Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sunday Night Baseball: 1962 Topps #96 Eli Grba

Tonight the LA/Cal/Anaheim Angels host the AL East leading Boston Red Sox. When the Angels franchise began in 1961 they built their roster (along with the Washington Senators v2) via an expansion draft. The first player the took in that draft was Eli Grba

1962 Topps #96 Eli Grba

Grba's playing career consisted of 5 seasons with the Angels and Yankees. He was pretty much a .500 pitcher throughout, He did get involved in the 1960 World Series as a member of the Yankees, oddly enough he played as a Pinch Runner and never got to pitch in the series.  

Following the Series the hard throwing righty moved from the Yankees to the Angels as the first player taken in the expansion draft. He would go on to win 20 games over the next three seasons for the Angels.


Eli Grba also had a SEVERE drinking problem - He drank himself out of the game in 1963 at the age 28.  After baseball his issues continued, he racked up 5 DUIs before hitting the bottom of the bottle. In 1981 he (at age 46) finally quit drinking - a 1989 LA times article chronicles this more in depth. I couldn't find any confirmation that Grba remained sober, but I am hoping that he has. Today he is still alive at age 78 and I can't imagine a person who drank the way Grba did would still kicking if he wasn't clean.

In 2011 Grba helped the Angels mark their 50th anniversary by tossing out the first pitch at thier Home Opener and he is currently serving on the advirory board of the Serbian Baseball Development Association

1962 Topps Angels
The first Topps set to feature Angels cards was 1961, but since they were an expansion squad most if not all of the Angels cards from that set are hatless. This means that the 1962 set is one of the first to feature the LA Angels Caps and Unis.

Rewind - Previous Sunday Night Baseball Postings
Orioles - Brooks Robinson 
Braves - Phil Niekro
Rangers/Phillies - Johnny Oates
Chicago White Sox / Kansas City A's - Ken "Hawk" #TWTW Harrelson
Detroit Tigers - Bill Freehan

LA Times
Halos Haven
Serbian Baseball Development Association
baseball card database

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a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions