In the midst of another spring, in which the pride of the baseball team is in short supply, there is one thing of which Joe Durant and the rest of the Rattler baseball family can be proud.
Former Rattler standout pitcher and outfielder Marquis Grissom retired March 28, ending a 17-year career in major league baseball.
The former third round pick of the Montreal Expos, earned the respect of his teammates while being a member of six different ball clubs.
“When it’s time, it’s time. I think this is the best thing for me at this point, to officially hang the cleats up and go home and enjoy the second half of my life and do things I’ve always wanted to do,” Grissom told http://mlb.com
Grissom, played for three pennant-winning teams, and recorded the final out for the Atlanta Braves in their 1995 World Series victory.
He retires with a .272 career batting average, 2,251 hits, 429 steals and 227 home runs, primarily hitting from the leadoff position. Grissom was just as solid in the field, collecting four consecutive Gold Gloves and twice being named an All-Star.
If such numbers sound pedestrian for being compiled during the Steroids Era, consider that only six other men have 2000 hits, 200 home runs, and 400 steals. Two of them, Joe Morgan and Paul Molitor, are in the Hall of Fame.
Barry Bonds, Craig Biggio, Roberto Alomar and Rickey Henderson will all be there one day.
While Grissom probably will not be candidate for the Hall of Fame like fellow Rattler Andre Dawson, his statistics are more than respectable. But his character is even more admirable.
Former Atlanta teammate Greg Maddux told http://mlb.com, “It was easy to respect what he did on the field and very easy to like him in the clubhouse. Not many guys can combine the two. He was on the best at it.”
Grissom and Maddux were reunited this spring, as members of the Chicago Cubs, as Grissom tried to make the team as a non-roster invitee.
The Atlanta native, who turns 39 later this month, was elected to the FAMU Sports Hall-of-Fame in 1994, weeks after one of his most productive seasons was cut short by a labor strike.
“I love baseball and everything that comes with it,” Grissom told http://mlb.com. “It was just a journey that I took, and it was fun.”
Dusty Baker, Grissom’s manager this spring, told the USA Today Grissom was such a great person, he liked that he was able to leave baseball on his own terms.
Leaving the game on his own terms, to the endearment of so many, is another example why Marquis Grissom is a source of Rattler pride.
Will Brown is a senior newspaper journalism student from Rockledge. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org