HOF ’09: Mark Grace

“The most important thing about playing baseball is to have fun. I’m about to start my 13th year, but I can remember my rookie season like it was yesterday. It goes fast, folks.”

Mark Grace

As a Cub fan, I suppose I should be all over he idea of Mark Grace getting into the hallowed halls of Cooperstown.  I know other Wrigley faithful who support the idea.  But let’s take off our rose-tinted glasses for a moment and look at the player and man objectively before inducting him just yet.

Grace Facts
  • Drafted 24th round in 1985 by the Chicago Cubs
  • Played for ChiC, Ari (1988-2003)
  • 3 time All-Star, 4 Gold Gloves
  • 511 career doubles (39th all-time)

 

The one thing about Mark Grace is that you pretty much knew who you were going to get year in and year out.  Not including his last two years, he only batted below .298 once in his career (.273 in 1991).  Grace had a great eye at the plate with his walks surpassing his strikeouts every year and consistently ranking in the top ten in OBP. 

Not only was he consistent at the plate, he managed to show up at work every day.  In the 12 years from 1989-2000, Grace dipped below 500 at-bats only once (403 in 1993). 

0501008P BRAVES V CUBS For a firstbaseman, Grace wasn’t blessed with power.  He never reached 20 homers in a season.  Despite that, Cubs’ managers batted him in the coveted #3 spot in the lineup right after Ryne Sandberg.  With the Cubs, Grace only got as far as the first round of the playoffs with the Cubs in 1989 and 1998 but fate smiled on him in 2001 when he played for the Diamondbacks.  The Dbacks went all the way to the World Series.  With Grace’s help (3 rbis including a solo shot in Game 4), Arizona defeated the New York Yankees to become the World Champions that year. 

I suppose to say that Mark Grace was a steady ballplayer would be an insult.  But I don’t want to underestimate that either.  He was a solid career .303 hitter with a fine glove (four Gold Gloves) you plug in the lineup day in and day out. 

But that’s not enough for the Hall of Fame.  I don’t like throwing out stats to prove a point but I can’t ignore them either.  Grace was player who played a position associated with power and he just didn’t have much. He never hit 20 HR in a season nor did he drive in 100 rbis. 

sorry, Chicago fans… I loved him as a Cub but he won’t make it.    

  Hall of Fame

Hall of Very Good

  Why is he even on the Ballot?

 

While we wait for January 12 ballot results, The Baseball Zealot will be profiling those players who are on the 2009 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.  Read the rest the of the profiles.

2 Responses to “HOF ’09: Mark Grace”

  1. I was at Wrigley Field when Mark Grace played his last game for the Cubbies. As hundreds of faithful fans surrounded the player’s parking lot, chanting his name, Grace hopped into his car, without even an acknowledgement, and drove off, CLASSIC GRACE!

  2. from 1990to1999 the man who could pick it at first led all an I mean ALL of baseball in extra base hits.not bonds not maquire not sosa nobody.he was as good as griffey.

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