Thursday, August 23, 2012

no. 85 - billy grabarkewitz

Who is the man: The Dodgers thought he was their new third baseman after the season he had in 1970. Billy Grabarkewitz played in 156 games in his first full season in the majors, made the All-Star Game, and led the team in home runs with 17.

Can ya dig it: A terrific spring training scene in the background. Of the two Dodgers on the left, the guy wearing No. 45 is pitcher Jerry Stephenson. The seated player could be a number of people.

Right on: Grabarkewitz signed his full last name! Legibly! RIGHT ON!

You see this cat Grabarkewitz is a bad mother: Grabarkewitz played a part in the famous extra-inning rally that gave the National League the victory in the 1970 All-Star Game. He delivered the second of three singles for the N.L. in the 12th inning. The third single, by the Cubs' Jim Hickman, sent home Pete Rose, who bowled over catcher Ray Fosse to give the N.L. the victory.

Shut your mouth: People write plenty about Grabarkewitz, as he's one of the great one-year wonders in baseball history. But I have never heard anyone talk about Grabarkewitz in all my years of following baseball. To this day I am not entirely positive how his last name is pronounced.

No one understands him but his woman: Grabarkewitz received a major push from the Dodgers as a write-in candidate for the 1970 All-Star Game. Grabarkewitz didn't think it would work. "They don't even know how to pronounce my name," he said. "How could they spell it?"

They didn't spell it. Most people wrote in "Billy G." He didn't get enough votes to get in, but N.L. manager Gil Hodges made him a reserve anyway.

(A word about the back): Grabarkewitz hit 17 home runs for the Dodgers in 1970. He'd finish his seven-year major league career with 28.


  1. JUICING!!!! He must have been JUICING in 1970!!

    Sorry, that's a thinly veiled reference to your great post about Melky Cabrera.

    I like knowing that he was on base when Rose assaulted Fosse. It's tidbits like that that fill my brain and leave no room for less important stuff like how the stock market works.

  2. I grew up in LA while Billy G was there. It's pronounced gra-BARK-uh-witz. That's how I remember Vin Scully saying on broadcasts of Dodger games. Keep up the great work!

    1. I've been pronouncing it right all these years!

  3. While a long name, it is pronounced exactly the way it is spelled. My buddy just married a girl with the last name Przybyszewski. 64 silver dollars if you even come close to pronouncing that eye chart correctly. Heck, I got a drink bought for me at the rehearsal dinner just for spelling it correctly.

  4. Guess who's trying to catch up again...bad blogger, bad, bad blogger.

  5. From the July 1, 1974 issue of Sports Illustrated...

    >>When the trading deadline passed without the Houston Astros making a deal for him, veteran Phillie Outfielder Billy Grabarkewitz was sorely disappointed. "My home in San Antonio is 198 miles from Houston, and I could almost commute," Grabarkewitz explained, "but that's not the entire reason. I've been wearing this mustache, which I don't like but my wife does. She told me that if I shaved it off, she'd cut her hair real close. I figured if I was traded to Houston I'd have to get rid of the mustache because of Manager Preston Gomez' policy, but my wife would still have to keep her hair long because shaving wasn't my choice." To want to go from a division-leading club to an also-ran, a man must really hate his mustache.<<