Posts Tagged ‘Rest in Peace Eli Grba’

Rest in Peace, Eli Grba

January 19, 2019

Eli Grba

Former big leaguer Eli Grba has died at age 84. Sadly, but gratefully, we now have the news, courtesy of the death notice story we have received from our wonderful SABR colleague Paul Rogers in Dallas.

Here’s the story link below: *

Grba’s MLB record was mediocre by both service time and accomplishment. You will find it entrenched in the walls of mediocrity that account for most of the masses who actually make it as big leaguers for a little more than a cup of coffee exchange. As a right-handed pitcher for five seasons (1959-1963), Grba won 28, lost 33, and posted a 4.48 ERA for 536.1 innings of work. For the course, he surrendered 532 hits and 62 home runs, walking 284 and striking out 255. He managed to start in 75 of his 135 MLB appearances, with 10 of those starts resulting in complete game efforts.

Forget mediocre. Eli Grba was a passionate human being whose limited time in the bigs was no doubt made shorter by his abuse of alcohol. Some time after his time in the majors, Grba reportedly fell drunk through an open window and could have died from it, but he survived, and he came out of it with the desire to stop drinking. Which he did, with help, I’m sure. But don’t look to me for explanations. It has something to do with miracles working out in mysterious ways.

Eli Grba always took pride in four major firsts that will never be removed from his MLB record:

December 14, 1960: Eli Grba was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels from the New York Yankees as the 1st pick in the 1960 expansion draft. This transaction actually stands as double-first in MLB annals. Grba was the first pick in the very first draft ever held by big league baseball for the purpose of stocking expansion teams.

April 11, 1961: Eli Grba was both the first starting and winning pitcher in the history of the new Los Angeles Angels, a 7-2, complete game win over the Orioles in Baltimore. One could make the easy argument that credit for also pitching the first complete game, getting the first strike out, etc. are all worthy of note too, but we feel we’ve mentioned enough to explain these famous treasures in his own eyes contained in the Grba quote published in the linked article:

“I’m a trivia question until I die,” Grba said in a 2011 television interview. “I’m the first guy that’s ever been drafted — and the first Angel. You know, that’s kind of nice.”

Sometimes we have to fall before we can really walk tall. Thank you for being a shining example of the fact ~ and now rest in peace, Eli Grba ~ wherever you now may be.





Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle