Mar 15, 2016

2015 N.L. Champion Mets Right Fielder: Curtis Granderson (2014-2016)

Curtis Granderson was born on March 16th, 1981 in Blue Island, Illinois. His mother was a chemistry teacher & his sister is an English Professor at Jackson State University. Even though he grew up in Chicago he was not a Cubs or White Sox, rather choosing to root for the Atlanta Braves in their glorious 90's period. 

The six foot one outfielder, bats left handed but throws right handed. He is known as the Grandyman.

Granderson played college ball at the University of Illinois, where he had his uniform #28 retired by the school. Educationally he earned a degree in business administration & business marketing. Granderson was a third round selection of the Detroit Tigers in 2002 & by 2004 was named one of the top minor league players.

After batting .303 at AA Erie in 2004 he got a cup of coffee with Detroit as a September call up. In 2005 he batted .290 at AAA Toledo and was with the Tigers by the end of July, batting .272. On September 15th he hit an inside the park HR & on September 26th, hit a walk off HR against the Chicago White Sox.

In 2006 he beat out Nook Logan in Spring Training & Granderson became the Detroit Tigers main centerfielder. He added 19 HRs & 68 RBIs to a powerful Tiger team that featured four batters to hit 24 or more HRs. On the down side he led the AL in strike outs with 174 in 596 at bats.

In centerfield he posted the league's best fielding % at the position (.994%). The Tigers won a wild card berth that season & got all the way to the World Series but were beaten by the surprising St. Louis Cardinals in five games.

Post Season: In the ALDS win over the AL New York club, Granderson hit HRs in Game #1 as well as Game #3, while driving in runs in the first three games. In the top of the 7th inning, his triple off Mike Mussina, scored Marcus Thames which broke a 3-3 tie & led to the Tigers 4-3 win.
In the ALCS, he hit a Game #2 HR off the Athletics; Huston Street, at Oakland Coliseum in the Tigers 8-5 win. In the World Series he got just two hits in 21 at bats (.095).

Over the next two seasons, Granderson would lead the AL in triples twice. In 2007 he scampered to 23 triples (the most in the AL since 1949), in the vast dimensions of Tiger Stadium. He managed to hit more triples than six major league teams had as a whole that year. That year he hit 23 HRs 38 doubles, drove in 74 runs, batted .302 & posted a .361 on base %. He stole 26 bases, but was only caught stealing once for a 96% average, the league's best.

On September 9th, 2007, Granderson became only the 3rd player in Major League history to have at least 20 home runs, 20 stolen bases, 20 triples and 20 doubles in one season. In center, he turned the most double plays (4) led the league in put outs (424) as well as errors (5).

He was not featured on the 2007 All Star ballot, but received 376,000 write in votes, which was more than any other player got. He was tenth in the voting for the leagues MVP Award that year as well.

A durable outfielder, he was second in the league in games played in center for two straight seasons. He would do that three times & play the most games in the league at centerfield two more times while in New York with the AL team there. He has also been among the top five centerfielders in put outs in six of the last seven years. He is fourth among active players & 68th all time with 2788 put outs.

In 2008 Granderson batted .280, as 2007 was the last year he has hit over .300. He still posted a .365 on base %, led the league in triples (13) while hitting 22 HRs with 66 RBIs & 112 runs scored (second in the AL).

In 2009, he responded by hitting a career high (up to that point) 30 HRs & 71 RBIs. He also added 23 doubles, 8 triples (5th in the AL) with a .327 on base % while making his first All Star appearance.

As the Tigers failed to make the post season, TBS hired him as a commentator for the second straight season. That December he was involved in a huge three team trade, that brought him to the AL New York club. In the deal; Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson & Phil Coke went to Detroit, as Edwin Jackson & Ian Kennedy went to the Arizona D-backs.

In his first year in New York, he missed 25 games, batting .246 with 27 HRs & 67 RBIs. But in 2011 he had a tremendous year; leading the league in RBIs (119) & runs scored (136). He bashed 41 HRs with 10 triples (second in the AL) 26 doubles & 25 stolen bases, while striking out 169 times (4th in the AL). He was one of the leagues top outfielders as well & made the All Star team for a second time.

Post Season: In the ALDS he hit a HR off his old Tigers team mates in Game #2 & drove in runs in three straight games. Detroit still took the Series in five games.

Granderson returned to make another All Star team, hit a career high 43 HRs in 2012, driving in 106 runs. His average fell to .232, & hit a career low 18 doubles, since becoming a regular player. He struck out 195 times (second in the AL) which is the tied for 13th most in a single season all time.

In 2013 he broke a bone in Spring Training when he was hit on the wrist by a pitch from pitcher J.A. Happ of Toronto. He made his season debut on May 13th but on May 24th went down again, not returning until August. In 61 games he hit .229 with 7 HRs & 15 RBIs (214) at bats.

On December 6th, 2013 he signed a four year $60 million deal with the New York Mets. Granderson was 33 years old & wears Mets uniform #3. David Wright was one of the first to contact Granderson after he signed, reaching out to congratulate him.

The Mets officially introduced him on December 10th, 2013. During his introductory news conference Granderson told the media: “A lot of the people I’ve met in New York have always said that true New Yorkers are Mets fans. I’m excited to get a chance to see them all out there. Come out there in droves like I know you can, be very excited and eager about this upcoming season. It’s going to be fun to watch, we’re going to play hard out there for you, we’re going to be competitive and we’re going to go out there and win as many games as possible. If you haven’t been (to Citi Field), definitely come out for the first time because you’ll definitely be back.”

In December 2013, Mets manager Terry Collins said that the addition of Granderson “might be the best early Christmas present I’ve ever had.” He was quickly promoted by the team, and became one of the faces of the new 2014 Mets.

Mets fans were excited by the arrival of Granderson, but his first Mets season was not his best. With he & David Wright struggling all year, it was the difference of the Mets not being a .500 tam or possibly a playoff club. 

Granderson did lead the team in walks (79) games played (155) & at bats (564). He was second to Lucas Duda in HRs & RBIs but only hit 20 HRs with 66 RBIs. He hit 27 doubles with 2 triples & 8 stolen bases posting a .326 on base %. He batted a dismal .227 & struck out a team high 141 times. In right field he posted a .996 fielding % (2nd in the NL) with eight assists.

On April 5th, he hit his first Mets HR, coming in a 6-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds. On April 25th, he won the game with a walk off base hit against the Miami Marlins. The single scored Omar Quintanilli who had tied up the game two batters before. But Granderson struggled most of the month & at the end of April was hitting just .136

In May he hit four HRs in the first two weeks of the season, including two in the Bronx in the subway series, both coming in Mets victories. He finally got over the .200 mark that week, but fell back under that average by the end of the month. His 16 RBIs that month were the most he would have in a month, until September when he drove in 17 runs.

On June 8th he hit two HRs in San Francisco off Tim Lincecum but the Mets still fell short in a 6-4 loss to the Giants. He hit a three run HR at Oakland in the Mets 10-1 romp over the A's.

Granderson closed out the month & started July off with back to back HR games in Atlanta, but both came in Mets losses. A week later when the Braves came to Citi Field, he homered in back to back games once again, this time both in Mets wins. That month he reached over the .230 mark which sadly was his season best. From May to July he was most effective hitting 14 of his 20 HRs.

On September 5th, he hit a three run HR & drove in a season high four runs, as the Mets beat the Reds 14-5 in Cincinnati. He hit another HR in the series finale & drove in runs in four of five games that week. In the final 11 games of the year he had four multi hit games, with two HRs in the final week.

2015 NL Championship Season: Terry Collins came up with the idea of putting Granderson in the lead off spot, a position the Mets needed help in. Granderson agreed & after a slow start it all worked out great. He wasn't hitting for high averages but his new approach to hitting in which he worked hard with Mets batting coach Kevin Long on, had him with a lot more patient at the plate & drawing a lot of walks. This led to higher on base percentage (.364) & more runs scored 98 (sixth most in the NL).

On April 21st he had the first of a regular season high four RBI day, his three hits lead the Mets to a 7-1 win over the Braves at Citi Field. He didn't hit his first HR until late April, then hit five in May including two in back to back games against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field.

On June 7th, he helped Jacob deGrom to his 7th win by hitting two HRs in a 6-3 win at Arizona over the Diamondbacks. He closed out the month with seven RBIs in the last 10 days , and was among the top in the league in walks. The Mets were fighting for first place but the team wasn't scoring runs, their was pressure on hitters like Granderson because the offense was so weak, but that all changed at the trade deadline.

In August he scored at least one run in 16 different games,and had his best month of the regular season, as the Mets offense was now one of the NL's most potent, thanks to the arrival of Yoenis Cespedes. Other new comers; Miachael Conforto, Kelly Johnson & Juan Uribe all helped in the offensive department as well.

Granderson added to the mix too, on August 2nd as the Mets finished off their sweep of the Washington Nationals & went into first place in the NL East, Granderson hit a two run HR off Jordan Zimmermann to put the Mets up 2-1. It was one of three HRs in the inning as Daniel Murphy & Lucas Duda also hit long balls. 

The next day he had a three hit game while driving in to runs in a 12-1 Mets win at Miami. As the road trip moved up North to Tampa, Granderson had another multi HR game hitting a pair of solo shots in a 5-4 Mets loss to the Rays. He would drive in runs in the next three games having a stretch of driving in at least one run in nine of eleven games.

On August 13th he helped the Mets to a 12-1 win over the Colorado Rockies by contributing with a three RBI day. On August 18th he had another multi HR game hitting two in Baltimore's Camden Yards in a 5-3 Mets win over the Orioles. He closed out August with a two run HR in a 3-1 Mets win over the Philadelphia Phillies. His August was his best month of the season, 31 hits 14 walks 7 HRs 22 RBIs & 23 runs scored.
On September 25th, as the Mets were counting down their Magic Number to One, the team beat the Reds in Cincinnati 12-5, as Granderson hit a three run HR & added an RBI double as well. The next day Saturday September 26th, the Mets clinched the NL Eastern title with a 10-2 win over the Reds, Granderson hit one three Mets HRs & had another multi hit game. He closed out the year with a HR, driving in the only run in the last regular season game of the year, as the Mets beat the Nats 1-0 at Citi Field.

Granderson closed out the 2015 season batting .259 with 150 hits 26 HRs (2nd on the Mets) 33 doubles (2nd on the Mets) 2 triples 91 walks (1st on the Mets) 70 RBIs (2nd on the Mets) 98 runs scored & a .364 on base % (1st on the Mets) in 157 games (4th most in the NL& most on the Mets). He did strike out 151 times (7th most in the NL). He was the Mets main right fielder playing 149 games there, making just four errors overall posting a .983 fielding % with nine assists (4th most in the NL).

2015 POST SEASON: This was Granderson's fifth post season appearance getting as far as the World Series with the Detroit Tigers in 2006. In Game #1 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he went 2-3 with a walk against Clayton Kershaw, as the Mets went on to a 3-1 win behind Jacob deGrom. He put up the same number in Game #2 against Zack Grienke.

In Game #3 at Citi Field Granderson had one of his biggest nights ever & one of the biggest RBI nights in Mets post season history. In the bottom of the 2nd inning the Mets were down 3-1, Granderson came up with the bases loaded & delivered a bases clearing double to deep center field putting the Mets ahead for good. The Citi Field crowd went wild as Granderson clapped his hands and revved up the team.

In the 7th inning he doubled again, this time off J.P. Howell, driving in Wilmer Flores & Travis d'Arnaud making it 14-3 Mets.

The five RBI night tied Rusty Staub (1973 World Series) Edgardo Alfonzo (1999 NLDS) & Carlos Delgado (2006 NLCS).

Trivia: Lucas Duda would tie the mark with his two HRs & five RBIs in Game #4 of the NLCS the following week.

In Game #5 at Dodger Stadium, Granderson led off with an infield single, he would score the first run of the game on Daniel Murphy's double. The Mets went on to a 3-2 win & advanced to the NLCS.

20015 NLCS: In Game #1 of the NLCS Granderson singled off the Chicago Cubs Jon Lester in the 5th inning, scoring Juan Lagares with the go ahead run. He added an RBI sac fly in the 7th inning as the Mets went on to an easy 4-2 win.

In Game #2 Granderson contributed with two runs scored in the Mets 4-1 win behind Noah Syndergaard. He led off the Mets 1st with a base hit & then scored on David Wright's double.

In the 3rd he drew a lead off walk & then did something the Mets didn't do much all year, he stole two bases reaching third base. He then scored on Yoenis Cespedes RBI sac fly.

In the 2nd inning he also made an outstanding leaping catch in right field to rob Chris Coughlan of a HR.

After going hitless in Game #3 he went 1-4 with another stolen base & run scored in Game #4, scoring on Lucas Duda's 1st inning HR.

2015 World Series: Granderson was one of the most potent bats for the Mets in the World Series as he tied another Mets record by hitting three HRs in a World Series. In Game #1 he hit a 5th inning solo shot off Edinson Volquez putting the Mets ahead 2-1.

In Game #3 at Citi Field, he led off the Mets home 1st with a base hit & then scored on David Wright's HR. In the 3rd inning he blasted a two run HR off Yordano Ventura putting the Mets ahead once again 4-3. This time they held the lead behing Noah Syndergaard & went on to their only series win.

In Game #4 his sac fly in the 3rd inning put the Mets up 2-0 after Michael Conforto's HR. In the final Game #5 Grandy added a lead off HR in the home 1st inning. Overall he had fine post season batting .280 with 15 hits (15-63) 3 HRs 12 RBIs 9 walks & 3 stolen bases.

In his 12 year career, he is batting .257 with 1435 hits, 263 HRs 259 doubles 84 triples 141 stolen bases 951 runs scored & 742 RBIs with a .341 on base %.

Trivia: The Grandyman is known to do a lot of charity work for the community, his foundation -Grand Kids Foundation has raised money for inner city kids across the country. He also serves as an ambassador for MLB International, having gone to Italy, England, Holland, New Zealand, Japan & Africa. 

He was also voted one baseball's most friendliest players by Sports Illustrated.

In 2013 it was announced that Granderson would put up $5 million of the $7 million cost for a new stadium at his alma mater, the University of Illinois-Chicago. The stadium will be named after him.

Trivia: Granderson wears his socks high in honor of the players from the old Negro Leagues. Curtis has been known to wear the slogan "Don't Think. Have fun" under the bill of his cap. He is a big fan of WWE Wrestling as well.

Granderson is not married & was recently reported as living on East 72nd St, in a luxury high rise off the East River.

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