Sep 18, 2015

Three Time New York Giants Pennant Winning Third Baseman: Henie Groh (1922-1926)

Henry Knight Groh was born on September 18, 1889 in Rochester, New York. The five foot eight infielder was signed by the New York Giants, debuting in 1912 at age 22.

After playing in just eight games that year, he was involved in a big trade in May of 1913. Groh, Red Ames & Josh Devore were sent to the Cincinnati Reds for Art Fromme. He was usually batting in the lead off spot & would be famous for using a bat with a long thin handle & thick barrell.

Groh would spend nine years with the Reds, hitting over .300 three straight seasons, four times overall. He would lead the league in on base percentage twice (1917 & 1918) & games played twice as well (1915 & 1917). In 1917 he had one of his finest years leading the league in on base % (.385%) hits (182) doubles (39) times on base (261) & games played (156). He followed up in 1918 batting .320 (3rd in the NL) leading the league in on base % (.395) doubles (28) & runs scored (86). He was among the league leaders in many offensive categories during his prime years.

Defensively he was a fine third baseman, turning the most double plays in the league six straight years. He would also lead the NL in fielding five times, games played & put outs three times each. If there was a gold glove award given out in those days, Groh would have gotten one for sure.

In 1919 his .310 average was second to Edd Roush on the World Champion Reds team that beat the Chicago White Sox in the World Series. This was the famous Black Sox world series scandal where the Chicago club was accused of throwing the series for money. In the World Series Groh hit just .172 (5-29) but drew six walks & scored six runs. He also drove in two runs & had a sac hit.

In 1921 he held out for a pay raise & was banned by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis. He was reinstated after agreeing to immediately report to the team two days later.

At age 32 he was traded to the mighty New York Giants in exchange for George Burns & Mike Gonzalez & $150,000. He would win three straight pennants with John McGraws Giants, winning a World Series in 1922. Although he was entering the twilight of his career, he still put up good numbers; hitting over twenty doubles three straight years.

Post Season: He had a great World Series in 1922, the first New York Subway Series in history. He hit .474 (9-19) with a triple & four runs scored. In the first game he had three hits, including a triple. In the 8th inning with the Giants down 2-0 he singled & later scored the tying run on Irish Meusel's two run single.

In 1923 he hit .290 & scored 91 runs while driving in 48 runs. After collecting two hits & two RBIs in Game #1, in which the Giants won 5-4 on a 9th inning inside the park HR by Casey Stengle, he tailed off to finish the series batting .182. In 1924 he played in just one Series game.

By 1925 he was a part time player & played two more years with New York. In 1927 he was not signed with any team until July when the Pittsburgh Pirates gave him a contact. He ended his career getting to another World Series that year, his fifth overall.

In a 16 year career he hit .292 with 1774 hits 308 doubles 87 triples 26 HRs 566 RBIs & a .373 on base % in 1676 games.
His 1299 games at third base are 64th most all time.

At third base he has a .967 fielding % (17th all time). He has turned 277 double plays (33rd all time) with 1456 put outs (40th all time) & 2554 assists (56th all time).

Retirement: After his playing days, he managed the Charlotte Hornets (1928) Hartford Senators (1929) Canton Terriers (1930) & Binghamton Triplets (1931-1932). He later became a scout for his old Giants team, Brooklyn Dodgers & Philadelphia Phillies through 1953. After that he left baseball & worked as a cashier in a race track.

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