Card of the Moment #40
July 27th, 2010 by slangon

1958 Topps #254 Alex Grammas

More often than not when I’m writing up these little Card of the Moment posts, I like to track down some obscure, interesting piece of trivia about the player in question. Sometimes, it ends up being more about the player. Other times it’s strictly about the card itself. Sometimes the posts almost write themselves. Other times it involves quite a bit of digging around the dusty corners of the interwebs.

This Alex Grammas card kind of threw me for a loop in that I was able to find a bunch of info on Alex, but nothing really jumped out at me as too terribly interesting.

For instance, I know that Alex Grammas played in the Major Leagues for 10 seasons, splitting his playing years with the Cardinals, Reds and Cubs. I know he was mostly used as a back-up player and was more valuable as a defensive infielder than he was as a hitter (Career .247 BA, 12 HR, 163 RBI).

I further know that Alex built himself a nice little career as a coach and a manager. He called it quits as a player after the 1963 season and in 1965 he became a coach for the Pirates. This culminated in him taking over the helm of the Pirate ship for the last 5 games of the 1969 season after Larry Shepard was fired. He got himself a nice little .800 winning percentage after steering the team to a 4-1 record under his leadership. Despite that sparking record, Pittsburgh hired Danny Murtaugh as manager and Alex went onto coach under future Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson with the Big Red Machine until 1975. He also followed Sparky to Detroit from 1980 to 1991, stopping off to manage the Brewers from 1976-77.

The fact that I was unable to find anything super duper interesting about Alex’s career got me to thinking about how many other guys fought their way into the Majors just to have a long, undistinguished career that nobody can glean any interesting facts from. Then I started to think that maybe it’s not such a bad thing that I couldn’t find anything interesting there since now I can just pay some tribute to the everyday Alexes of the world, who show up, do what’s asked of them and don’t get any credit.

So here’s to a guy who spent 37 years in Major League Baseball and never really made that big splash, but for one glorious September afternoon, was the guy who hit a home run off of Sandy Koufax to tie the game in the 8th inning.

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