|"WINNER'' AND "CUBS.'' THAT'S AN OXYMORON.|
|THAT FAN'S A LITTLE EARLY FOR THE GAME, ISN'T HE?|
THE FRONT PAGE
- Mark Grace was talented, funny and irreverent, my kind of player and an ideal Cub. Loved watching him and the rest of the North-Siders almost daily on TV at work during the '80s and '90s. Harry. The Hawk. Ryno. Shawon. Gracie. If you had WGN, those were the days.
THE BACK PAGE
- Hell's bells, an error card. Grace's hometown is listed Pacific Palisades, "Calie.'' Not exactly up there with the '89 Billy Ripken in the annals of error cards.
- Great shot of Grace's fluid lefty stroke and those classic Cubby pinstripes.
- As an aside, the Cubs ruined their home whites by putting names on the back in the mid-'90s.
- The Gold Winner cards were available from Topps by mailing in winning scratch-off game pieces. However, you could cheat the game by holding the cards up to the light to see the correct answers.
- Topps quickly created this second Gold parallel set, which was unnecessary. At the time I thought, "more gold foil stamping, cool,'' and went on a mission to complete the set. A guy at work also collected, so we did a lot of cheating, scratching and trading.
- Grace played 13 seasons in Chicago, hitting .308 lifetime with almost 2,500 hits. He led the NL in hits during the '90s (1,754) and averaged 11 HRs and 77 RBI. He also had the most doubles (364) and sacrifice flies (73).
- He and Pete Rose are the only players to have the most hits during a decade and not make the Hall of Fame.
- He was a three-time All-Star and won three Gold Gloves, primarily for picking and flagging down Dunston's throws.
- OK, maybe those numbers aren't all that memorable, especially coming from a corner man, but his revelations where, especially about "slumpbusting.'' As told to Jim Rome in the '90s: "A slumpbuster is, if a team's in a slump or if you personally are in a slump, you gotta find the fatest, gnarliest, grossest chick and you just gotta lay the wood to her. And when you do that, you're just gonna have instant success. And it could also be called jumping on a grenade for the team.''
- I don't condone that. It has no place on this blog. It's chauvinistic and completely offensive. And if I had a daughter, I probably wouldn't admit to finding it utterly hilarious. It's also terribly ballsy to come out and say what many of these uncouth neanderthals do and how they think. You'll find all of us in hell one day, I suppose.
- He should've retired a Cub, but the organization dumped him because a certain balloon-headed steroid freak didn't want him on the team. The Cubs never made him an offer when his contract ran out after the '00 season. "I wanted to be a Cub forever,'' he said years later. "Everybody knew that. Then I was awfully, shockingly non-tendered by the Cubs. They were saying we are not interested in Mark Grace at any price. Sammy (Sosa) wanted me out. They sold their soul to the devil and look what they got out of it.''
- Grace finished his career after playing three seasons in Arizona, which won the World Series in '01, ending the Yankee dynasty in seven memorable games.
- He has battled alcohol problems, being arrested for DUI three times, the last coming in August in Arizona when he was indicted on four felony counts. He lost his job as a TV announcer for the Diamondbacks the next day.