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May 16, 2011

Ross is Boss: Celebrating 40 Years of "Scuz"

It’d be real easy today, the 40th anniversary of his Major League debut, that I start what you’re about to read with something cliché like “in front of close to 17,000 Reds fans…young lefty Ross Grimsley made his pitching debut as Cincinnati took on the Montreal Expos”.

But, honestly, it would be much harder to NOT begin that way. So here goes nothing.

40 years ago today, in front of close to 17,000 Reds fans…young lefty Ross Grimsley made his pitching debut as Cincinnati took on the Montreal Expos.

The son of former Major Leaguer Ross Sr., the former first round draft pick got the start and faced all of 11 batters, giving up six hits and four runs. Suffice it to say…he also took home the loss.

Unbeknownst to that Riverfront Stadium crowd, they had just witnessed the start of a colorful, albeit brief, 11-year career.

In 1972, Grimsley would help the Reds win the National League Pennant and a year later…the National League Western Division. In 1974, he was dealt to Baltimore and helped lead the Orioles to the American League Eastern Division crown.

In 1978, Grimsley (now affectionately known as “Scuz” for reasons you’ll learn later this week), posted a 20-11 record that included 19 complete games, three shutouts, 263 innings pitched, and a 3.05 ERA. He was named to the National League All-Star Team, finished seventh in Cy Young Award voting and with those 20 wins…posted the only 20-win season in Expos history.

All told, “Scuz” played for four teams…the Cincinnati Reds (1971-1973), Baltimore Orioles (1974-1977, 1982), Montreal Expos (1978-1980) and Cleveland Indians (1980). He finished his playing career with a 124-99 record, 79 complete games, 15 shutouts, 2,039⅓ innings pitched and a 3.81 ERA.

He is currently the pitching coach for the San Francisco Giants Double-A affiliate Richmond Flying Squirrels.

So why all the fuss about a journeyman pitcher with big hair, a bigger mustache and a penchant (allegedly) for witchcraft?

Why not?!?

If you’ve been here before or checked out The Hall of Very Good on either Facebook or Twitter, you surely recognize the site’s logo as none other than Grimsley. Dude is my logo, my Jerry West and, suffice it to say, I’ve got a soft spot for the guy.

And hopefully you do as well.

To help celebrate the anniversary of Grimsley’s debut, you can expect a week’s worth of All-Star material here at The Hall. I've got pieces from a few of baseball’s premier Grimsley enthusiasts, fresh new "Ross Art", top notch interviews and some video goodies.

And to top it off…I'm also giving away a copy (details to come) of Dan Epstein's awesome book Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging '70s.

So sit back, relax, pick out your 'fro…this week is dedicated to Ross Grimsley and you’re all invited to the party!


Michael Holloway said...

Oh man, you're making me laugh my face off all week with this thing. Good on ya. That's the spirit. Love the video in the sidebar.

Greg Leas said...

You da man, Ross, I remember you very well, saw you at riverfront quite a few times, just wish the games I saw, were on da winnin side LMBO, Did ya ever think about doin a moustache hall of fame thingy? Ya know you do kinda remind me of Frank Zappa, keep up da Very Good work!