posts

Greg Gross
Outfielder
1979-1988

Career w/Phillies: .278 AVG / 1 HR / 128 RBI / 13 SB

Part of the trade that sent Manny Trillo to the Phillies, Greg Gross quickly staked his claim as the main bench option for the Phillies in their best seasons. Devoid of power and speed, Gross settled in as a nice-contact player, a guy who could rope some clutch singles or doubles if necessary. He did it throughout his Phillie career, holding an average of .285 or above in five of his 10 seasons. During his playing days he didn’t like playing part-time, but he acknowledged later it was for the better, considering he was playing behind Garry Maddox, Greg Luzinski and Bake McBride, all ranked ahead of him on this list.

Comment: Gross will always be remembered as the 9th man of the 1980 champions. Clutch when necessary, he has  been called the greatest pinch hitter in Phillies history. Of course, that title is slowly being challenged by the club’s current pinch-hitting master, the curiously close-named Greg Dobbs.

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About Tim Malcolm

Tim Malcolm has written 1947 articles on Phillies Nation.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Greg V.

    Gross was another major clutch player from my childhood. However, I think Dobbs is on track to be the greatest pinch hitter in Phils history.

     
  • Posts: 0 Greg V.

    He’s also still with the organization as a coach for the Iron Pigs.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    If Dobbs remains a healthy Phillie for one or two more years, he’ll definitely go down as the best pinch hitter in Phillies history. This is high for Gross… serving as the 9th man on the 1980 team, he batted .240 with 12 total RBIs. Bull battled injuries much of the season, so Gross got a lot of at bats and he didn’t really do much. It’s really fascinating when you compare the 80/08 teams… the makeup, styles, attitudes, team dynamics.

     
  • Posts: 0 Bruce

    To Chuck P~ I suspect you were not born yet in 1980. ;-) Gross’s BA of .240 that year is a little misleading. Gross was often a late inning defensive replacement for slow footed Luzinski in LF as well as starting a number of games. His most important hits came in a pinch hitting role. And since Tim addressed Gross’s role as a pinch hitter in naming him on that list, it is that particular and difficult skill we would look at.

    On the subject of Phillies’ pinch hitter(s), I like to mention one of my favorites.

    I wonder if anyone here is old enough to remember another outstanding pinch hitter for the Phillies by the name of Dave Philley. That’s right..PHILLEY. :-)

    He had a long and productive career of 18 years (1941-62) finishing with a respective .270 BA. He was also a fine defensive outfielder. As his career wind down, he became more valuable coming off the bench. He played briefly with the Phillies (1958-60) as utility player and pinch hitting specialist. A clutch switch hitter with a short compact swing and disciplined at the plate. In 1958, playing for the Phillies, he collected 18 pinch-hits, including a streak of eight straight to close the season.

    Philley also had a pinch-hit double Opening Day 1959, for an actual total of nine straight, a major league record that I think still stands today. While playing for Baltimore in 1961, he had a season total of 24 pinch-hits in 72 at-bats, which are also American League records.

    As a lo-o-o-ng time follower of the team, I have seen several good pinch hitters (Ron Northey, Earl Torgeson, Solly Hemus, Peanuts Lowrey, to name a few) but to this day when Dave Philley’s name is mentioned it brings a smile to my lips. I have such fond memories of him.

     
  • Posts: 0 Kenny

    If I remember correctly his homerun was to win a game. It was a rain delay and almost everybody left, Phillies were down and Gross came up and hit a game winning homerun. I was young when it happend but my dad and I were at the game. If anybody remembers please help me out and confirm this.

     
  • Posts: 0 Georgie

    Gross’ numbers are indeed deceiving, as an avid follower of the 1980 team, he was a BIG part of that championship. If you think Pat was a defensive nightmare (which I really don’t), you should have experienced the Bull. In late innings with a small lead, everyone would hold their breath until Gross came in to replace Luzinski in the field, and he had some amazing clutch hits, seemed like he always came through when he needed to.

    Also, he was born and grew up across the river in the York, Pa area.

     
  • Posts: 0 IRONPIGPEN

    Greg Gross! Excellent pinch hitter!

    Lehigh Valley IronPigs coach!

    lvironpigs.wordpress.com

     
  • Posts: 0 john of Albuquerque

    Greg Gross was a very respectable player, despite having only seven home runs in a 14 -year career. Greg Dobbs will surpass Gross with another two good seasons as a pinch hitter. ALso, Dave Philly was at one time considered the best pinch hitter in the history of baseball as he played until he was over 40 because of this off-the-bench prowess. Incidentally, Smokey Burgess got his start as a Phillie, but made a name for himself as a pinch hitter with the Pirates.

     
  • Posts: 0 Dave

    I hope that this blog remembers players that played on the mediocre Phillies teams, but were great contributors. It seems that you write about what you are familiar with. I guess I will wait for 97 more days to make my final comments, but those of us who remember the 64 team foreword know that there were some solid players there. I have my favorites, but also realize that good players were traded here where they were a bust, and others were traded away and had great careers ie. Fergie Jenkins and Ryan Sandberg. These players don’t count. The ones who count should only be the ones who contributed while they played here. The other day I started writing down some names and I come up with 30 or so before the 1980 team, so it will be interesting to see how this list shakes out.

     
  • Posts: 0 Phillies Phan SC

    Who can forget Greg Gross’ perfect bunt in 1980 that started the rally? I also concur there are excellent parallels between 80 and 08. I said that all season. Even the Phillies mediocre teams of the 1980s and 1990s (excluding 1993 as that was a decent tem) had good people, they just could not gel as a team. One comment on the 1993 team though since I mentioned it, they were not fantastic, and they were hard working and just clicked. I can relate them to the 08 Cubs – no one had a really great year alone, but they all had a good year TOGETHER. Thoughts?

     
  • Posts: 1650 Tim Malcolm

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    Dave, there are plenty of players on my list from the mediocre teams. There are 88 spots to be filled.

     
  • Posts: 0 Phils Are joedaddy

    Good to see a role player such as Gross on the list. He was the definition of a contact hitter, rarely struck out and knew how to field with less than good speed.

    Greg Gross’ home run was in the 9th inning of a game (http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SDN/SDN198705270.shtml)

     
  • Posts: 0 Robert K.

    Greg Gross was a good choice. Great utility player and clutch hitter for a number of years. He probably could have started for a several teams at that time.

     
  • Posts: 0 ashmidt

    i remember whitey ashburn saying, in a game at the end of the year, either 82 or 83, after another great at bat by greg gross, he really knew how to work the pitcher. that greg gross has had more quality at bats then anyone on the team, including pete rose. what a compliment from one of the greatest hitters . greg gross is a great choice.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    I was not born in 1980 but I know as much as the next guy about Phillies history. I know that Gross was a defensive replacement but he also started a lot of games in the OF… wouldn’t it be more apt to compare him with Eric Bruntlett? I know that he was a great contact hitter (as evidenced by his low SO) but he didnt drive in runs and he didn’t score many runs either so what’s the point? Utility players have their role but are you telling me that a guy that couldn’t start on a team is going to be rated top 100 in franchise history?? Defensively, he might have been alright but so was Kevin Stocker. I guess 100 players is a lot to run through. The first stat line is Gross and the second is Bruntlett…

    G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG TB
    127 154 19 37 7 2 0 12 1 24 7 .240 .346 .312 48

    120 212 37 46 9 1 2 15 9 21 35 .217 .297 .297 63

     
 
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