Bobby Grich (born January 15, 1949 in Muskegon, Michigan) is an American former Major League Baseball (MLB) second baseman and right-handed batter who played for the Baltimore Orioles (1970-76) and California Angels (1977-86).
Grich had a very successful player career with Baltimore and the Angels for over 15 seasons. What primarily set him apart from the other second basemen of his generation was his combination of fielding and hitting. He won four consecutive Gold Glove Awards and made the American League All-Star squad six times.
In 1973, the Orioles traded Davey Johnson to the Braves in order to make room for Grich at second base. He was an excellent fielder, with good range, soft hands, and a good arm, and he was steady turning the double play. In 1973, he set an all-time major league fielding record with a .995 fielding percentage, and 12 seasons later in 1985, he broke the record again (.997).
With the bat, Grich belted 19 home runs with 82 RBI in 1974. Then, in 1979, he batted .294, adding 30 homers and 101 RBI, but he had his best offensive performance in the strike-shortened 1981 season. Grich tied the lead in home runs (22, along with Tony Armas, Dwight Evans, and Eddie Murray), led in slugging average (.543), and hit a career-high .304.
Unfortunately for Grich, the teams on which he played always had bad luck in the post-season and thus he never played in the World Series. (The Orioles did win the World Series during Grich's first season with the team, but Grich did not play in the post-season that year.) First, with the Orioles, he was on the losing end of the American League Championship Series (ALCS) against the Oakland Athletics both in 1973 and 1974; later, joining in on the Angels' continual ALCS failures, first against his former team (1979), and then against the Milwaukee Brewers (1982). Grich came closest in his final MLB season (1986), when the Angels, leading the ALCS by a 3-1 margin and thus needing just one more win to advance to the World Series, blew a 5-2 lead to the Boston Red Sox in the ninth inning of Game 5, then lost Games 6 and 7 as well. In the post-game interviews following Game 7, Grich announced his retirement.
In 17-years career Grich batted .266, with 224 home runs, 864 RBI, 1033 runs, 1833 hits, 320 doubles, 47 triples, 104 stolen bases, and a .371 on base percentage in 2008 games.
6-time All-Star (1972, 1974, 1976, 1979-80, 1982) 4-time Gold Glove (1973-76) Twice Top 10 MVP (1974, 1979) Led league in slugging average (1981) Led league in home runs (1981) First second baseman to lead AL in home runs since Nap Lajoie (1901) and in either league since Rogers Hornsby (1929). Hit three consecutive home runs in a game (1974) Set an AL 2B record with 484 putouts in a season (1974) The first player elected to the Angels' Hall of Fame (1996) Appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated with Doug DeCinces in 1986. Fact
Grich teamed with shortstop Mark Belanger a duo winner of four Gold Gloves, joining a select list of eight shortstop-second baseman combinations have won the honor in the same season while playing together (1973 to 1976) See also
List of Gold Glove middle infield duos