Mar 3, 2016

Short Time Late Seventies Met: Tom Grieve (1978)

Thomas Allen Grieve was born on March 4, 1948 in Pittsfield Massachusetts. The six foot two inch, right handed hitting Grieve is Nicknamed TAG because of his initials.

Grieve was the first round draft pick of 1966 (6th pick overall) for the Washington Senators. He hit .290 in A ball getting the push up to AAA where he hit 19 HRs with 61 RBIs in 93 games in 1971 at AAA Denver. 
 He had made his debut with the Washington Senators in 1970, their last season in the nation’s capitol, batting only .198 in 47 games. He moved with the team to Arlington, Texas as they became the Texas Rangers, playing an average of 70 games in the outfield each of the next three seasons. He was mostly a reserve outfielder among the likes of Jeff Burroughs, Joe Lovitto, Eliot Maddox, Ted Ford & Alex Johnson. 

In 1973 in 136 at bats (66 games) he hit .309 for managers Whitey Herzog & Billy Martin with the last place Rangers.

The Rangers had some good teams in the mid seventies, finishing second to Oakland in 1974 with players like; Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins, the 1974 league MVP Jeff Burroughs, catcher Jim Sundberg, Mike Hargrove who hit .323, speedsters Lenny Randle, Dave Nelson & Alex Johnson who all stole twenty plus bases. Grieve hit .255 with 9 HRs & 32 RBIs in 84 games. 

By 1975 he became a regular outfielder appearing in 118 games, batting .276, with 14 HRs 61 RBIs and 17 doubles as Texas finished third under managers Martin & Frank Lucceshi . The next season was his best, hitting 20 HRs (9th in the A.L.) with 23 doubles & 81 RBIs while batting .255, but the Rangers had now slipped to a fourth place finish. Injuries set Grieve back in 1977 as his average fell to .225 with 7 HRs in just 79 games. 

The late seventies Mets management saw something they liked in Grieve, and in December 1977 he was involved in a four team, eleven player trade that involved sending away Jon Matlack to Texas. The Mets received Grieve and a player to be named later (Ken Henderson) from the Rangers. 
 Grieve appeared on the Mets first home stand of 1978, in two games as a pinch hitter. On April 14th, in his third game as a Met, he hit a 9th inning HR off the Expos; Rudy May in Montreal, tying a game the Mets would eventually win in extra innings.

In June he drove in runs in three straight games, helping the Mets pull out one run victories in two of those games. He had nine hits with three RBIs in the month of June, his best month including two multiple hit games. He hit his second & last Mest HR at Wrigley Field, on June 28th off Cubs pitcher Ken Holtzman in a 9-8 Met loss. 

On July 17th in Atlanta, he drove in two runs with a single off Mickey Mahler, in the second game of a double header which New York won 7-4, at Fulton County Stadium. It would be the last runs he would drive in on the year, as he played in just 19 more games as injuries ruined his career.

Grieve played primarily right field in New York, hitting just .208 (21-108) with two HRs & three doubles & eight RBIs, playing in 54 games on the season. After the season ended he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Pete Falcone, cousin of Mets coach Joe Pignatano. 

Grieve finished out his nine year playing career in 1979 at the age of 30 hitting .249 lifetime, with 474 hits 65 HRs 76 doubles 10 triples & 254 RBIs, playing in 670 games. 
 Retirement: After his playing days he went to the Rangers front office as a General Manager from 1984-1994. His best dealings as GM were acquiring Rafael Palmeiro, Julio Franco & Nolan Ryan for the Rangers. But on the other side, he also traded away the likes of Sammy Sosa & later reliever Rob Nen. In 1985 Grieve hired Bobby Valentine as the teams manager.

The following year he brought them to a second place finish after finishing seventh the two seasons prior. The Rangers finished third in 1991 & 1991. In 1993 they finished second & in the strike shortened 1994 season were in first place in the AL West, when the season ended, although they had a losing record.

Grieve had originally began his broadcasting back in the 1980 season. After his run as the team GM, moved back into the booth as a Rangers commentator, he has been there ever since. He has enjoyed the recent success of the team, including back to back AL pennants in 2010 & 2011. 

Grieve also is a Friday night broadcaster with FOX alongside former Royals pitcher Steve Busby. 

Family: Tom Grieve's son is former Oakland A’s Rookie of the Year (1998) Ben Grieve. 

Benjamin Grieve was born May 4th, 1976 at Arlington Texas. He was a first round pick out of high school by the Oakland A's in 1994. Just three years later he hit 18 HRs with 41 doubles & 89 RBIs while bating .288 in 155 games with the A's, making the All Star team, winning the AL Rookie of the Year.

Ben spent four seasons in Oakland, following up his Rookie of the Year season with two twenty plus HR seasons dueing an inflated era of stats in MLB. In 10999 he hit 27 HRs 104 RBIs & a .359 on base % in 2000. He also struck out 130 times (8h most in the league). Grieve played in just one post season with the A's, batting .118 in the 2000 ALDS. 

 At the end of that season he was involved in a big three team trade that sent him to to the Tampa Rays. Oakland recieved Cory Lidle from Tampa, as well as Johnny Damon & Mark Ellis from the Kansas City Royals. 

 Grieve would never match his early numbers, & like his dad would also have a rather short playing career 1995-2005. He batted .269 lifetime with 118 HRs 192 doubles & 492 RBIs in 976 games played. He played for the Tampa Rays through 2003 then moved on to the Milwaukee Brewers (2004) & Chicago Cubs (2004-2005). 

Trivia: The Grieve’s were the first MLB father & son combo to both be chosen as number one draft picks.

Honors: Tom Grieve was inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame in a ceremony held July 24, 2010.

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