Sunday, February 9, 2014

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #106 FRED McGRIFF


McGRIFF COULD SWING THE LUMBER.




ONE OF TAMPA'S FINEST PLAYERS.



DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • It's a shame Fred McGriff is known as much for starring in those long-running Tom Emanski's Defensive Drills Video commercials as for hitting 493 home runs. Wearing a blue trucker hat, McGriff reads off a cue card as a youth team jacked to the gills on fountain soda goes through the paces with robot-like efficiency. McGriff was a stunningly efficient power hitter for six teams over 19 seasons, never playing in one city more than five years and constantly in demand as four teams traded for him. A five-time All-Star, the Tampa native became the first player in the live-ball era to lead both leagues in homers. He has a career .284/.377/.509 slash line and 1,550 RBI and hit 30-plus homers 10 times. He's never received more than 23.9 percent of the Hall of Fame vote since going on the ballot in 2010. 

DEFINING MOMENT

  • On July 20, 1993, two days after the Braves traded for the Crime Dog after falling nine games behind the Giants in the NL West, they got hot. After a pregame fire in the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium press box was extinguished, McGriff ignited the charge back into the race. In his first game as a Brave, he hit a two-run sixth-inning homer to help rally the Braves from a 5-0 deficit. Atlanta would go on to win 8-5 and pass San Francisco on the season's final day.

DEFINING SEASON

  • McGriff led the AL in homers (36), OPS (.924) and OPS+ (165) in '89, finishing sixth in the MVP race. He also won the first of three Silver Slugger awards.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. McGriff's first trade was as a minor-leaguer from the Yankees, who drafted him. They sent him, along with Dave Collins and Mike Morgan, to the Blue Jays for Tom Dodd and Dale Murray in December '82.
  2. Almost exactly eight years later, McGriff was a star and part of a mega-deal, heading to the Padres, along with #36 Tony Fernandez, for #88 Roberto Alomar and #94 Joe Carter.
  3. Led the NL in homers with 35 in '92 and made his first All-Star team.
  4. Homered twice in the NLDS against the Rockies and twice more in the World Series against the Indians during the Braves' '95 championship season.
  5. Ended his career with the hometown Devil Rays, playing a total of five seasons and averaging 20 home runs.

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