Fred McGriff (born October 31, 1963 in Tampa, Florida) is a former left-handed Major League Baseball player who has starred for several teams since the mid-1980s, including the Toronto Blue Jays. A power-hitting first baseman, the 5-time All-Star became, in 1992, the first player since the dead-ball era to lead both leagues in home runs. Although he has never hit more than 37 homers in a single season, he finished the 2003 campaign only 9 homers away from joining the exclusive company of those who have hit 500. He won a World Series title with the Atlanta Braves in 1995.
His nickname "Crime Dog" was bestowed on him by ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman, noted for his unusual and idiosyncratic player nicknames. The nickname is a play on McGruff, a cartoon dog created for American police to raise children's awareness on crime prevention. Unlike most of Berman's nicknames, the "Crime Dog" nickname entered into standard usage.
In 2004, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays re-signed McGriff in hopes of letting the veteran ballplayer hit 500 home runs. He played from 1998-2001 with the Rays. Unfortunately, he ended up with a .181 average and hit just 2 home runs in his sporadic play from the end of May until mid-July. The Devil Rays released McGriff on Saturday, July 17, 2004. He now has 493 career home runs and is currently unemployed. Rumors had it that McGriff would join the Chicago White Sox following Frank Thomas' major injury, but they chose not to sign McGriff. McGriff's record of hitting a home run in 43 different ballparks has recently been tied by the legendary Ken Griffey Jr. on June 5th, 2006.
He has appeared in commercials for Tom Emanski Baseball Training videos on ESPN since 1991, which are still aired to this day on the network (television's longest running commercial ever). Currently, McGriff hosts a radio show in Tampa and is an assistant baseball coach at Jesuit High School of Tampa